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Why Do Children Cheat?

Learn the reasons why children cheat from Dr. Kimberly Williams in this Howcast video.


Children learn very early on that things should be fair and that there should be a set of rules that we all need to follow. One thing that becomes very difficult is when children feel an intense pressure and competition to succeed that stimulates a motivation sometimes to bend the rules, to not follow the rules or to cheat. We'll see children at 4 and 5 years old playing board games and they early on recognize that it's better to win than it is to lose. What we need to do is step back and look at the bigger picture. Children who have a consistent pattern of cheating or becoming very very upset when they are not winning, we have to recognize that they are under very intense pressure. Where does this pressure come from? It comes from society and I often tell parents to take a look at their own lives. Children model a sense of competition and the motivation to win. So if children observe their parents not necessarily following the rules or bending the rules a bit that is where their values are coming from. It's important to intervene because you don't want your child labelled at school as a child who can't handle competitions, who can't handle pressure and as a result they're lying and they're getting into trouble. Parents, please seek help if you recognize that your child is excessively competitive.

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