Cheating, Lying and Grade-schoolers
Here’s help for raising a child who plays by the rules.
By: Gregory Germain, MD
Children often have a hard time dealing with failure—especially at games. So at this age, they sometimes cheat so as not to have to deal with it. Cheating at checkers or hide-and-seek may not present a problem, but if it isn’t discussed and escalates to cheating at school, it will become one.
There are simple ways to talk about this with your child:
- Encourage her to play games where she excels—this will also bolster her self-esteem.
- If you catch your child cheating, take her aside after the game is over and explain that games need to be played by the rules. This is especially important for younger grade schoolers who are, really, just learning to play by the rules in games—and life.
Dealing with Lies
It is a hard line to draw between a lie and an active imagination for grade schoolers. By age six most kids are able to tell truth from fiction, but they will use lies to escape punishment.
Use these tips to address a grade-schooler’s lying tendencies:
- Talk to you child about the fact that lying is unacceptable in your family, and be honest yourself at all times. He will model your behavior.
- If you catch your child lying in front of other people, wait until you are alone and then talk about it. Discuss what happened to make him tell a lie, and figure out better ways that he could have dealt with it.
- Enforce pre-set consequences—such as revoking computer or television privileges for a time—if he lies to you and you find out.
Most of all, encourage truthfulness by letting your child know that you trust and respect him—he will most likely come through.