Your child getting called into the school principal’s or university dean’s office is one of a parent’s worst fears.
And when it’s regarding cheating?
With its ethical implications, navigating that disciplinary process can be a real headache.
Unfortunately, cheating appears to be occurring at record levels last year, as New South Wales’ two biggest universities – The University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales – found rates of contract cheating to have doubled and risen by 162% respectively.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, contract cheating is when students pay companies or individuals to ‘ghostwrite’ their assignments, essays, or theses.
Sydney University, which is launching an educational campaign in response to the revelations said in a statement published by the Sydney Morning Herald it was “very disturbed” by the higher rate of contract cheating cases and exam breaches during the pandemic, and “their corrosive effect on learning.”
“Students are increasingly vulnerable to temptations from contract cheating companies looking to exploit them,” a university spokesperson said.
So what can you do as a parent if you’ve discovered your Gen Z child has cheated on a school or university assignment to help prevent them from doing so again?
Luckily, raisingchildren.net.au has some pretty solid advice.
Here’s what they suggest:
- Open up the conversation and ask your child why they cheated. Was it out of fear of failure? Were they trying to please you with good marks? How they answer this question will help guide your response and help frame to them why ‘winning’ is less important than trying your best.
- Praise your child’s effort consistently when it comes to learning, being a good sport and having fun – rather than getting the highest grade or who won or lost.
- Be a positive role model for your child when it comes to ‘winning’ and ‘losing’. One great way of reframing loss as a role model, according to raisingchildren.net.au, is to thank your child if you lose against them, whether that’s playing games or sport as a family. That helps teach children that losing is okay when you’re doing your best.
- Make sure your expectations of your Gen Z kid don’t exceed their true abilities. Putting excessive pressure on your child has been found to encourage cheating.
- Help your child understand the ethical consequences of cheating. This can be a powerful way of changing behaviour. You could try explaining how cheating:
- Compromises trust with and upsets their friends and peers.
- Makes their friends not want to play or hang out with them anymore.
- Take the fun out of the game (or learning).
- Often results in getting caught – and how do they feel about that?
- Could mean your child will never know how well they can do without cheating.
- But importantly, be patient and remember – making mistakes is part of learning and growing
Need some more advice? Check out raisingchildren.net.au for more advice.