Our job as parents is not to raise children who never make mistakes. I think all parents would love to raise the “perfect” children but even as Christian parents, it is not our job to raise children who never sin. Our job is to live our life as an example and to help our children learn from their wrong doings.
This post is written with permission from my daughter. She takes responsibility for what she has done and hopes this post will help other parents and children.
Today we found out that our daughter cheated on a test and as a result, would get 0%.
No parents ever want to hear those words.
For a moment I was in shock and then I wanted to cry. I decided to take a moment and think about the situation before reacting.
Children naturally want to please their parents. We have always made a point to tell our girls that as long as they try their best and have a good attitude that that is what matters most. We have worked hard to raise internally motivated children.
I could not figure out why she would cheat. This girl is a very kind hearted loving girl who would help anyone. She is obedient, quiet and all around a “good girl.” She spends 2-4 hours on homework every night and she studies days in a row for a test.
A few weeks ago our daughter got the top math mark in the class and she had also made honor role. We decided to celebrate and order in pizza along with having an overdue family game night. This girl LOVES playing games.
I did not think much of that event until today.
OPEN COMMUNICATION AND NATURAL CONSEQUENCES
After school when we were talking about how she cheated on this recent test, she was crying and felt that nobody would ever trust her again. She felt that she had let us down, her teacher down, her classmates down, herself down and most of all that she let God down. We discussed how she would have to build up that trust again because that lost trust is a natural consequence of her actions.
Close to the end of our conversation, she said,
“Mom, I got 100% on math but I always lose marks in my other subjects because I can’t spell correctly in English (she has gone to a French school up until this year), so I looked at a paper in my desk during the test to spell the name right for the bonus question.
I wanted to get 100% so that we could have another family game night.”
As often as we have told our girls that what matters most is their effort and their attitude, I realized that we were unintentionally “rewarding” grades.
CONSEQUENCES FOR CHEATING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL
The biggest mistake with cheating is when there is no lesson learned.
As parents, we need to help our children learn that very tough lesson. It is important that even if you understand why your child cheated, it does not make it right and they still need to be held accountable for their actions.
It’s hard to see our children face embarrassment and natural consequences. Trust me, it is very difficult to see our daughter get a zero on that test, and it is hard to lay out the consequences that she will also face at home because of her actions. I think the most difficult part for her will be facing the girls in her class as it was another classmate who saw her peek in her desk. Natural consequences are so very tough, especially in these preteen years, but I would rather have her learn these lessons now that later in life.
My hope as a mother is that we will continue to have open communication in our home. That we as parents will live a life that is a good example to our children and that our children will learn valuable life lessons from their mistakes.
You may enjoy this book on Grace Based Parenting.
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10 (NLT)
What are some struggles you face as a parent? Has your child cheated on a test before?