Hot Buttons is a weekly feature of chooseNOWministries in which parents are offered a strategic scenario to use as a script for discussing tough issues with their teens. This column is based on the Hot Buttons book series with the first two books, Hot Buttons: Dating, and Hot Buttons: Internet Edition, releasing on 5/1/12.
First, tell your teens this story as though it’s happening to them:
It’s finals week at school and you’re really struggling in one of your classes. You study hard, but but the information just doesn’t seem to sink in. You really need to do well on this exam because it will affect your final grade, which will affect your grade-point average and your college applications. Your best friend knows how much you’re struggling, so she offers to let you look on her paper during the test. What do you do?
Now, Mom or Dad, offer the following options with no personal commentary. Let your teen think about the choices and make an honest decision.
A. You laugh off the offer and get back to studying.
B. Hmm. It’s a good offer. You don’t want to cheat on the whole thing, but maybe for a few of the really hard questions.
C. You thank your friend, but decline the offer.
D. You say no and tell your friend that cheating is wrong.
Crucial step: Use this scenario to guide a discussion about cheating. Be very careful not to sound judgmental or accusatory. Remember, your teen is exploring thoughts and first-impressions—these aren’t actual choices. . .yet.
- Why that choice?
- It’s impossible to go backward–once you’ve cheated, your work is tainted.
- You can’t control that someone might offer to let you cheat, but you can control your response to it. You can say no.
- The consequences doe cheating can be very severe–suspension, expulsion, bad record, failing grades, etc.
- Accountability partners.
- Do you have a different view on this scenario than you did at the start? Why or why not?
- Would you like to change your answer or stick with it?
- Has this ever happened to you?