Teens That Lie, Steal and/or Cheat

teen cheating

The Josephson Institute of Ethics did a study last year about teens and their behaviors in regards to stealing, lying and cheating. The findings were a bit disturbing because they don’t show the teens in the greatest light. We should all be concerned that these teens are the men and women who will be our leaders in years to come.

According to the study here are a few of the findings:
  • Of the teens surveyed, on third of boys and one quarter of girls admitted to shoplifting in the past twelve months. A quarter of these teens said that they had stolen from their parents or relatives. Boys were twice as likely to do this.
  • 42% said that they had lied to save some money. 83% said that they had lied to their parents about something quite significant.
  • 64% of teens said they had cheated on a test in school within the past twelve months. 38% had done it more than once.
  • 93% of these teens said that they were satisfied with themselves with respect to ethics and character.
  • 26% even said that they had lied on a minimum of one or two of the survey questions (yes, this survey about honesty)
Certainly society as a whole is to blame for some of these outcomes. We have a problem with this issues. Our politicians, religious leaders and others lie to us and kids see that they get away with it. But can we blame it all on society? Probably not.
Parenting is a serious job and if we let certain behaviors be allowed when children are small or if we expose them to people, t.v. shows, movies that show these forms of dishonesty we are teaching them that it is permissible. Sitting down with your teen for serious discussion on such matters is crucial. It isn’t good enough to only talk once and assume things are handled. These larger topics need to be revisited often. A parent contract may be used to help clarify your family values and expectations as well as to put in place the consequences that will come as a result of these behaviors.