Cheating is any form of behaviour the function of which is to deliberately break a rule by misleading, deceiving, or acting dishonestly to gain an advantage (Green, 2004).

Behaviour Help is a registered NDIS provider.

Teacher catches two children exchanging notes in the classroom

Defining cheating behaviour

Cheating is any form of behaviour the function of which is to deliberately break a rule by misleading, deceiving, or acting dishonestly to gain an advantage (Green, 2004).

Cheating behaviour as part of normal development

Cheating frequently occurs in childhood (Ding et. al, 2014). As part of normal development cheating behaviour begins during preschool years (Lewis et al., 1989; Talwar & Lee, 2002) and continues to develop with age (Callender et al, 2010; Evans et al., 2011; Kochanska & Murray, 2000) but after 8 years of age there is a developmental decrease in cheating behaviour.

As children mature and as part of moral development, children realise that cheating is wrong and learn how to comply with rules without supervision.

Cheating behaviour of concern

When cheating behaviour is prolonged and ongoing, it becomes of concern. 

Impact of cheating behaviour

Cheating can cause negative consequences for the child, the family, and the community at large. When children cheat it can leave others feeling hurt, angry or frustrated, but worst of all, it will make it difficult for others to trust the child.

Consequences for the child include others losing trust in the child, lost relationships, lost opportunities, loss of respect, facing serious consequences, a record of the cheating incident on their transcripts, and most importantly cheating does not address the underlying reasons why the child is cheating or equip the child with the tools to be successful the next time they have to engage in a similar situation.


Peter will often move an inch or two away from the start line to get an advantage because of his fear of coming last, especially to some of his peers. Peter has started cheating not just in running games but in other sports as well. In tennis, calling an opponent’s ball “out” when it was in, especially if he is the only one that can properly see what happened; or he may purposefully trip or crash into other players in soccer. The other children have noticed this and under their breath will call him ‘cheater’, not choose him or want him to play in their team, and even when he is doing the right thing the other children will complain about him to the sports teacher.

Hence, cheating behaviour affects everyone involved and the child who is exhibiting cheating behaviour requires necessary help to learn positive ways of behaving and managing their emotions. 

Positive behaviour support resources for cheating behaviour

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) focuses on evidence-based strategies and person-centred supports that address the needs of the individual and the underlying causes of behaviours of concern, to enhance the quality of life for both the individual and those that support them.

PBS recognises that there is no single cause for cheating behaviour. It is a complex behaviour that is a product of the interaction between multiple factors contributing to its development and persistence.

Cheating behaviour is like the tip of the iceberg so it is essential to look beneath the surface to work out the why before we can address the problem. Behaviour Help resources are at hand:

C for Cheating - Forms cover image

Download this free PDF guide

The forms contained in this pdf booklet are from the C for Cheating: Positive Behaviour Support guide that can be used as part of the process of developing a PBS plan.

Download C for Cheating - Forms

Which resources are right for you?


Based on the Taking CHARGE of Rainbow of Emotions Workbook this app helps children of all ages develop emotional regulation skills. The app guides the child to firstly, identify and express their emotion in appropriate ways. Then the child is guided to use emotional management tool/s from the CHARGE tool kit to manage their emotions in a healthy way.

The acronym CHARGE stands for the different categories of emotional management tools – Chat tools, Helpful thinking tools, Amusement tools, Relaxation tools, Good routine tools and Exercise tools.

Behaviour Help App - Using the evidence-based approach of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), the Behaviour Help web-based app allows people supporting individuals with emotional and behavioural difficulties to complete a Functional Behaviour Analysis and put together a comprehensive Behaviour Support Plan (BSP). The BSP can then be used by everyone interacting with the individual to manage and prevent challenging behaviours and ultimately improve their lives, and the lives of those who support them.


Use the practical tools (checklists, forms, and strategies) in C for Cheating: Positive Behaviour Support book to develop comprehensive PBS plans that can be used to support children of all ages consistently in all settings.

This invaluable guide is useful for parents, caregivers, educators in childcare, early childhood, primary and secondary schools, disability, mental health, allied health, and supervisory professionals.


Personalised and practical one to one help tailored specifically to your family.

Online Courses

Access these online courses anytime online to learn about a range of diagnoses, practical skills and strategies to help develop the individual’s emotional regulation skills. Also learn to utilise the positive behaviour support framework to address anxiety, aggression, ADHD, ASD and ODD.

SEL Educational Videos

Minimise or eliminate the occurrence of challenging behaviours by teaching children of all ages appropriate ways of communicating, interacting, managing their emotions and behaviours.

The SEL curriculum uses video modelling to provide direct, explicit and systematic teaching of the various skills by discussing the importance of the skill, modelling the skill so the child learns what the skill looks like? sounds like? feels like? and learn the skill in staged situations that simulate real life scenarios.


Personalised and practical behaviour therapy tailored specifically to your family.


Webinars discuss a range of practical strategies to guide your child learn positive ways of behaving and managing their emotions.


Attend our practical and interactive workshops to learn about a range of diagnoses, practical skills and strategies to help develop the individual’s emotions, behaviours, social and communication skills in your learning environment.

Ask Dolly

Since you’re here, you probably have questions and concerns. I am Dolly Bhargava, am here to help. I am a NDIS registered behaviour support practitioner and speech pathologist.

I have worked in a number of settings for over 21 years so, how can I help?

Please tell me what is worrying you right now and I will do my best to recommend resources and/or services that will be most useful to you in your situation.

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