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Mom tries to help teen cheat in school -- would you?

June 24, 2013 at 10:49 AM ET

How far would you go to help your child do well in school?

Probably not as far as the French mom who was busted for allegedly taking a crucial test in her teenage daughter’s place last week.

The 52-year-old woman, known only as “Caroline D,” allegedly wore low-waisted jeans, Converse shoes and elaborate make up to blend in at the exam center in Paris, The Telegraph reported.

The center was not at her 19-year-old daughter’s school and adults do also sometimes take the test, so the woman didn’t arouse suspicion until she was spotted by a teacher who knew the teenager. Police were called and she was escorted from the hall.

The woman faces a 9,000 euro ($11,800) fine and a three-year prison term for fraud, according to The Telegraph. Her daughter may be banned from taking all official exams for five years.

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It can be tempting to step in when your child is having problems doing homework, but be careful about offering too much help.

While most parents aren’t scheming to take a difficult test in their child’s place, many may be tempted to enter the "I'll do it for you" territory when a kid is struggling with homework or a demanding project.

What should you do if you see your son or daughter overwhelmed by an assignment?

A parent's job to provide support and encouragement, but there shouldn't be any reason for a mom or dad to complete the homework for the child, said Amy McCready, a TODAY Moms contributor and author of the parenting guide, “If I Have to Tell You One More Time.”

“An important part of learning is wrestling with difficult concepts and trying alternative ways to solve a problem,” McCready said.

Parents can help with homework only after a child has done as much of it on his or her own as possible, made an earnest effort to work through the "can't figure them out" problems and can explain his or her thought process in detail, McCready advised.

If you do step in, create a similar problem and work through it with the child rather than just doing the assignment yourself, she added. Don't focus on the number of "correct" answers, but encourage the qualities your child can repeat the next time her or she faces adversity, like hard work and perseverance.

“Be sure to let the teacher know if you had to offer significant help on the assignment. Chances are, other kids struggled as well or your child might benefit from additional tutoring in that subject,” McCready said.

How much do you help your child with homework? Let us know on the TODAY Moms Facebook page.

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