Moral Development in Children
October 14th, 2012
Life is full of decisions to be made; many of them moral decisions. Children are faced with these decisions also and the choices they make reflect the way they are raised or the way they believe their parents and caregivers might choose. There are several theories as to how a child comes to develop morality. Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gillian have developed two of these theories. After reading the passage regarding the decision Jane needed to make regarding the $20 she found, both of these theories can give some insight as to why or how Jane will decide what to do. The moral development of a child has many influences as well. Things such as age and culture definitely have an effect on how a child develops a moral sense.
Lawrence Kohlberg developed a theory that consisted of 6 stages in which a child develops morals. His theory also included 3 levels at which a child develops those morals. The first level is the Preconventional Level. This level is where children do not question what they are told and rely on feedback from authority figures to determine if what they’ve done is right or wrong. This also leads to stage 1 or the punishment and obedience orientation. At this stage, children are not so concerned with what is right and wrong, rather, how they will be punished or how they can get away with whatever it is they are doing. Stage 2 is only a bit further developed than stage 1 but it is at this point when children “become aware that people can have different perspectives in a moral dilemma, but at first this understanding is concrete. They view right action as flowing from self-interest and understand reciprocity as equal exchange of favors: ‘you do this for me, I’ll do this for you’ (Berk, 2010 p. 408)”, thus, the Conventional Level begins. This level states that children believe that adhering to rules is important but not for...