Moral Development in Children & Adolescents Essay

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Jean Piaget’s two-stage theory of moral development involves the following: Children who are below ten or eleven years old believe that laws implemented are “fixed and absolute” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). They believe that authorized people or maybe even God is responsible for this and so they believe such rules cannot be violated (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). The next stage is when a child turns twelve until he or she reaches sixteen wherein he/she enters the “general stage of formal operations” (Crain, 1985, pp. 18 – 136). Here, a child undergoes several changes including how he or she considers the “unfairness” and looks at the purpose of doing an act before he or she sees it as wrong or right (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). Lawrence Kohlberg’s Six Stages of Moral Development On the other hand, the stages of moral development for Lawrence Kohlberg are the following: The first stage is known as “obedience and punishment orientation” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136).

Here, children believe that a rule is right if the older ones or those seemingly authorized say so (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). What they do then to comply with whatever it is that they are obliged to follow so as to keep away from retributions (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). The second is referred to as “individualism and exchange” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). In this stage, children don’t easily believe anymore with an older/authorized individual especially if he or she is only one imposing the rule (Crain, 1985, pp. 18 – 136). What they do at this stage is to look into the “different sides of issues” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). Here in this stage, they also learn to be determined to follow their interests or deal with others in exchange for a certain favor for themselves (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). The next stage is “good interpersonal relationships” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). Here, they now see themselves as belonging to a society that has “values, norms, and expectations” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136).

What they do it so stay as a nice individual by helping others achieve their goals (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). The fourth is “maintaining the social order” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). Here, they learn to conform or abide by the laws so as to help keep the society from experiencing disorder (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). The fifth is “social contract and individual rights” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). Here, children develops and will become focused on how to uphold a good if not a better society (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136).

At this particular stage, they learn their fundamental privileges and constitutional rights that everyone has the right to be heard (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). The last stage is “universal principles” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). This is where children finds out and understands the “principles by which agreement will be most just” (Crain, 1985, pp. 118 – 136). Factors that Influence Pro-Social/Anti-Social Behavior in Children and Early Adolescents There are several factors that influence the behavior of children and early adolescents.

These include the following: the culture that they belong to; the motivations that their parents and environment will let them absorb; as well as, peer pressure (Morris et. al. , 2005, pp. 328 – 363). Importance of the Aforementioned to a School Psychologist The information aforementioned is very important to a school psychologist for her to understand better how children perceive rules implemented in school. All these information will help him/her motivate children to abide by the rules in school, as well as, how he or she will implement changes later.

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