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Posts tagged “morals

Developmental Stages


I am in my second week of college. I started a 5 week class of Psychology. This is my second assignment.  My essay about moral development.  You can see original here

Building up to Moral Development:

I believe all human developments build up to the moral development. To be human is to incorporate all senses that create the perceptions through all the physical, emotional, and social mile-stones. Physically the mind does grow and is able to discern morals around the age of 13 all on its own without outside influence.  Up until then environment, including parents, coach the child in what to do. Be it a good outcome or poor outcome caregivers are ultimately responsible and accountable for children’s actions until the child can discern for their self “Theory of Mind”, and beyond the “egocentric stage”.

December 31, 2010

13th Birthday--December 31,2010

    I cannot think on this topic without thinking of my child that is 13 years old and in the eighth grade.  Before this year on big assignments like 6th grade Berlin Wall model and paper explaining it, I helped. When thinking about the war, my child decided killing is wrong, but he did not quite understand why and what impact the wall had on society before and after being torn down. I wrote it for my child. We researched together on the internet a video of how and why the wall was made. My child made the model, and I wrote the paper.  With help, he got the point that not being allowed choice leads to unhappiness; and eventually, walls get torn down.

Kohlberg’s Moral Stage 6

However, this year has been a great turning point for my child. I notice ideas about ecosystem survival and essay writings about the quote “breaking away of mental chains” in three minutes time incorporating mental chains of poverty, racism and war.  My child now goes beyond personal perspective and includes the” Theory of Mind”.  As the parent, I purposely provided good examples and environment for the child to make good moral judgments. Even during this stage of life, I continue to offer advice.  Example… I encouraged him to do the big brother program.  I explained this is an opportunity that will be missed if not taken.  He will have this mentor for advice, and I think a good program due to my son has no dad in his life since age four.   He is doing this.  His mentor is the City of ———-’s Assistant Director.   Son has reached stage 6 “The morality of individual principles of conscience “(Kohlberg’s Moral Stages, www.haverford.edu/psych/ddavis/p109g/kohlberg.stages.html)

His actions are driven by his internalized ideas. In art class, he abandoned a group project and went to the corner by himself to read. His favorite book was taken away. He knew going to school not to read in class due to that morning he asked to take his new book to school. I clearly told him no reading in class. That I would take it away myself if I heard of him doing this. At home, he told me that the group had a “ lame idea”.   The project was about making an island.  He wanted to create a survivable ecosystem, and the group wanted to make a utensil town. This was the first art project he was interested in doing and a letdown. So, I explained to my son that the book is to stay with the teacher until she deems he can receive it back, and that the teacher is concerned with his getting along with a group at the moment.  When possible follow the group majority peacefully.  Then do the project like he wants at home later.  He did have a great idea.  However, the other children did not see the point that for an ecosystem to survive on an island everything has to get along.

Kohlberg’s Moral Stage 5

Just before entering stage 6, my child was majorly concerned with law, order, thinking of new rules, or questioning the rules of why is it a rule.  The “Contractual/legalistic orientation” step was everywhere.  Reading the author, John Grishom, became a favorite.   The war conflicts in other countries on the back of his mind but cannot understand why there is a United Nations going to war on an individualized country with its own set of rules.  Rules, rules, rules  ……what to do as a parent in this situation is mind-boggling, but what I did was use my Intro to sociology knowledge and explained some of those principles. I talked about the herd mentality and about what most of society agrees with as the norm at the time is what the law of society usually becomes.  Society can be wrong sometimes and peaceful resistance can help society change a view-point. Wars create chaos and strife and usually more conflict even after the ending of the war. Any conflict entered into should be thought out carefully with a resolution already in mind before starting the conflict, or like I said you would just end up with continuous chaos. The reason for the rules is to prevent chaos in the first place.

Kohlberg’s Moral Stage 4 and 3

These stages in the middle I can’t quite pinpoint the exact moment but it was there.  My child would do more than the expected; like clean up the bathroom, massage my feet, make a special card, or bring me flowers.  I feel as though it was genuine too.  I did not give a reward for the behavior. I gave just a smile, thank you, and wow you are amazing response.  His little mind was showing me respect and thankfully he continues to show respect. “Authority and social –order-maintaining orientation” stage and “Good-boy/good-girl orientation” goes together with my child. I set the rules for my child. I explained why, there are rules, with what happens when rules get broken. Not focusing on the punishment but what happens like running in the house could cause physical harm or breakage of an heirloom.  The punishment only last for a moment the breakage of an heirloom is irreplaceable.

Kohlberg’s Moral Stage 2

During stage 2 my son automatically did things to complete his own satisfaction. Lego’s, puzzles, kinex were his choice of me time and often included me.  I continue to have a picture of his house of cards.  He was genuinely proud of himself and ran to say,” look at what I did mom”.  I give out praise continually for all these amazing feats.  Tying shoes, riding bike, reading, writing, house of cards, what’s next?  I am so amazed.  I kept secret that I can do a house of cards too.  I do not think he would even comprehend that at the time.  He was all about what he could do without even being aware.   “Naively egoistic orientation” abounded.

Kohlberg’s Moral Stage 1

This stage my son avoided trouble at all cost. I notice when in conflict with sister would always just go to room.  He decided to be responsible for room and not the rest of the house.  My son’s first moral response was “obedience and punishment orientation”.  Taking away of Television, games, and books were my son’s punishments. Obeying gets the things back. Cleverly, he decided staying in his room and lying about doing homework easily gained his things back.  I would then tell him that I will find out if homework is not completed and a circle of continuous taking away would ensue.   This took a while for him to realize through punishment that the homework must be done.

Building up to Moral Development

Throughout these stages a child is also developing socially, emotionally, and physically.  The stimuli and parenting style of parents facilitate the prospering moral stages.  Without a good environment while developing the other skills good morals will not develop, stay stagnant, or may become morally wrong.  Parents would benefit society greatly by taking a parenting class during pregnancy.  The reason is: our children are the future to a morally good society with rules that keep out the chaos and keep the peace between families, neighbors, countries, the universe…………. The building up to moral development must start and continue throughout life.  Whatever a child is going through at the time of each stage determines the time, perspective, and order of the stages.  My son’s stage 1 came after stage 4.    All stages are incorporated into a person. Whichever stage comes first, the stages do not stop just continue building. So please never assume it is too late for morals 🙂 Each individual is different just as no snowflake is alike. Age is just a number baby! lol and Build,build,build…………:)

  ” I believe the children are our future

Teach them well And let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty

They possess inside

Give them a sense of pride

To make it easier

Let the children’s laughter

Remind us how we used to be

 Everybody’s searching for a hero

People need someone to look up to

I never found anyone

Who fulfilled my needs

A lonely place to be

And so I learned to depend on me.

 I decided long ago

Never to walk in anyone’s shadow

If I fail, if I succeed

At least I’ll live as I believe

No matter what they take from me

They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all

Is happening to me

I found the greatest love of all

Inside of me

The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself

It is the greatest love of all

 I believe the children are our future

Teach them well

And let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty

They possess inside

Give them a sense of pride

To make it easier

Let the children’s laughter

Remind us how we used to be

 I decided long ago

Never to walk in anyone’s shadow

If I fail, if I succeed

At least I’ll live as I believe.

No matter what they take from me

They can’t take away my dignity

 Because the greatest love of all

 Is happening to me

I found the greatest love of all

Inside of me

The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself

It is the greatest love of all

 And If by chance that special place

That you’ve been dreaming of

Leads you to a lonely place

Find your strength in love”

Selected References

Griggs, R. (2012). Psychology: A Concise Introduction, Third Edition. Worth publishers. Chapter 7 Developmental Psychology (246-286)

Kohlberg’s Moral Stages. www.haverford.edu/psych/ddavis/p109g/kohlberg.stages.html retrieved 11/22/2011.

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