Moral Development: Overview

Moral development 0-19 There is no moral development between the ages 0 and 18 months. 18mths to 2years- Is sensitive to adult approval and disapproval and will actively seek to make adults happy despite their tantrums. 2 to 3years- appears independent and wants to be good, but is not yet mature enough to be able to carry out most promises they make. 3 to 4years- Begins to know right from wrong. Finds other’s opinions of self to be important. Is more self-controlled and less aggressive.
Uses extreme verbal threats such as, “I’ll kill you,” without understanding. 4 to 5years- Is becoming aware of right and wrong; usually has desire to do right; may blame others for own wrongdoing. 5 to 6years- Is interested in being good, but may tell lies or blame others for wrongdoings because of intense desire to please and do right. Wants to do what he/she believes is right and avoid what is wrong. 6 to 7years- Is very concerned with personal behavior, particularly as it affects family and friends; sometimes blames others for own wrongdoing. to 8years- May experience guilt and shame. 8 to 12years- Is very conscious of fairness and is becoming highly competitive. Argues over fairness; has difficulty admitting mistakes but is becoming more capable of accepting failures and mistakes and taking responsibility for them. Is clearly acquiring a conscience; is aware of right and wrong; wants to do right, but sometimes overreacts or rebels against a strict conscience. Has strong sense of justice and a strict moral code. More concerned with what is wrong than what is right.
Has strong need to fit in with peer-group morals. 12-16years- Knows right and wrong; tries to weigh alternatives and arrive at decisions alone. Is concerned about fair treatment of others; is usually reasonably thoughtful; is unlikely to lie. 16-19years- Is confused and upset about differences between stated values and actual behaviours of family and friends; experiences feelings of frustration, anger, sorrow, and isolation. May be interested in sex as response to physical-emotional urges and as a way to participate in the adult world.

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