What is morality? Discover the development of ethics in childhood

Our daily lives are marked by different choices or ethical attitudes. Doing ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is a dilemma that is often presented to us from an early age.

But … What exactly is morality? How to develop it in the first years of life? In today’s article, we’ll learn everything you need to understand the development of ethics in childhood and adolescence.

What is morality?

the morality it is the set of principles or ideals that help an individual to distinguish right from wrong, to act in accordance with that distinction, and to feel proud of virtuous conduct and guilty of conduct that violates its rules.

the internalization it is the process of adopting attributes or standards of other people; take these rules as yours

How do they see the morality of development workers

Each of the three main theories of moral development focuses on a different component of morality: moral effects (psychoanalysis), moral reasoning (cognitive development theory), and moral behavior (learning and social processing theory). Some information).

Psychoanalytic Explanations of Moral Development

Sigmund Freud states that babies and children who start to walk do not have superior and act on their selfish impulses unless parents control their behavior. However, once the superego arises, it acts as an internal sensor that makes the child proud or embarrassed by their behavior.

Freud’s theory of Oedipal morality

The superego develops at the phallic stage after the Oedipus or Electra Complex. It is then that the child internalizes the moral values ​​of his parent of the same sex. For Freud, the internalization of the superego in a girl is weaker than in men.

Psychoanalysis Assessment

Cognitive development theory

For cognitive development theorists, both cognitive growth and social experience are determinants of moral development.

Piaget’s theory of moral development

The first works of Piaget on morality, they focused on respect for the rules and conceptions of justice.

  • The premoral period: The first 5 years of life, when children show little respect or interest in socially defined rules

  • Heteronomous morality (5 to 10 years): Piaget’s first stage of moral development, in which children regard the rules of authority figures as sacred and unalterable. They tend to focus on the consequences. Immanent conduct: unacceptable conduct will invariably be punished and justice is always present in the world

  • Autonomous morality (10-11 years): children realize that rules are arbitrary agreements that can be challenged and changed with the consent of those who govern them. They tend to focus on intention. Reciprocal punishment: for him to understand what he has done.

The shift from a heteronomous morality to an autonomous morality occurs when children learn to position themselves from the point of view of others.

  • Children who participate in group activities as leaders tend to make more mature moral judgments.

  • Children put more weight on consequences, but that doesn’t mean they neglect their intentions.

  • Parents can hinder the moral development of children when they take an authoritarian approach, although they rarely use this type of moral values ​​discourse. At the age of 6 or 7, children already make moral judgments, as long as the parents are instilled into them without question.

Kohlberg’s theory of moral development

by KohlbergMoral development is not yet complete at 10-11 years old. For him, development takes place according to an invariable sequence (cognitive development is necessary) of 3 levels which is divided into 2 stages each. Each step represents a type of moral thought and not a moral decision.

bibliographical references:

  • Piaget, J., Inhelder, B. (2008). “Child psychology”. Morata.

  • Shaffer, D. (2000). “Developmental psychology, childhood and adolescence”, 5th ed., Ed. Thomson, Mexico, pp.

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