Teaching Your Child Morality

Moral Development of Children

The journey to teaching...

Moral development in children is critical to living a psychologically healthy life. So, just how do you, as a parent, make sure your child fully develops morally?

What is Morality?

A moral is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as, "of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior."

Participating in Perfect Parenting Styles

You should aim for an authoritative parenting style. Here are the four most commonly referenced parenting styles.

  1. Authoritative: This parenting style usually has high acceptance and involvement by the parents. These parents also typically appropriately teach their children to be autonomous. These parents typically avoid punishments, instead using reward-like teaching methods.
  2. Authoritarian: This parenting style typically involves lower levels of acceptance and involvement. More often than not, these parents manipulate to gain control. They are also more likely to use physical punishment on their child.
  3. Permissive: These parents are often there for their child and are accepting. However, there is usually too much autonomy at too young of an age for the child because the parents are uninvolved. This can lead to poor choices later on in development.
  4. Uninvolved: These parents have little to no involvement or acceptance. They are also often psychologically compromised, being depressed or detached.

Parenting Types and Later Moral Development

Each parenting type can effect how a child will develop morally.

  1. Authoritative: Children are often very autonomous and have high moral development.
  2. Authoritarian: Children are more dependent, have low moral development, and sometimes participate in abusive behavior.
  3. Permissive: Children are often reckless and have low moral development.
  4. Uninvolved: Much like neglect, this method will cause a child to have little moral development, possibly becoming antisocial even (Margitics, 2009).

  • Margitics, Ferenc & Pauwlik, Zsuzsa (2009). Parenting Treatment and Mental Health of Personality. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Beginning the Process: How to Teach Right from Wrong (using authoritative parenting)

Always avoid physical punishment. This kind of punishment may create a lack of trust between the child and parent. Also, the child will learn that this is acceptable and may do the same to others.

Alternatives to Harsh Punishments

  1. Time-out
  2. Induction: Parents point out to the child how another person feels so that the child may understand. This can develop empathy in the child, leading to a better moral development process.
  3. Positive Reinforcement: Parents reward the child for proper behavior, either through verbal or material methods.
Positive Reinforcement - The Big Bang Theory

The Best Approach for your Child

Your child's temperament can easily determine which teaching techniques you should implement. Temperament refers to individual differences in reactivity and the strategies that are used regarding that reactivity. There are three different types according to studies performed by Thomas and Chess.

Temperament Types

  1. Easy Child: These children easily accept change, are happy, and fall easily into routines.
  2. Difficult Child: These children are typically negative, don't follow routines, and are not accepting of change or new experiences.
  3. Slow-to-Warm-Up Child: These children are negative, will go with new experiences, but are not quick to make a change in routine, and often are inactive, or may be active in environmental arousals.

Temperament and Parenting Techniques

  1. For Easy children, parents should incorporate induction and positive reinforcement into discipline to create a sound moral development. Parents should let the child explore on their own, but guide them as they do right and wrong. Any wrongs should be calmly addressed and acknowledged.
  2. For the Difficult child, parents should implement induction, time-out, and positive reinforcement. Some punishment may be necessary, but should not be physical. In general, parents should be firm and create reasonable demands.
  3. Slow-to-Warm-Up children need parents that will stimulate them and encourage them to take part in new experiences. They must point out things and encourage interest. To do this parents should incorporate induction and positive reinforcement.
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Don't Give In!

DO NOT give in to non-compliance. Keep your method regular. Giving in may lead to maladaptive moral outlooks and behavior.
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Be your child's SUPERHERO!!

Really, the best way to create a good moral development in your child is YOU!! Show your child what good moral behavior and character is and how to live it out!!!