Adolescent Moral Development

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Adolescent Moral Development

Morality can be defined as the distinction between what is right and wrong or what is good and bad. Although, moral reasoning depends on culture which makes it difficult to define. Most people don’t look at where these principles are coming from or what guides one through moral development. As children grow and learn, usually from care takers and people who inspire their every need, their morality changes based on several levels. Although researching of moral development goes as far back as Socrates, there are two psychologists that studied morality in depth and they are Lawrence Kohlberg and Jean Piaget.

Jean Piaget was a cognitive developmental psychologists spending most of his time working with children and adolescents, including his own. Although, Piaget’s observation of moral development wasn’t in depth like Kohlberg, he allowed for a basic understanding. He believed that moral development occurred in stages. Piaget strongly believed in education and thought interaction in a education setting allowed children maximum potential in cognitive development.

Piaget believed in many things, but when it came to moral development there were only two basic principles. The first principle was that children develop moral ideas in stages and could not skip stages, although movement from one stage to the other could vary in length. Lastly he believed that children create their own perception of their world, including whether their actions enforce what is morally right or wrong.

“Piaget's ideas of moral realism and morality of cooperation play a role in Kohlberg's theory. Children in Piaget's stage of moral realism believe that rules are absolute and can't be changed. Punishment should be determined by how much damage is done, and the intention of the child is not taken into account.

For example, a child operating in the stage of moral realism would believe that a child who accidentally breaks three cups should be punished more...
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