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Linking ego and moral develpoment the value consistency thesis

Grych Abstract Although moral development of children has long been ascribed predominantly to the effects of parenting, there has been little systematic examination of the specific nature of this relation.

In this paper, we identify four foundational components of children's moral development social orientation, self-control, compliance, self-esteem and four central aspects of moral functioning empathy, conscience, moral reasoning, altruism.

  1. It is characterized by an intuitive understanding and an inability to clearly articulate justifications or to defend his or her beliefs. The mean reliability between all three scorers was 0.
  2. For men and women alike, the single most sought-after trait in a long-term romantic partner is kindness — beating out beauty, wealth, health, shared interests, even intelligence.
  3. Among the longitudinal study participants, 54 students were interviewed at the beginning of high school M age"13.
  4. From the middle of high school to after high school graduation, furthermore, both the kibbutz-born and city-born Ramat Yedidim students added an impressive 32 and 33 points, respectively, to their mean value orientation scores.

The parenting roots of each of these eight psychological characteristics are examined, and five core parenting processes induction, nurturance, demandingness, modeling, democratic family process that are related empirically to the development of these eight child characteristics are identified and discussed. Finally, we consider the implications of our analysis for teaching parents to positively influence their children's moral development.

Teaching Parents to Facilitate Children's Moral Development Throughout human history, communities have been concerned with the type of person that children become. Furthermore, scholars have addressed the topic for over two thousand years and, over the past century, a wealth of data has been amassed concerning the development of morality in children and adolescents. Throughout this time, the role of adults, especially parents, in children's moral development has been a central focus.

This paper will address how parents influence their children's moral development by first examining what is meant by morality in childhood; i. Next, the discussion will turn to an exploration of how parents impact the development of those moral characteristics.

Finally, practical implications for parenting and parent training will be drawn from the prior discussions. Top of Page The Moral Nature of the Child Whereas most people would likely agree that they "know a good person when they see one," there is decidedly less agreement as to what centrally defines morality. Socio-cultural theorists emphasize the role of cultural transmission of values, personality traits moral characterand cognitive patterns e.

Biologists tend to focus attention on evolutionary functions, genetic selection of moral characteristics, hormones, and neuroanatomy e. Cognitive psychologists emphasize moral reasoning and decision-making e. This heterogeneity results in a confusing picture of the moral person Berkowitz,which is exacerbated by the problem of studying morality with people at different developmental levels.

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For example, the study of emergent morality in the second year of life infancy by necessity emphasizes empathy and self-other differentiation, whereas the study of pre-school morality focuses, appropriately, on perspective-taking, self-control, and social behaviors such as sharing.

Those who study moral development in adolescence, by contrast, might focus instead on ethical philosophy and moral identity. For these reasons, it is necessary to define the scope of moral development that will be addressed in this analysis. The goal is to identify how parents can be taught to nurture the development of "building blocks" of morality, a core set of characteristics that either 1 underpin and give rise to moral functioning or 2 reflect fundamental human morality.

The self is moral

The focus thus necessarily will be on early and middle childhood, when these characteristics develop. Further, given the interest in the effects of parenting on moral development, only those aspects of morality that are most susceptible to parental influences will be addressed. Moral characteristics, however, do not appear spontaneously nor are they disconnected from the larger core of what constitutes healthy psychology. Rather, the moral nature of a person is fully integrated with other aspects of that person's psychological make-up.

Colby and Damonin their study of moral exemplars, found many non-moral characteristics that were common among their subjects; e. The final component of Berkowitz's "moral anatomy," meta-moral characteristics, refer to qualities such as these.

Whereas moral characteristics inherently reflect morality or ethics, meta-moral characteristics are necessary for moral functioning but are not themselves intrinsically moral in nature.

That is, they potentially serve either morality or immorality. For example, to be morally effective one needs self-control. However, self-control can also support criminal behavior, sadistic behavior, etc.

  • But souls are a useful construct, one we can make sense of in fiction and fantasy, and as a shorthand for describing everyday experience;
  • More recently Baumrind, 1980 , Permissive parenting has been differentiated into the more classically warm laissez faire style and the more distant neglectful style; however, the research being reviewed here pre-dates this differentiation;
  • An Israeli approach pp;
  • Using this scoring system Cote and Levine , , conducted several studies that addressed the relationship of value orientation stages with ego identity status, moratoria type, and ego dominance;
  • How fathers care for the next generation;
  • Each subject was interviewed separately in Hebrew.

Rest incorporates a variety of such characteristics into his model of the components of moral action; e. In a sense, the first major model of moral character recognized this distinction as well. Aristotle describes practical wisdom or prudence as the intellectual capacity to discern what will and how to serve the moral virtues. Therefore, this discussion will focus on both moral characteristics and the more foundational meta-moral characteristics upon which they depend.

Based upon these criteria, and the emphases in the relevant literature, eight aspects of moral functioning will be examined.

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The first four are meta-moral characteristics social orientation, self-control, compliance, self-esteem and the next four are components of psychological morality empathy, conscience, moral reasoning, altruism. Understanding them is important for explaining how parents influence their children's moral development. All of these components are well-researched areas with clear relations to parental behavior.

Moral behavior flows from an interest in and concern for other people. Psychologists have long viewed the desire to take part in social interaction, to develop relationships, as critical to psychological health.

  • Caregivers have a vital role in protecting and soothing" p;
  • Furthermore, only those parents showed a parallel decrease in authoritarian decision-making in family discussions;
  • Com- parison of city-born youth, who were not placed on a kibbutz or placed on another kibbutz where they were not integrated into the community, did not show the same gains in moral development;
  • Perhaps one of the most widely recognized and studied aspects of moral psychology is altruism, or the giving to another at cost to oneself.

Indeed, the absence of this desire is viewed as pathological. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association,a person exhibiting pervasive detachment from and disinterest in social relationships is said to have schizoid personality disorder, and one of the major signals of emerging psychopathology in childhood and adolescence is the onset of an anti-social life-style in which the rights of others are ignored or violated Weiner, Given its primacy for psychological health as well as moral development, it is important to understand how a healthy social orientation develops in childhood.

Consensually, researchers and clinicians tend to point to the formation of a secure attachment bond in the first few years of life as the origin of a healthy social orientation. Attachment is the special affective relationship that forms between infants and their primary caretakers Ainsworth et al. Of particular interest for this discussion are the findings of a relation between the nature of the attachment bond and social and moral outcomes in the child.

Healthy "secure" attachment relationships have been found to predict successful relationships throughout life. For example, Park and Waters report that preschool children with secure attachments had more harmonious interactions with peers than did children with insecure attachments.

Magid and McKelvey argue that the single most consistent cause of childhood antisocial behavior is the lack of a secure attachment bond in infancy, because of the resultant failure to develop a conscience and Ainsworth et al.

It is a bit circular to argue that parenting influences the development of a social sense, having already established that the core of a social sense derives from the formation of the attachment bond with one's primary caretakers.

Nevertheless, one can examine which features of parenting affect the development of a secure attachment bond. Unlike other species in which attachment is instinctive, very narrow, and triggered by specific physical cues, in humans attachment can form in a variety of ways and result in a broad range of outcomes. Secure attachments are understood generally to derive from the quality of the interaction between infant and caretaker Schaffer, Although such interactions are best conceptualized as social systems, the contributions of mother or other attachment figure can be meaningfully teased out of the system.

One of the most widely recognized parental characteristics that predict secure attachment linking ego and moral develpoment the value consistency thesis is responsivity. Mothers of securely attached infants are more attuned to their infant's signals Ainsworth, et al. As already noted, the influence of the infant is also important in the nature of the relation linking ego and moral develpoment the value consistency thesis produces the attachment bond.

Even here, there is useful information in parent training, however. Crockenberg reported that infant temperament interacts with parental resources. Mothers with irritable infants were at risk for not forming secure attachments unless they had social support for their parenting, which allowed the mother to escape the stress of the irritable infant for short periods of time. Even though there are a broad variety of perspectives on moral psychology, they generally agree that effective and mature moral agents must have some capacity to control their own behavior; i.

Etzioni in his Communitarian approach considers self-discipline, along with empathy, to be one of the two building blocks of character. Rest includes the ability to carry out one's moral vision to be one of four central ingredients in his cognitive-developmental model of moral maturity, parallel to Blasi and Milton's "moral will. However, self-control as a personality or character trait has been studied most intensively in the pre-school years.

As young children develop the ability to use cognitive mediators, such as mental imagery and private speech, they develop the capacity to resist temptation, suppress impulses, and delay gratification. The most marked gains in such cognitively-mediated self-control abilities seem to develop between approximately five and seven years of age Berkowitz, The development of self-control is a gradual and complex process in which maturation and development of the child's capacities plays a great role.

Parents also, however, affect the development of self-control capacities, through a process that is consistent with "scaffolding" Bruner, or guided self-regulation Sroufe, Both of these concepts refer to a process in which parents provide support for unmastered skills via guidance and feedback.

Along these lines, Schaffer points out that parents can help at each phase of self-control development by 1 creating the external controls necessary before self-regulation is mastered and 2 engineering the situations so that they are more readily controllable, given the nascent nature of infant and toddler self-control strategies. For example, during the first months of life "the problem of regulation involves safeguarding the infant from stimulation that is too strong and which will therefore have too great an arousing effect.

Caregivers have a vital role in protecting and soothing" p. Maccoby concurs and lists five ways parents can assist in the complex transition from impulsivity to self-regulation: Block reported that adolescents low in self-control come from homes in which there was a high level of conflict, especially about child-rearing values, parents neglected to teach their children, and parents demanded very little of their children both in terms of household chores and school work.

Compliance with external standards Description. Part of the nature of a moral being is adherence to selected external controls; an effective moral agent must eventually learn to internalize external standards for behavior. Beginning at around months of age, toddlers begin to want to comply with their mothers' demands. They begin to spontaneously make reparations for their transgressions; e.

Parental behavior is highly influential in the development of early compliance. Mother's flexibility Westerman,reliance on negotiation rather than direct control Kuczynski, et al.

  • Empathy has been defined in different ways, but the most widely recognized position on empathy comes from the work of Martin Hoffman 1991;
  • The degree to which students scored at parallel, lower, or higher value orientation stage scores compared with moral judgment stages was also examined.

Furthermore, such behaviors have been linked to the development of conscience six years later Kochanska, Platitudes and "truisms" about self-esteem abound: Research supports the gist of these contentions. Self-esteem in childhood has linking ego and moral develpoment the value consistency thesis related to mental health later in life, while a lack of self-esteem has been related to social dysfunctions and mental pathologies such as depression and anxiety Harter, The relation is not always straightforward as overly high self-esteem has also been found to be dysfunctional in peer relations Hartup,but the bulk of the evidence suggests that a positive sense of self is psychologically healthy.

Coopersmith reported that three central dimensions of parenting promote children's self-esteem: These dimensions correspond closely with what Baumrind has identified as the "Authoritative" parenting, a style of parenting that will be discussed later in this paper.

Empathy has been identified by Kagan as one of the "core moral emotions. Children must learn to become attuned not only to their own emotional reactions but also to those of others" p. Empathy has been defined in different ways, but the most widely recognized position on empathy comes from the work of Martin Hoffman Hoffman considers empathy to be an affective response to another's distress that is "more appropriate to someone else's situation than to one's own" p.

He describes it as a bystander phenomenon, such that empathy is aroused in one who is observing or imagining another's plight from the outside. In a fairly complex developmental model, Hoffman describes five types of empathy ranging from automatic involuntary reactions of infants to other infants' cries to mature, reflective reactions to the meaning of others' unfortunate circumstances. Hoffman thinks empathy is born in the infant's innate tendency to match the noxious affect of others, what he calls "global empathy.

But Hoffman also very strongly emphasizes the role of parental induction, and conversely the avoidance of power assertion and love withdrawal techniques. Parents who explain their parenting behavior to the child especially with a focus on consequences of one's actions for others have more empathic children. Conscience has long been understood as a combination of 1 internalized standards and 2 behavioral and affective results of adherence to or violation of those standards.

Much of the literature on conscience derives from a psychoanalytic perspective the Super Egobut researchers from other perspectives have also found it useful to study aspects of conscience.

The most impressive work on the development of conscience comes from the work of Kochanska and her colleagues e. These researchers have described conscience as having two major aspects.