This paper explores how moral and ethical beliefs are formed in our society. We further explore how the moral and ethical beliefs that a child learns at a very early age evolves as that child enters the school community and then finally the business community.
Morals and Ethics
Societys acceptance of certain behaviors throughout time is what formulates the current moral and ethical beliefs. What was immoral 50 years ago may be considered acceptable or tolerable behaviors now. The basic moral and ethical beliefs are standards of conduct that indicates how we should behave based on our moral duties and virtues, which themselves are derived from our principles of right and wrong. Ethics are about how we meet the challenge of doing the right thing when it will cost us more than we want to pay. Morals describe our beliefs, customs and traditions that are reflected in our personal convictions about right and wrong.Values are our core beliefs or desires that guide or motivate our attitudes and actions. They also define the things we value and prize the most, and, therefore, provide the basis for ranking the things we want in a way that elevates some values over others. Thus, our values determine how we will behave in certain situations.
Moral Development of Children
When people discuss moral development, they are referring to their conduct and attitude towards others in society. They look to see if others follow the societal norms, rules, and laws. In terms of children, we are describing their ability to distinguish right from wrong.
Two individuals, Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, studied the moral development of children. Piaget looked at how children develop moral reasoning. He found that young children have a much more primitive understanding of right and wrong behavior than do older children.
Piaget determined that younger children judge bad behavior by the amount of damage caused by a person’s behavior. He would tell children a story with a moral dilemma. He would ask them to tell him “who is naughtier?” a boy who accidentally broke fifteen cups or a boy who breaks one cup trying to reach a jam jar when his mother is not around. Younger children attributed the “naughty” behavior to the boy who broke the most cups regardless of the other child’s intent. This type of moral reasoning was called Objective Morality or Moral Realism.
Older children attributed bad behavior to the boy who broke only one cup because his motives where bad. This, more advanced form of moral reasoning was called Subjective Morality or Autonomous Morality. Piaget expressed that children do not fully achieve this stage of moral development until the ages of twelve or thirteen.
As the later stages of moral development reveal, children can make a choice not to follow society’s rules or laws. Parents must accept that reality, that’s part of parents’ on-going moral development. It also provides parents do motivation to improve and develop morals at an early age. Understanding moral development allows parents to assess their children and have a better target for their individual development. It redefines our roles as teachers and guides over the unpleasant tasks of police and judges. Hopefully, the end result is that our child will be the one who will stop and wait for someone in need, regardless of what the crowd says he or she should do.
Children listen to their parent discuss and sometimes argue about certain issues, politics, social problems, moral issues and even opinions about how others behave. In the early years a child looks to their parents as the final authority on any subject. It’s not uncommon to overhear a child explain something as being absolutely true because their mommy or daddy said so.During this time we teach our children about fairness, friendship and kindness.
During this most influential time in a childs life, parents have the opportunity to mold a kind and giving child. Kindness involves some type of giving or sacrificing of something of ones own money, time or safety for the good of someone else. If a child is taught to be kind, he or she will inevitably be faced with the question of how much they should give. In making moral decisions we all