Moral development is first seen in preschoolers who seek to gain maximum benefits for themselves. When Frank reached elementary school, he was a “good boy” seeking approval from others and being friendly. He then moved on to following fixed rules for the purpose of maintaining social order.
When Frank became a teenager, he looked to mutually beneficial rules where the concepts of being morally right and legally right weren’t always the same thing. Subtleties of “right and wrong” played a role.
Finally, when Frank moved into adulthood, his morality was based on mutual respect and ethical behavior. Watch your child interact with others to gauge their stage of moral development.
Now that you know, start their education. Avoid using the words "good" and "bad", "right" and "wrong" and think in terms of "helpful" and "healthy".
We have a better sense of the behavior that is "helpful" and "healthy" than that which is "good/bad" or "right/wrong". The definition of "good/bad" and "right/wrong" can change from situation to situation, but "helpful" and "healthy" has fewer limitations.
Do your best, Claudia
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