Moral Values (extension of S.P.I.C.E booklet Level 2)
Moral development is the development of the thought process in which children develop acceptable behaviours towards others, distinguish right from wrong and the acceptance of social and cultural norms. The following gives an indication of what is considered normal moral development milestones by age.
AGE 4 – 7 years
The early stages of moral development are influenced mainly by parents who will set a child’s first boundaries. The child will begin to understand which behaviours are acceptable and which are not. By the time a child starts school this understanding should have broadened, the child should display kindness, be able to share and play cooperatively with other children and follow simple instructions. A child of 4 may still struggle with self-control and there could be instances of emotional outburts, especially if they do not get their own way. This behaviour should lessen in such children as their emotional and moral development grows. By the time children are aged 6 to 7 their moral development should be rooted firmly, they should know right from wrong and will begin to be more tolerant of others. Children of this age may become upset if they have done something wrong and they may experience a sense of guilt. They are beginning to understand that everyone is an individual and should become more considerate of other people’s feelings.
AGE 7 – 12 years
During this stage of development, a child will become increasingly more aware of the world around them. They begin to develop stronger friendships and will display loyalty to those friends, they should understand and be able to demonstrate fairness. They should be more empathetic towards others and have a good sense of morality, they will sense more acutely feelings of guilt, shame, sympathy and empathy. They may begin to question authority figures such as their parents and teachers, and understand that these people might not know everything and may even be wrong sometimes. At this stage in development a child may begin to be influenced more by his peer group than parents.
AGE 12 – 16 years
Children from the age of 12 will be becoming much more independent and will have a greater sense of self-awareness, they may take more risks than before. They will be empathetic towards others and their sense of morality will be clearly established. They may turn to their friends for advice rather than parents, they will begin to make their own decisions and understand that every decision has a consequence. They can take ownership of their mistakes. They may become rebellious and reject their parent’s values, parents may find it difficult during this stage to instil their own morals upon their child. Most children at this age have sound core morals values, however, teenagers are faced with moral dilemmas daily and may not always make the right choice, they will still need guidance.
AGE 16 – 19 years
During this stage of moral development teens may continue to pursue riskier behaviour and may still rebel against parents and authority, especially in the earlier stages. They usual develop a firmer sense of identity during this stage and become less influenced by their peers. They will become more concerned, regularly showing empathy and sympathy for others. Decision are made through more thought and consideration being given and the ability to look at, and understand potential outcomes. They become self-reliant and relationships with parents should vastly improve, they will begin to honour their obligations and responsibilities. (www.mentalhelp.net , https://howtoadult.com