Moral Development During Childhood

How does moral development change for developing individuals? Does it change for everyone? Why or why not? Why do some people fail to develop basic moral values?

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Basic moral development can be impeded through early childhood exposure to neglect and abuse. I believe that the textbook labeled those people as suffer from reactive attachment disorder. This disorder is characterized by a lack of conscience and a lack of empathy for others. In this case, a person’s environment dictates a lack of concern for others, primarily as a survival mechanism. It is a way to shield themselves from the ingrained hurt they felt when they were young at the hands of their primary caregiver, at least from a psychodynamic and behaviorist perspective. Furthermore, moral development at a young age is influenced mainly by the child’s primary caregiver. As the child grows up they begin to establish their own morals and ethics to govern their life. As an adult, they establish their own person. In the existential tradition, they become themselves. This change does take place for most people who have the mental capacity to comprehend self and others. Without that basic ability, it would be difficult for a person to become themselves, as it were.   

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Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2005). Psychology (4 th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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