Stages of Moral Development

In Kohlberg’s study of moral development in children he came up with an explanation similar to Piaget’s, where children developed in different stages. He also stated, in addition to his stages, that there were various levels within the stages of development. Kohlberg believed that children develop through their interaction with others where they learn how viewpoints differ and as problems and differences arise, they develop their opinions of what is fair and just.

 Level 1: Preconventional Morality

Stage 1: Obiedience and Punishment Orientation

This stage is viewed as the primary stage of development in children. Kohlberg’s theory states that during this stage, children automatically assume that authority figures hand down a set of rules in which they must obey without question. Children, during this time, are not seen as a part of society and able to think and make choices of their own.

Stage 2: Individualism and Exchange

During this stage, children begin to realize that there are viewpoints that are different from their own. Also, that authorities also have differing opinions about the views of others. At this stage, children are still not classified as members of society due to their underdeveloped communication skills at this age

Level 2: Conventional Morality

Stage 3: Good Interpersonal Relationships

This stage is usually entered around the time that children begin adolescence. During this stage, children are able to differentiate between simple morality that is taught from authorities to more complex moral judgments and skills. Children begin to have a more realistic and opinionated view on the importance of family and friend relationships and what is considered moral within them.

Stage 4: Maintaining the Social Order

When children enter this stage, they move from simply viewing the morality of family and friends to view the morality of society as a whole. The emphasis during this stage is focused more on obeying laws in society and children make decisions based on what is right and wrong in society.

 Level 3. Postconventional Morality

Stage 5: Social Contract and Individual Rights

When people reach stage 5, they still are viewing morality in society. However, in this stage people look at the complexities of what makes a good society. People look at society in terms of what necessarily works, doesn’t mean it is good for society. People in this stage are able to use more complex reasoning skills that make decisions about what is considered “good” and “bad” for our society.

Stage 6: Universal Principles

Where at stage 5 people are working at the conception of what makes a good society, stage 6 defines the principles at which people achieve justice. This is the final stage of moral development in Kohlbergs Morality Theory. When people reach this stage they have a well-rounded view on society where a persons justice guides them to an equal respect for all people. Civil-obedience is the main separating factor between stage 5 and 6.


Image Taken From :www.

Comments are closed.