Jane is a seven years old girl from a middle class family. While getting upstairs to her flat, she saw somebody's wallet on the stairs. She was very curious what's inside, so she picked it up and opened it. She saw a few credit cards, like she saw in her mom's wallet, but also she saw some money. There were no adults around, so, Jane took it home to talk to her mom about it. Mom was not there, and Jane decided to look at the wallet again. While she was waiting , she counts the money. There were two $10 notes. Jane was saving money for a new Barbie, and adding this amount to her savings would be enough to make a purchase . Now Jane has a moral dilemma: to tell her mom about the finding, so she can look for the owner, or, take the money and don't return the wallet. In this case, Jane already knows what is right, and what is wrong. She is concerned about taking the money that does not belong to her, thus make her parents very upset . She feels guilty even thinking about keeping the wallet. Finally, mom come back. Jane can not stand this dilemma any more , and returns the wallet. Per Piaget's, 7 year old Jane has not reach the stage of concrete operations. She is at the first stage of moral reasoning called morality of constraint. For her, whatever her parents say, is justice, and if they punish her, it is justified. Jane knows, that taking the money from somebody's wallet is not consistent with rules and would be regarded by her parents as bad behavior. Her decision is dictated by the fear of consequences (punishment) for possible action. Per Kohlberg, based on Jane's reasoning underlying response, she is self centered, focused on getting rewards and avoiding punishment. It is preconventional level, stage one. According to the theorists, Jane is in the age appropriate stages and developing prosocial behavior, based on her final action. To summarize, a child's moral development is influenced by their social , cognitive capacities,...
References: Feldman, R.S. (2000). Development across the lifespan (2 nd Edition). NJ: Prentice Hall
Siegler,R.S., DeLoache,J.S., Eisenberg,N (2006). How children develop (2nd Edition) NY:
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