ERIC Number: ED336766
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-May-24
Reference Count: 0
"Talking Good": Family Communication and Children's Morality.
Berkowitz, Marvin W.
The contemporary influence on the study of child morality has come from the cognitive-stage theories of Jean Piaget, who skewed the focus on interpersonal communication away from the family to the peer play domain. Aside from this approach, there are two other psychological approaches to moral development: psychoanalytic theory and social learning theory. Furthermore, the theories on parenting or discipline style and family systems are less theoretically grounded, but nonetheless influential approaches. Another way to examine parental effects on moral development is by focusing on outcomes--on the different dimensions of moral development, such as altruism. Despite the Piagetian bias against parental nurturance, researchers have found that loving parents at higher stages of development who explain their parenting behaviors to their children and who encourage their children to participate in family discussions of moral issues and to consider multiple perspectives are more likely to have children who can reason at more mature moral stages. In addition, when parents are trained to discuss moral issues with their children more openly, the children's moral reasoning development is accelerated. As a direct response to the school-based attempts to accelerate children's and adolescents' moral reasoning development, M. W. Berkowitz and J. C. Gibbs developed a model of moral discussion behavior termed "transactive discussion." Subsequent research projects on this model suggest that adolescents discuss moral issues differently with parents than with peers, but that the effect of the family on the children's moral development is a strong one. (Fifty references are attached.) (PRA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Moral Reasoning; Piaget (Jean); Transactive Communication
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (41st, Chicago, IL, May 23-27, 1991).