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Child Moral Development: Milestones To Watch Out For

All of us want our children to grow up into decent human beings. We want our children to learn all the core values and principles that our parents imbibed in us at some point in our own lives. Morality is nothing but the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. What is right may not always be easy.  

In such cases, it is the core values and beliefs that we go back to, in order to make a decision. Values and morals are not taught in a day’s time. It is a process and you need to set a few milestones to help you along the way.


Infants are used to being nurtured and fed ever since they were in their mother’s womb. Unresponsiveness, hunger and loneliness are some qualities that they associate with fear and hence do not like. When they get the proper attention and nurturing, they associate it with care, love and comfort.


This is the stage when your child starts to learn the basics of moral values. It is now that you should try to induce all the good qualities within them. A simple act of letting them know that they cannot have someone else’s toy because it does not belong to them in itself is a great teaching. But keep in mind that they are still quite small and may not always cooperate.


Children tend to learn more about family and relationship values at this age. They learn about being disciplined and following a few tacit rules. Your child also recognizes that their actions will have consequences and hence they must act accordingly. Do not be too critical of your children, instead, be positive towards them and explain them right from wrong.


This is the age when kids start to question everything, including the authority of their elders. Most parents act illogically and say that elders deserve respect merely because of their age and experiences. Do not do that. Explain to your children that they must treat everyone with respect and care. Help your children to understand values such as fairness and resilience.


These can be some of the most difficult years in a parent-child relationship. Your adolescents will question just about everything and anything that you throw their way, so make sure that you are ready with proper answers. This is the time when you can develop their interest in the well-being of the society and humankind in general. Be patient with them and try not to get too angry at their behaviour. But at the same time, make sure that you point out their mistakes in a subtle manner and convince them to accept gracefully.

Moral development is a much more complex phenomenon than what we know. Psychologists have formulated several theories upon it which you can read on the internet. There may be times when you will question whether you failed to highlight some morals during the upbringing of your children. In such cases, remember that you cannot have complete control, you are doing your best possible. Society and the external environment will also play a crucial role in the overall development of your children.

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