Friday, August 12, 2011

Brain Rules for Baby: Moral Baby

According to research, kids are consciously lying by the age of three.  By 4 years old, they will about once every 2 hours.  By the age of 6, the frequency of lies will increase to once very 90 minutes. 

The stages of moral development
1.  First, kids are just trying to avoid punishment
2.  Then, they start to consider the social consequences of actions (peer acceptance)
3.  Finally, they begin to make decisions based on moral principles - parent will need to help guide kids to this 3rd stage

How to support the development of a conscience (or moral awareness)
1.  Provide clear, consistent rules and rewards that are realistic
     - The hard part: be warm and accepting when administering rules
     - Praise kids when they follow the rules (reinforcing positive behavior)
     - Praise the absence of a bad behavior
2.  Provide swift punishment, and be firm and consistent
     - The hard part: administer it in a warm atmosphere - what does that mean?  (My husband's suggestion is to not look at it as punishing, but as enforcing boundaries)
     - Punishment by application: Let them make mistakes and learn from them
     - Punishment by removal: giving a timeout
3.  Explain the rules: When punishing, make sure you explain why immediately so they understand why they are being punished - this helps kids internalize the morality you are teaching them

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