Prosocial and Moral Development in the Family

  • Nancy Eisenberg
Part of the Issues in Children’s and Families’ Lives book series (IICL, volume 5)

Abstract

People are not born moral or immoral. Normal children have the capacity to develop empathy and positive behaviors such as helping and sharing, as well negative behaviors such as stealing and aggression. But how do children become moral individuals? Evidence suggests that heredity plays some role in the development of moral behavior in children. Researchers have found that identical twins are more similar to one another in their empathy and prosocial behavior than are fraternal twins (see review in Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998). It is likely that aspects of children’s temperament that are heritable (e.g., their tendencies to experience emotions such as sadness and anger and their ability to regulate their emotions and related behavior) provide an avenue through which genetics affect children’s moral behavior. In addition, children’s temperaments affect how their parents interact with and attempt to socialize them. Thus, it is likely that children’s genetic inheritances affect their moral development in multiple ways. Nonetheless, it appears that socialization within the family is an important contributor to children’s moral development.

Keywords

Moral Judgment Prosocial Behavior Moral Reasoning Moral Development Physical Punishment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Eisenberg, N. (1992). The caring child. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Eisenberg, N. (2000). Emotion, regulation, and moral development. In S. T. Fiske, D. L. Schacter, & C. Zahn-Waxier (Eds.), Annual review of psychology: Vol. 51 (pp. 665–697 ). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews.Google Scholar
  3. Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. A. (1998). Prosocial development. In W. Damon (Series Ed.) & N. Eisenberg (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development (5th ed., pp. 701–778 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Eisenberg, N., & Valiente, C. (2002). Children’s prosocial and moral development. In M. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Vol. 5 ( 2nd ed, pp. 111–142 ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  5. Fabes, R. A., Fultz, J., Eisenberg, N., May-Plumlee, T., & Christopher, E S. (1989). The effects of reward on children’s prosocial motivation: A socialization study. Developmental Psychology, 25, 509–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hoffman, M. L. (2000). Empathy and moral development: Implications for caring and justice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kochanska, G., & Thompson, R.A. (1997). The emergence and development of conscience in toddlerhood and early childhood. In J. Grusec & L. Kuczynski (Eds.),Handbookof parenting and the internalization of values: A handbook of contemporary theory (pp. 53–77 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Kohlberg, L. (1984). Essays on moral development: Vol. II. The psychology of moral development. San Francisco, Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  9. Oliner, S. P., & Oliner, P. M. (1988). The altruistic personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  10. Rosenhan, D. L. (1970). The natural socialization of altruistic autonomy. In J. Macaulay & L. Berkowitz (Eds.), Altruism and helping behavior (pp. 251–268 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  11. Schulman, M., & Mekler, E. (1985). Bringing up a moral child. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.Google Scholar
  12. Walker, L. J., & Hennig, K. H. (1999). Parenting style and the development of moral reasoning. Journal of Moral Education, 28, 359–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Eisenberg

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations