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Children’s Moral Development

Moral development is the process by which children come to understand concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, and they reason and behave according to this understanding. The sequence and quality of moral development is a point of contention in the literature. This entry reviews the prominent theories of the development of moral reasoning and then addresses newer research that brings to light weaknesses in earlier theories of moral reasoning, including research directed at infants’ moral development. This entry then highlights how others (e.g., peers, family members) can influence moral development in different ways. Finally, the emotional and motivational factors that intersect with gender and children’s moral development are discussed. Throughout this entry, findings on the role of gender in children’s moral ...

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