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Development of moral reasoning and self-control from birth through adolescence

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Stage 2: Personal Reward Orientation Personal reward orientation stage or also known as the instrumental stage determines right or wrong through deeds and not punishment. People at this stage believe in the lines of “scratch my back I scratch yours. ” People at this stage value others in terms of utility and their actions that satisfy their needs will determine a wrong or a right. Justice at this stage is two way, you do me I do you or simply “do unto others what shall be done unto you. ” Individuals at this stage only do what is necessary to satisfy their own desires.

Level Two Stage 3: Interpersonal Conformity This level involves an individual trying to be significant to others and to accept the rules of one’s group. Societal laws and the expectations of the society are key considerations at this stage while trying to solve a moral dilemma because an individual wants to be good to his or her people. This level affects individuals’ up to middle age and has two stages namely interpersonal conformity also known as good boy good girl orientation and the law and order conformity.

The first stage an individual tries to conform to the stereotype behaviors of his peers and group members and good behavior is that which helps people within the group or the group approves. Individuals act in a way to please authority figures and people of a higher caliber than they do. Forgiveness at this stage is the most preferable to revenge and failure to punish is unfair because it will motivate the other individuals also to mess with impunity. Individuals at this stage try to obey their peers and show respect to their group leaders.

An individual earns approval by being nice and such titles as good boy or good girl are common too refer to those whose behavior is acceptable. An individual tries to be nice to others to be seen as good. This statement however has seen Kohlberg receive criticism because of its bias against women (Eysenck, 2004) Stage 4: Law and Order Conformity The second stage of this level individuals look unto the whole society for guidelines and rules pertaining what is right or wrong.

Anything that is punishable by the society, whether right or wrong is generally wrong to individuals at this stage. Individuals at this stage view the societal rules and regulations as very inflexible and they do not recognize that as the society’s needs grow the rules should change as well. Justice is when a person who has done the society wrong receives some punishment. Laws are the pivotal point at this stage and therefore members try to be good to others while at the same time obeying the laws.

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