Moral development is a tricky thing, sometimes kids seem really empathetic and want to help others, and sometimes they are so selfish you wonder if they are human. Most moral and ethical decisions are based on a person’s conscience, which grows and develops over time. For some people, it doesn’t really develop until adulthood, and their brain is fully functional. For others, it is deeply influenced by life’s circumstances. I do not know exactly how it changes, but I do know that caregivers do not have complete control over it.

Do not give up hope that a child can eventually make ethical and moral choices, while at the same time, be practical in where they are at now. What motivates them to make choices now? What helps them make a decision? See the graphic below, which describes my version of the progression of moral development.

***not based on research, just my observation of human behavior