How does each of these theories pertain to the average child, and can these theories work together? First let us explore three very different theories, the first being Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. Moral development is a major topic of interest in both psychology and education. One of the best known theories was developed by psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg who modified and expanded upon Jean Piaget's work to form a theory that explained the development of moral reasoning. Kohlberg extended Piaget's theory, proposing that moral development is a continual process that occurs throughout the lifep.
Piaget described a two-stage process of moral development, while Kohlberg's theory of moral development outlined six stages within three different levels, which are outlined below:
Level 1. Preconventional Morality
Stage 1 – Obedience and Punishment - at this stage children see rules as fixed and absolute, they view rules as being important because they avoid punishment
Stage 2 – Individualism and Exchange – at this stage children account for individual points of view and judge actions based on how they serve individual needs
Level 2. Conventional Morality
Stage 3 – Interpersonal Relationships – at this stage the focus is on living up to social expectations and roles.
Stage 4 – Maintaining Social Order – at this stage the focus is on following rules and respecting authority
Level 3. Postconventional Morality
Stage 5 – Social Contract and Individual Rights – at this stage people begin to account for different values, opinions and beliefs or other people.
Stage6 – Universal Principles – at this stage people are supposed to uphold the universal ethical principles and abstract reasoning (http://psychology. about. com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/kohlberg. htm)
Jean Piaget's stages of cognitive development describe the intellectual development of children from infancy to early adulthood. Piaget believed that children are not less intelligent than adults, they simply think differently. He also proposed a number of concepts to explain how children process information.
The three concepts to support Piaget’s theory are:
Schemas – Are categories of knowledge that help us interpret and understand the world
Assimilation – The process of taking in new information into our previously existing schema’s
Accommodation – Another part of adaptation involves changing or altering our existing schema’s in light of new information
There are also four different stages to Piaget’s theory, which are:
The Sensormotor Stage – This stage last from birth to two years of age and is centered on the infant trying to make sense of the world
The Preoperational Stage – This stage occurs between ages two to six, and is centered on language development
The Concrete Operational Stage – This stage occurs between the ages seven to eleven, and is centered on thinking logically about concrete events, but have difficulty understanding abstract or hypothetical concepts
The Formal Operational Stage – This stage occurs between the ages twelve and last through adulthood, during this time people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts (http://psychology. about. com/b/2008/04/21/key-concepts-in-cognitive-development. htm)
Now let’s explore a second theory, Freud’s theory. According to Sigmund Freud, personality is mostly established by the age of five.
Early experiences play a large role in personality development and continue to influence behavior later in life. Freud's theory of psychosexual development is one of the best known, but also one of the most controversial. Freud believed that personality develops through a series of childhood stages during which the pleasure-seeking energies of the id become focused on certain erogenous areas. This psychosexual energy, or libido, was described as the driving force behind behavior. If these psychosexual stages are completed successfully, the result is a healthy personality. If certain issues are not resolved at the appropriate stage, fixation can occur.
A fixation is a persistent focus on an earlier psychosexual stage. Until this conflict is resolved, the individual will remain "stuck" in this stage. Freud’s theory consists of five different stages, which are:
The Oral Stage – This stage occurs from birth to one year, the infant’s primary source of interaction is through oral simulation through tasting and sucking. Because an infant it is entirely dependent upon caregivers, the infant develops a sense of trust and comfort through oral simulation
The Anal Stage – This stage occurs from one to three years of age, which is basically training the child to control his/her, bodily needs, toilet training to be specific.
The Phallic Stage – This stage occurs from three to six years of age, at this stage children begin to discover the difference between males and females.
The Latent Period – This stage occurs from six to puberty, at this stage the libido interest is suppressed, and the development of the ego and superego contribute to the calm of this stage. This is the time of exploration but is directed more towards intellectual and social interaction.
The Genital Stage – This stage occurs between puberty and death, this is when an adolescent develops a strong interest in the opposite sex (http://psychology. about. com/od/theoriesofpersonality/ss/psychosexualdev. tm)
All of these theories have their way in the world, and when speaking to parents about their children I am sure that they can apply each of these in some shape or form. For example the Kohlberg theory, moral development: Suppose there is a child who has no rules or boundaries. There is one in particular that comes to mind. This child is born, the father is absent, the mother doing it alone, she has issues with alcohol and drugs, so therefore the child gets very little personal attention, or guidance, she is free to do as she wishes. Because of this from birth to adolescence beginning with conventional morality, she does not have rules so, does the Kohlberg theory apply? I would venture to say no, because the ideal of these rules and boundaries being put it to place are not there, and do not happen.