Parental Moral Socialization and Child Temperament in the Prediction of Child Antisocial Bahavior

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McKellar, Jessica L.
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Previous researchers studying children's moral development and parental moral socialization have documented the relation between parenting, children's internalization of parental values, and subsequent moral competence. Children's early moral competence has positive implications for children's psychosocial adjustment and prosocial behaviors. The present study examines the relationship between parent socialization of morality, child temperament, and child moral behavior. In the present study, parents and/or guardians of children between 3 and 8 years of age were asked to respond to questionnaires addressing child temperament, parent moral socialization practices, and child moral behavior. Results indicate that child temperament and parental moral socialization efforts differentially contribute to, and are of value in prediction of, children’s subsequent moral behaviors. Results also provide promising evidence for children’s internalization of moral values, or development of a ‘moral sense of self’, as children were found to demonstrate some aspects of moral affect and behavior, even in absence of parental input. These findings, along with possibilities for future research, and practical implications for teachers, educational policy makers, teacher education programs, and school psychologists are discussed.
Moral development, parental moral socialization, child antisocial behavior