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Dissertation

How to raise good children: Encouraging moral growth

22 July 1988

Abstract

This project described a childrearing philosophy as well as parenting techniques extracted from developmental theory and research in the area of moral development. It was targeted toward the Christian lay audience, rather than the professional, as a response to the overcoercive flavor that has permeated past Christian childrearing manuals. Child developmental groundwork was laid mainly by the theories of Erikson, Piaget and Kohlberg; intervention techniques were developed from research in the area of learning prosocial behavior. Special emphasis was placed on using less coercive techniques such as reasoning, moral exhortation, and attribution of prosocial characteristics; as well as explaining the important role of modeling and its impact on children's social learning. ,The book integrated its message into Christian philosophy by emphasizing the importance of teaching children to love, or to care about one's fellow human beings; which is consistent with the higher stages of Kohlberg's moral hierarchy, and also with the underpinnings of interventions from the prosocial behavior perspective. There was also some discussion of fearful motivations parents may have as they choose their styles of discipline; these were addressed by giving instruction in disputing some of the typical irrational beliefs worried parents may have. Exercises were provided at the end of some chapters for the purpose of facilitating learning.


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