Moral Development in Relation to Adolescents

An examination of factors that affect the moral development of adolescents, written from a Christian caregiver’s perspective.

This paper looks into the minds of adolescents and identifies the stimuli one faces in the process of moral development. As parents, mentors, and teachers attempt to instill beneficial, moral values (preferably Christian morals) in adolescents, what must be considered? What can be assumed about the development of these values in the future generation? This paper answers these questions in order to inform both young and old of the development of morals in adolescents.
The moral issue is one that is not entirely black and white. There have been many differing opinions throughout history that have contributed to the confusion of where to find one’s moral standard (if one is found at all). Joseph Fletcher, in his book Situational Ethics, outlines three different avenues to making moral decisions. They are: (1) the legalistic; (2) the antinomian, the opposite extreme – i.e., a lawless and unprincipled approach; and (3) the situational? (Fletcher, 17). These three avenues have reproduced themselves throughout history, and all three are still apparent in today’s society. Legalism is the most common, with situational in a close second. Yet society, as a whole, seems to be leaning heavily toward the situational approach. Yet, this poses a problem for the evangelical community, who hold to the authority of God, and the foundational beliefs in absolutes (17-18).”