How Do Children Develop Moral Compass?

Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by Lori Pace

The number of things we have to teach our children can seem overwhelming. We must teach our children how to walk, how to use a fork and how to learn in school. They need our support when they learn to read and do complex math problems. The learning never ends. Motherhood is all about taking care of our children. This means making sure they have the tools they need to succeed in this world. But among all of that, the child needs to be equipped with his/her own moral compass in life.

In a nutshell, children need to be taught the difference between right or wrong. But how much of this is taught and how much is learned naturally? Child development is complex. It is constantly evolving. Mom can only rely on the most current information to ensure her children develop as she should.

What Exactly is a Moral Compass?

According to the dictionary, moral compass is a person’s ability or inability to decide what is right or wrong and then act accordingly. It can also be defined as a set or values that guide our decisions, influence our actions and define us as individuals.

A moral compass, in essence, is exactly what its name implies. It guides us in the right direction. Even though we all have our own definitions of right or wrong, the moral compass serves as an objective guide. It helps us to see the right and wrong. It helps us to see the bigger picture, even though it might not be for our benefit.

It’s easy to do what feels right and wrong without a moral compass. It’s easy to ignore the truth when it benefits us, or to do things without considering the consequences for ourselves and others. We become greedy, selfish monsters that only care about ourselves and our wants.

What Influences a Person’s Moral Compass?

Influences Moral Compass
What can influence your morality?

All people have an instinctive sense of right and wrong. These instincts can change as we age, or they may become twisted or corrupted. See, one’s moral compass can be affected by their childhood experiences and the environment in which they were raised.

Our parents are the ones who tell us what to do as young children. We learn from them and look up to their behavior. This helps us to understand what is right and what is wrong. This concept is only strengthened by the desire to please our parents, and those we look up too.

You see, if you ask children to lie, they will likely tell you that they won’t because it’s wrong. You can see their fear of disappointing parents from this. Because they are afraid of their parents getting angry, they won’t tell lies. They are aware that their actions have consequences. This is how one forms their moral compass.

The lessons we learn from our past experiences can strengthen or weaken our childhood values as we age. Changes are inevitable as we adapt to our environment. We stop being the person our parents raised. Instead, we create our own identity with unique moral principles and beliefs. These moral values determine our moral compass.

How to Use Your Moral Compass

1. Gather Information

Do not rely on your knowledge to make a decision. As much information as possible is important. This will allow you to see the situation from multiple angles and predict possible outcomes.

These bits of information could be from previous experiences and the lessons learned. These pieces can also come from the opinions of others or the moral standards established by society. It is also important to examine your values and understand what you need to do.

2. Evaluate Your Information

Once you have all the information you need, it is time to assess those pieces. You can then formulate a response that not only fits your values, but also does not harm others.

3. Decide and Act

Once you have made a decision, take action. You should be firm, but also remember to show empathy. Your actions will impact not only you, but also others. So consider your decision carefully. Every decision has risks. It is impossible to predict what might happen once you have made a decision. If you are able to follow your moral compass, and stick up for what is right then it is enough.

When Should Children Start Showing Morality?

Parents might be curious about when their children will develop a moral compass. Grace Point Wellness says that this happens most often at a young age, with the average age being between 2 and 5 years. Children will begin to exhibit moral beliefs and behaviors when they reach this age. This could be illustrated by a child who sees another child with a toy and takes it, making the boy upset and crying. They will then act according to their morals. You may see them returning the toy to “correct” their moral compass. Make sure that you know all the tips to raise your children even when you are the single parent.

Best Way To Teach Morality

Way To Teach Morality
How can you teach your child about the moral compass?

Parents may be wondering how they can encourage their children to develop a moral compass. Dr. Sears says that the best way to teach children is the “golden rule,” which is to treat others as we would like to be treated. Although this saying is old, it still holds true and can be used to help children see things in a new way. We need to ask children how they would feel if their sibling was being mean to them. You can expect them to say that they don’t feel well. This is how you encourage them to think about other people and their feelings.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!