Submitted by Old Onions Bag
Is it learned from our situations?
Why do we see so many young people involved in crime nowadays? Only today [13/07/2012] for instance, front page in one of our daily’s, is a young person being held for an alleged crime. Some people are quick to highlight the break downs in society…. “Why certain”Highs” in society are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, but go unpunished. Why must some be able to avoid punishment for crimes while others are remanded? Are we unknowingly setting bad precedence for our youth to follow, only to reprimand them harshly, when they follow in some of our ways and clone on becoming adults?
The Alexandra fiasco has taken it to another level, that of the class room of some of our young infectious minds. We must be aware, the Nation’s next crop is watching. The outcome will subtly determine the psychological mindset of a next generation. So says noted German psychologist Dr. Kohlberg…his theory is that a child’s morals are set by prevailing conditions from as early as in the womb…and continues through teen years , via a set of stages,up until adulthood ..contemplate some his views.
Stage 1: A person (usually a child) at a preconventional level is not motivated by social conventions, even though he may be aware of them. The primary motive is his own situation — whether a specific course of action is going to cause pain or pleasure. He may be aware, for example, that society does not approve of theft, but he may interpret a particular theft as “good” for himself. Negative reinforcers (punishments) help the child choose acceptable behaviour until he becomes aware of better reasons for being good. Parental commands often define good and bad, and might makes right.
A child at stage 2 is motivated more by reward than by punishment. She may behave well because it serves her own interests. She may share her toys with Sally because then Sally will share her toys in return. Other people are evaluated by what she can get out of them. Fairness means equal treatment. The child gets upset if adults get more ice cream or get to stay up later than she does.
As children grow, they learn that it is in their self-interest to conform to society. They transition into stage 3 thinking: “I’ll have more pleasure and less pain if I act like other people do, if I help other people, if I do things that they like.” Teenagers are usually in this stage11 — they are strongly influenced by peer pressure. They spend more time with their peers and seek the approval of that group.12
As people grow older, their circle of social interactions continues to grow. They interact with people they work with, people who live in the neighbourhood, people who have children the same age as theirs, people in the same church, people in similar business situations, people with similar hobbies, sports, entertainment, etc. They see themselves as members of society, and the pressure for conformity moves from peer expectations to the broader expectations of society, defined in modern societies by laws. Laws provide a basis for getting along with people we do not know and even those we do not like. Right and wrong are defined by the law, and stage 4 people work to do their duty, to respect authority, to maintain the social order.
If Kohlberg’s theory is correct, all does not look too rosy for our future generation…..accountability for their behaviour rests with us. We sow, they will reap.