Like many of his other theories, Piaget developed his theory on children's moral judgment from his multiple observations of children's games and his professional interviews with them on the subject. It was with this foundation that he concluded that children's moral reasoning changes with age from just simply accepting rules as a respect for authority to understanding and accepting them as a product of social interaction and opening them up a bit more to their own personal interpretation. He again categorizes their moral development into categories: morality of constraint, transition period, and autonomous morality.

of Constraint

(0- 7 years old)

(7- 10 years old)

(11 years old- present)
Children believe rules are set in stone and accept their authority considering it final. At this point they judge morality- right and wrong, good and bad- by the consequences that come from their actions and do not truly consider the concept of analyzing motive.
As children are enabled to see things through different perspectives with the increase in peer interaction, they come to understand that rules can be created by a group, eventually leading them to the revolutionary concept that they too can judge for themselves what is and is not moral.
The concept of moral relativism is brought forth. They understand rules can be changed by mutual agreement within a group, they take into consideration the concept of equality and fairness for people when setting rules, and they analyze the motive behind the actions of people and judge them accordingly.

Piaget's theory was criticized by others for his emphasis that children respected adults authority without much question while children have been known to ignore their views in some situations and consider intentions, especially when hurt by others. As well as previous criticism that he underestimated children's ability.

*All information on this page was derived from source number 2 found on reference page.*

For more information on Piaget's Moral Development theory consider these sites: