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Morals and tweens

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Teaching Morals to tweens

Moral and ethical values are a challenge for parents. especially those who are in the Los Angeles area. Guidelines that help a preteen develop moral values need to be more like intervention, according to Stephanie Manes, New York licensed clinical social worker ( Tweens today need to develop “goodness, empathy, justice and care for others,” according to Manes. Children need to see the effect of their actions on someone else. Today, the me-centered society leaves tweens confused.

Teens experience many changes on the road toward becoming adults. They become more independent and make life decisions ( Harvard’s Graduate School of Education reports that 85% of parents want schools to teach values. Psychologist Jean Piaget put teens into the fourth stage of moral development, “responsibility to the system.” Most adolescents respect authority and the law, but there are some things parents need to instill, such as sexual relationships, drugs and alcohol.

Denise Witmer wrote an article called Teaching Positive Morals and Values ( Witmer says getting children to do the ‘right thing” is not so easy. Instead of enforcing “the rules,” we need to look at the big picture. Instead of worrying about whether your tween got an ‘A’ on his project, teach your child strong values so they can develop strong moral fiber. The end result will be children that are successful in relationships, contribute to society, take responsibility for their actions, will grow socially and emotionally, and are happier.

Michael Josephson writes about The Cowboy Code ( He is based in Los Angeles and offers many workshops. He talks about the days when television began, and a hero was symbolized by a white-hatted cowboy. There was, according to Josephson, no doubt of the hero’s moral code nor the difference between right and wrong. There is danger in blurring these differences into shades of gray. Josephson suggest the principles of Gene Autry:

  1. Don’t shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
  2. Don’t go back on your word or a trust confided in you.
  3. Tell the truth.
  4. Be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
  5. Don’t advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
  6. Help people in distress.
  7. Be a good worker.
  8. Keep yourself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
  9. Respect women, parents, and the law.
  10. Be patriotic.

Above all, be a good example. Instill good values in your children, and watch them grow into the kind of people you admire – responsible, empathetic, respectful, tolerant, understanding, and helpful!



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