How to nurture your child’s natural morality
Is morality nature or nurture? Are we born knowing the difference between good and evil? More importantly, can we recognize these traits in others as infants? Scientists now believe that infants are born with a moral compass.
In the past, experts have believed that parents need to install morals in our children. We teach them how to treat other people and animals. We teach them the difference between good and evil.
As it turns out, new research is surfacing that suggests that babies are not born as blank canvases. They are actually innately empathetic and compassionate. This research suggests that they can actually distinguish good from evil as early as three months of age!¹
From my experience, I believe this to be true. My toddler was only six months old when I began to observe her getting agitated if someone around her was upset. Especially if another baby was crying. Even now, if another child is crying, she will stop what she is doing to make sure they are alright.
Yale psychologist Paul Bloom has written a book called “Just Babies”. In this book, he explores if we are born with the ability to determine when someone else is hurting and display empathy. He states that babies show signs of compassion at a very early stage in life. During his studies, he has witnessed infants comforting others once their coordinated movement skills were developed. They would do this by stroking or patting the person who was upset.¹
Dr.Bloom found that babies reacted negatively to characters that displayed unkind behavior towards others. The nice characters were favored in opposition.
I watched a Canadian documentary program called “The Nature of Things” a few years ago that explored this topic. They showed a study that was conducted on morals in babies and the results were eye-opening!
In this study, six-month-old babies watched a play with two stuffed bunnies. One in a blue shirt and the other in a green shirt. They were rolling a ball back and forth. The bunny in the blue shirt rolled the ball back to the bunny in the green shirt. The bunny in the green shirt ran away with the ball, while the bunny in the blue shirt…