Young children's understanding of moral rules in aggressive situations : implications for early childhood education
Young children's moral reasoning about provoked and unprovoked aggressive situations was examined. Subjects included 20 four-year-old and 20 six-year-old boys with 10 aggressive and 10 nonaggressive boys in each age group. Interview questions were asked about short vignettes involving peers' aggressive behavior. Six-year-olds rated aggressive behavior as very bad regardless of the provocation. Four-year-old's judgments were less harsh, especially if the aggression was provoked. Implications include information that may help early childhood educators deal with provocations (e.g., teasing) and potentially reduce social rejection.