When do children learn right from wrong?

Inspired by the recent arrests of two teens for bullying a girl until she committed suicide and remembering that I have read articles describing a shift in the brain at 8 years old that allows for moral judgement as well as different learning abilities (of course I can not find those now!), I stumbled across this article about moral development in children.


There’s lots of interesting things in here that present a very complicated picture of kids who do terrible things but who have not matured. What do you do with them? How do you hold them responsible? How do you get them to mature?  What do we do about a cycle of immature children having children?

I particularly thought this was interesting (forgive the 90s rhetoric):

Drug abuse delays development, Farrow says, because, “If kids are high all the time . . . they’re not very future oriented; they tend to stay concrete, and not see the consequences of their actions.”

Dropping out of school and hanging out with “deadheads going nowhere,” he says, means children don’t get any intellectual challenge. That means that, although their brains are ready to develop the capacity for critical thinking, they don’t get trained to do so.