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The Moral Intelligence of Children Paperback – 5 Mar 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (5 Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747538425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747538424
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,530,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Robert Coles has written for many years of the personal aspects of childhood and the emotional and social development of children. In The Moral Intelligence of Children he goes deeper into the psychological foundation of the early morality he discussed in 1991's The Moral Life of Children. A child's moral archaeology, he tells us, is founded in infancy on the subtlest clues picked up from adults; he or she will absorb the parents' moral attitudes, moving toward his or her own adult morality, but these attitudes may not be exactly what the parents themselves think. This is ultimately a fascinating look at the difference between being a "good person" and being a "not-so-good person", and at how many layers exist between the blank slate of infancy and a real moral identity.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
case studies make for a more tangible message 8 Aug. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I found the authors case studies very useful and amusing. They made the subjest matter easier to grasp and understand in a way that I could relate it to my own experiences. The whole issue is a facinating and pertinant one in this day and age
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Passing on Moral Values to the Next Generation 25 Feb. 2011
By Daniel L. Berek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind." So said Henry James in response to his nephew when he sought advice on what he ought to do with his life. Robert Coles, known for his extraordinarily insightful thought-provoking and profoundly sensitive five-volume work, Children in Crisis, delves into what it means to be moral and goes further to examine how children - even very young children - acquire moral values, that is learning empathy and living by the Golden Rule, not to do unto others what one would not want done unto himself.

In the first part, "Moral Intelligence," Dr. Coles examines what it means to be a good person or a not-so-good person. He discusses moral intelligence, that is, how children learn empathy and respect for others and themselves. He shows how this moral intelligence is as important, if not more important, other forms of human success and intellectual achievement.

In the second part, "The Moral Archaeology of Childhood," Dr. Coles explores how children acquire empathy and other critical moral values at various stages of childhood. Drawing upon the work of Anna Freud, the infant and toddler quickly learns by the limits of "Yes" and "No." He also discusses the problems of the spoiled child and how to prevent a baby from growing up to be a bully. Dr. Coles refers to the elementary school years as the "Age of Conscience," the period when a child's verbal skills enables him to take in what he sees, hears, and reads and try to make sense of everything. In his section on adolescence, Dr. Coles explores how teens try to cope with decisions and how to understand life and new responsibilities, including coping with alcohol, drugs, sex, and other moral questions. It is during these latter two stages of development that adults play a major role in the moral development of the child by leading through example and espousing positive and meaningful values themselves.

The role of adults - parents, teachers, caretakers, and doctors - is more fully explored in the third section of the book, "Letter to Teachers and Parents." Case studies of young people in the first two decades of their life provide important illustrations on the conscious and subconscious messages adults and society send to the next generation, with considerable introspection as to how parents and teachers in particular can best help children cultivate kindness and empathy by relating to them at their level and sending positive messages not through books and lectures, but actions.

Like Fred Rogers, Maria Montessori, Jonathan Kozol, and Janusz Korczak, Robert Coles knows how to relate to children on their level, as full human beings at an early stage of development rather than as miniature adults or "people in training." Such people are rare; anyone who cares about children would do well reading the works of these special pedagogues. The Moral Intelligence of Children is a valuable contribution to this important genre.
Children deal with moral issues from a very early age 24 Mar. 2014
By Steve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting stories from a child psychiatrist who understands that children have medical, psychological and moral issues to deal with as they grow. There is no one formula to raising a moral child but the author defines how parents & teachers can build the moral foundation.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Don't expect to see any real solution in this book. 10 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I bought the book, expecting to know the solution on how to raise my kids so that they become good members of the society. But what I got was just a guideline that I should teach my children well during their early years. It's all too simple to hear from such an expert. There is nothing new on how to raise a moral child compared with what I can get from a good how-to-raise-a-child book. The quality of contents in this book is no way near Emotional Intelligence
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Title is misleading and the writing is obtuse 24 Oct. 2003
By Jason M. Trew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The description of the book made me believe that I would learn more about how children develop morals. The greatest revelation of the psychiatrist author is that character is the foundation of behavior. There are few novel thoughts stuck somewhere in the lengthy descriptions of his meetings. I felt at times he focused too much on creating a mood or setting that is best left to fiction.
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