Kids of Character: A Guide to Promoting Moral Development

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 - Psychology - 215 pages
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When psychologists Shumaker and Heckel wrote their earlier book on "Children Who Murder," it became clear to them that society--specifically a significant portion of its young members--is in crisis. Focused on this crisis, these authors found an everyday issue that makes life more challenging for parents who are trying to raise kids of good character. The issue is this: There are extensive differences now in the family, the school environment, the community and even religious institutions, compared to previous generations. For example, familes of today rarely have a coherent extended family. And by far in most regions, dual working parents are common, as are single parents and stepfamilies. Church activities, events and agents are not as evident in the community as they were in the past. Schools under increasing demand for testing and measurement take less time to devote to issues of character. Altogether, the changes are significant, and can leave parents searching for ways to instill character in their kids. Shumaker and Heckel spotlight these historical changes, and also ways parents today are succeeding in creating kids of character nonetheless.

When authors Shumaker and Heckel wrote their earlier book on "Children Who Murder," it became clear to them that society--specifically a significant portion of its young members--is in crisis. Focused on this crisis, these authors found an everyday issue that makes life more challenging for parents trying to raise kids of character. The challenge is this: there are extensive differences now in the family, the school environment, the community and even religious institutions, compared to previous generations. For example, families of today rarely have a coherent extended family. Dual working parents are common. Church activities, events and agents are not nearly as evident in the community as they were in the past. And schools, under increasing demand for testing and measurement, devote far less time to issues of character than they did in the past. Altogether, the changes are significant and can leave parents at a loss for how to best develop character intheir kids. Shumaker and Heckel show us how some parents are creatively handling this challenge.

The authors do not argue that most American kids are out of hand, cruel, or immoral. They are neither cynics nor prophets of doom. What they do see is a disappearance of supports for parents, making the adults'job more demanding. Yet they pinpoint ways some parents are succeeding in this new millennium. This book begins by explaining the basics of moral development in children reviewing recent research findings. If offers parents, teachers, professors, administrators, clergy, and legislators helpful tools to promote character.

 

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Contents

Chapter 1
1
Chapter 2
33
Chapter 3
63
Chapter 4
81
Chapter 5
113
Chapter 6
143
Chapter 7
163
Chapter 8
191
References
203
Index
213
About the Authors
217
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

David M. Shumaker is an Instructor at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry, Children and the Law Program. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Suffolk University, and has been a Lecturer at Harvard University Medical School. Dr. Shumaker maintains an active private practice on Boston's South Shore. He has worked in settings including a juvenile detention facility, a jail, a juvenile court clinic, a large alternative school, and a community-based mental health center, as well as a university-based clinic. Shumaker co-authored Children Who Murder: A Psychological Perspective (Praeger, 2001).

Robert V. Heckel is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Psychology at the University of South Carolina. Across nearly 50 years, he worked as Director of the Social Problems Research Institute and Professor at Furman University and the University of South Carolina, as Director of Graduate Training in Clinical Psychology, in private practice, a community clinic, a medical school and a veterans hospital. He has published 29 books and monographs and more than 200 papers. Dr. Heckel co-authored Children Who Murder: A Psychological Perspective (Praeger, 2001).

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