The Moral Intelligence of Children

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Random House, Jan 1, 1997 - Psychology - 218 pages
Robert Coles, one of America's leading authorities on young people, explores in this book a question crucial for many people today: How can you raise a child to be a good person whose moral character and strong values will steer and sustain him through life? This book distinguishes how moral intelligence is different from - but as important to success as - other kinds of human development, as significant as emotional or psychological growth, as IQ or intellectual development. Coles shows how children can be taught to become "smart" in this inner spiritual realm - to learn empathy, respect for themselves and others, and how to live the Golden Rule - through witnessing the conduct and caring of others and through moral conversations. Coles then embarks on an exploration of how values are born and shaped moment by moment, over what he calls "the moral archaeology of childhood". In infancy, Coles explains, there is a moral life that precedes language, and he considers the character of an infant, discussing such topics as Anna Freud's Yes and No, "the spoiled child", and how to stop a baby from becoming a bully. The elementary school years are the Age of Conscience, when a child's character is built and consolidated - or fails to be - and Coles explores such problems as the schoolgirl caught cheating and the smart boy who distracts others so as to detract from their success. Combining anecdotes with instruction, Coles goes on to discuss what to do during the teenage years - how to cope with alcohol, drugs, sex, and other moral dilemmas.

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User Review  - Kirkus

The prolific Coles, Harvard's noted social ethicist and author of the Pulitzer Prizewinning five-volume Children of Crisis, muddies the ethical waters conceptually in this rather loosely organized ... Read full review

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User Review  - texlexread - LibraryThing

This is a long listen - 8 1-hour cassettes. I made it through 7. The first one was promising because I actually stopped & rewound parts of it a few times. However, the rest of the tapes were quite ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Boston-born psychiatrist and author Robert Martin Coles devoted his professional life to the psychology of children. Coles has been associated with the Harvard University Medical School since 1960. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his five-volume series entitled Children in Crisis, Coles has contributed hundreds of articles to popular magazines, as well as writing over thirty books for adults and children. Other books include The Mind's Fate, Flannery O'Connor's South, and Walker Percy: An American Search.

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