ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Help Your Five-Year-Old Establish a Strong Moral Foundation

Updated on March 12, 2011

By the age of five years, many children are able to begin to imagine themselves in the place of someone who is upset, and they feel bad for that person. This is the beginning of the development of empathetic thinking. Consistent with most other behaviors, how parents treat their children sets the stage for how their children are expected to treat others. If children see their parents treat others with kindness, caring, and con­cern, they learn to model these behaviors.

Providing children with a stable set of rules, along with clear consequences for breaking those rules, also helps foster moral development. At all ages, children respond best to spe­cific, clearly defined rules and limits that are accompanied by an explanation of the reason behind them. For example, telling a five year old that she cannot watch a particular television show that many of her friends watch will have more impact if an explanation of your concerns about the content of the show is provided. This may not prevent her from continuing to nag about watching the show, but it will help her to understand that your rule is not based on the particular mood you're in that day!

Although children at this age are not completely able to put themselves in another child's shoes, using recent memories and their imagination can help them to see how another child might feel. When your child tells you a story of a child at school calling another child names, use this situation to have your child "imagine" how each of those children might have felt.

Setting a positive example for your child can mean behav­ing in a particular way as well as discussing with (or, at least, in front of) her your own moral decisions and the reasons behind them. Pointing out moral behaviors in others is another way of providing positive examples to your child.

Establishing a strong moral foundation for your child helps her to deal with the confrontations she may encounter on the playground, in school, and at home. When a child has a good value system, she is better able to handle negative situ­ations with others. In addition, early moral development gives children the strength to resist more powerful concerns, such as drugs, cheating, or stealing.

As parents, it is important to remember that you are talking to a five year old. Children this age are not able to attend to long, windy lectures about right and wrong. They forget easily. The discussion you had last night may be completely forgotten by the next day (or even the next hour). Keep your message clear, and let your child be an active participant in discussions of moral issues. Remember that many five year olds make a decision based on what benefits them the most. It is not until later years that children begin to express concern about what others will think of them and only in late adoles­cence and adulthood that there is an internalized sense of right and wrong.

Finally, it is important to monitor outside influences, such as television and peers. Television bombards children with the message that violent behavior, as well as alcohol and drug use, are acceptable behaviors. It is important to monitor the amount of television your child watches, as well as the type of program. Although peers are not as significant an influence at age five as they are in later years, they have a strong impact on what children view as right and wrong. Monitor your child's friend­ships, and if you have concerns, provide closer supervision and structure during playtime. Sometimes it is also possible to gently encourage friendships with children you feel may be a better influence on your child.


Submit a Comment

  • swedal profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Colorado

    Yeah TV can just suck the time out of a day, we have been cutting down on it also. Good move!

  • JLClose profile image


    7 years ago from OreGONE

    Another helpful hub. I am seriously considering getting rid of our cable all together, because my four year old (almost five) just wants to watch TV constantly. Of course, I don't let her, but I get tired of the constant battle.

    I agree that it is very important to teach our children to think of others.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)