Stages of Moral Behavior

Stages of Moral Behavior

There have been recent revelations that a political hopeful aiming the New York Mayoral seat, Antony Weiner was alleged to have been involved in a sex scandal regardless of his powerful position in the United States political arena. The public figure in question is said to have sent a nude picture to a young woman with whom he had an affair with. Even though no evidence for real sexual escapades between Weiner and the woman was captured, it is disrespectful for such a public figure in spite of his being married. The lewd pictures were accompanied with seductive messages which made it evident that Weiner’s publicity was deeply in question. Because of his infidelity his chief campaigner resigned after realizing that his effort of winning the mayoral seat was blotched by negative publicity. There has been a close linkage between his behavior and his namesake, Weiner who was also a congressman but resigned two years ago after being hit by a political sex scandal just like that of Antony Weiner. His behavior can be blamed on socialization as well as the moral curve illustrated by Kohlberg’s stages of moral development (Woolfolk, 2012).

The theory instigated by Lawrence Kohlberg draws a lot from the Piaget’s philosophies which emphasizes that the collective environment with which a child interacts with as they grow up at one point or the other impacts their moral behavior. According to Kohlberg, (2011) morality is shaped in three levels with each having two stages. The first level being pre-conventional, second being conventional and lastly the post-conventional level. Critically analysis the first level in connection to the Antony Weiner, who is a public figure, there is an illustration that at this level a child makes moral decisions in relation to the possibility of being punished or rewarded. In spite of these realities a child will still make the choice that gives him or her much satisfaction. For instance, Weiner’s childhood must have been deprived of rewards or he might have had disciplinarian parents who made him live a fearful life thus as an adult, he can do anything within his potential to get the satisfaction that he desires. This is because the first stage supports that such children are identified with their avoidance of punishment. Disciplinarian parents have a liking for punishing children hence they are conditioned to avoid punishments at all cost. The second stage further supports that such people become aware of their own personal needs at a later stage of development which makes them rebellious to the law as a way of satisfying their own interests.

The conventional level is applicable in the political sex scandal involving Antony Weiner because of the fact that this morality level teaches children on the need to conform to the expectations of the other people as defined by social order. In the level, there is the third stage which defines mannerisms for a good girl and a bad girl. By virtue of being a public figure, Weiner the society demands that Weiner has to live to the expectation of the moral standards stipulated for leaders. Apparently he was not taught on the lesson of being a good boy who lives up to the expectations of the whole community. The fourth stage regarding law and order, Weiner must have been a disrespectful young man or being that he had a disciplinarian father means that he developed a rebellious character and a liking for social anarchy as he grew up (Parke, Gauvain & Schmuckler, 2010). The third level encapsulates the fifth and sixth stages known as a social contract and universal ethical respectively. These stages regard societal consensus and individual rights. This means that despite having disciplinarian parents, the society in which Weiner was brought up disregarded social order because Weiner lacked contractual obligation to behave morally and secondly his actions were unethical which might be one reason why he lost the elections despite having a good childhood record of honesty, fidelity and good mannerisms.




Kohlberg, L. (2011). “From ‘is’ to ‘ought’: How to commit the naturalistic fallacy and get away with it in the study of moral development”. In Theodore Mischel (Ed.) Cognitive development and epistemology. New York: Academic Press. pp. 151–284

Parke, R. D., Gauvain, M. & Schmuckler, M. A. (2010). Child psychology : A contemporary viewpoint (3rd Ed.). Whidbey, ON: McGraw-Hill Ryerson

Woolfolk, A. (2012). Educational Psychology. New York: Prentice Hall.