Effect of parenting style and child temperament on moral reasoning in preschool children

Ally Monheim, The College of Wooster


The effect of parenting style and child temperament on the development of moral reasoning in preschool children was measured. There were a total of 28 participants in the study, 14 children all who attend the College of Wooster Nursery School and 14 primary caregivers. Each primary caregiver completed the Parental Authority Questionnaire (Buri, 1991) to assess parenting style, and also Thomas, Chess, and Birch's (1970) child temperament scale. To measure the level of moral reasoning in the child, each child was asked a series of questions pertaining to a Tell-Me-A-Story stimulus card that had a morally "right" or "wrong" answer. The results did not yield any statistically significant results. However, authoritative parenting when correlated with moral reasoning, approached significance, which suggests that authoritative parenting maybe associated with an increase in moral reasoning in the child. Similarly approaching significance, permissive parenting maybe related to lower levels of moral reasoning. A marginally significant difference was found between children with an easy or difficult temperament, suggesting that a child with an easy temperament may have increased levels of moral reasoning compared to a difficult child.