Stop fighting! There's enough for both of you: an observational study of parents' socialization of moral orientation during sibling conflicts

Broersma Brouwer, Betty J.
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University of Guelph

This study, a two year follow up to the study by Lollis, Ross, Leroux (1996), further investigates Gilligan's (1982, 1987) hypothesis regarding the origin of moral orientation by observing 39 dual-parent families with 2 children, aged 4 and 6 years. Two issues were of particular interest: sex differences in the moral orientation of the parents, and sex differences in the socialization of moral orientation of the children. Data consisted of transcripts of family interaction during sibling property conflict. Parental intervention were coded for Care and Justice orientations using the coding scheme designed by Lollis et al. (1996). Parents used both Care and Justice orientations when intervening in their children's property conflicts. Overall males received more interventions than females Fathers used Justice more than Care, and particularly to the older male-younger male sibling dyad. Mothers intervened more when fathers were absent and overall used more Care than Justice interventions. Hence there is partial support for Gilligan's hypothesis; socialization of moral orientation appears to be occurring along gender lines; fathers use of Justice towards males and overall use of Care by mothers.

Moral orientation, Sex differences, Parents, Children, Sibling conflict