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6 Stages of Moral Reasoning

1 of 6

1. Preconventional Morality: Punishment-Avoidance and Obedience

Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg outlined the stages of moral development.

The punishment-avoidance/obedience stage is the stage that preschool children, most elementary school kids, some junior highers and a few high schoolers are in.

During this stage, a child bases his decisions on his own self-interest. He follows rules in order to avoid punishment and ensures that his own needs are met before helping others.