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Consider what child development theories say about children at different ages. What...

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gwan | Honors

Posted July 8, 2013 at 2:12 AM via web

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Consider what child development theories say about children at different ages. What recommendation might be made about children who commit terrible crimes, like the examples below, and should such children be treated as adults; at what age?

 

One of the challenges faced by society is how to deal with children (legally defined as those under the age of 18) who commit horrifying crimes.  For this discussion, you will consider how such cases should be handled based on the developmental theories .

First, read about these two cases, at opposite ends of the spectrum of age of those who committed the crimes (feel free to read sources beyond these, they're intended as a starting point):

The James Bulger case, in which two boys aged 9 and 10 years old at the time of the crime murdered a two year old boy:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2006/12/04/local_history_bulger_feature.shtml

The Columbine case, in which a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old murdered 12 people at their high school before committing suicide; our focus is on the 17-year-old, since the 18-year-old is considered a legal adult:
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-04-13-columbine-myths_N.htm
There are several theories that address child development in terms of moral, social, and emotional development, as well as the role of parents. Discuss what role might play in how society should handle. Be specific, and consider what it tells us about children at different ages such as those in the examples above, and what recommendation you might make. About whether (or at what age) such people should be treated as adults. Feel free to find authoritative* outside sources

 

 

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Kay Morse | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:52 PM (Answer #1)

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Child development experts say that abuse and other life hardships retard the development of conscience in children. They say that under normal circumstances, child between 12 and 14 begin to develop the cognitive capacity for moral thought, moral decision making based upon understanding of future results. They say that this cognitive development progression can be and is interrupted by life and family related traumatizing events. Thus while it may impossible to clearly set an age for criminal children who are victims of varying kinds of abuse traumas, they do agree that the more horrific crimes require long term imprisonment because these children are not cognitively functional enough to make decisions about behavior that is safe for the and for society. They do insist that over time, such children can be rehabilitate to make cognitively sound moral choices for safe behavior.

Sources:

Kay Morse

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