Essay on The Link Between Friendship and Moral Development

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The Link Between Friendship and Moral Development The study of morality is molded by an intricately linked set of tangential issues each of which has a unique effect on moral development. Friendship and peer groups in particular play an indisputable role in helping to shape the path of moral development in children and adolescents. In evaluating various philosophical and psychological perspectives on morality, two principal arguments emerge concerning the link between friendship and moral development: in the first argument, friendships act as a positive force in fostering moral development, as they provide a background upon which children can formulate their own moral rules and values. In direct contradiction, the second argument…show more content…
In philosophical and psychological research, morality is largely treated as an intrapersonal phenomenon, studied by observing the principles used in resolving moral dilemmas. Friendship, conversely, is typically viewed as an interpersonal relationship, studied according to patterns of interactions, a more relational approach that cannot be applied to the study of individual moral development. Despite the different ideological approaches taken by researchers, the mutually influential link between friendship and moral development remains indisputable. Friendship, at its most fundamental level, mirrors any social relationship, as it is defined and constrained by certain moral parameters. Further, it serves an important function as an arena in which morality is learned, tested, and refined. In this sense, morality can be accurately viewed in a relational context, as moral issues such as loyalty, trust, commitment, and honesty are prominent features of any close relationship, and serve as a foundation for the constant struggle that accompanies moral growth. (Bukowski 238) Three important issues emerge surrounding the link between friendship and moral development. First, in order to accurately assess the influence of social interactions on moral development, it is necessary to construct a concise definition of the word friendship, and to look closely at a philosophical account of friendship and morality. Second, it is valuable to identify the ways in which the process
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