Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 2005

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Chris Crawford

Abstract

Most people would agree that building good character is essential to the development of American’s youth. However, building character has become a difficult task to perform because children today are growing up in a world where they must confront more intense social problems than children 30 years ago. Issues such as substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and youth violence are more commonplace than ever before in our country’s history. Because of these outside influences, parents are being called upon to play a more significant formative role in the lives of their children. However, due to parents ever increasing work schedules and the intense influences of television, video games, and the Internet, parents are now spending far less time with their children. Attempts to find a solution have been focused primarily on pouring money into the school system to develop courses or programs emphasizing character education. Regardless of the government’s attempts to develop stronger character in America’s youth by funding programs in our schools, the country is seeing even more violent crime, illegitimate births, and drug abuse than ever before. Less attention seems to be focused on the relationship between parent and child. This preliminary study investigated the varying levels of interaction and bonding that children and their parents experience together and the significance that these interactions have on character development. It then examined the correlation between these levels of strong character and the development of moral leadership. These findings indicated that those individuals who were involved in a network of connected relationships, especially a greater amount of parental contact and had less exposure to outside influences, developed higher levels of character. Indications form these findings also showed that those individuals who have developed a higher level of character through those connected relationships built a stronger foundation for moral leadership.

Rights

Copyright 2005 Steven D. Keil

Comments

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