Chinese children's justifications for sharing resources: Why do we have to share?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Gilligan argued that Kohlberg's justice-based stage theory of morality reflects only one type of morality and does not consider people's tendency to use care-based moral judgements. This study examines Chinese children's tendency to use justice-based and care-based justifications for moral reasoning. Children's attitudes to conforming to the sharing rule were investigated by asking five-year-olds (N = 155) about a hypothetical situation in which there were conflicts between conforming to rules and fulfilling personal goals/desires in the family context. Children were asked to suggest appropriate solutions for the conflicts and to justify their suggestions. Results indicated that the majority of the Chinese children's moral reasoning was characterised by care-based morality that focuses on the importance of pro-social behaviours (being helpful, caring for the needs of others). The findings highlight the need for teachers to critically examine how justice and care are taught in the preschool context, and to what extent cultural values affect children's moral orientations. Copyright © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1214
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011



Wong, M. (2011). Chinese children's justifications for sharing resources: Why do we have to share? Early Child Development and Care, 181(9), 1199-1214.


  • Chinese children
  • Sharing
  • Morality of care
  • Morality of justice