Children are sponges. They learn from what they see and experience around them. If a child is frequently exposed to something, say violence, then they will come to believe that such behavior is normal and to be expected. All children learn morality, one way or another. It's up to parents to teach them the right kind of morality.
Throughout our lives, we are taught or influenced by the people around us on how we are supposed to act in society. Because of this, when we come across situations that are a test of our morals that we have never dealt with before, we are able to make a decision, good or bad, based on our past influences and experiences.
Humans are not born with any sense of morality. Newborn infants do not have an innate sense of right or wrong. It is through experience and interactions with caregivers that they develop this. Through parenting, culture, religion, exposure to books, fairy tales, cartoons, and films, children develop an understanding of morality. Beyond childhood, some may change their beliefs or views on morality. And, in this sense, morality is very dynamic, and not something set that humans are born with.
While some moral framework may cross cultural boundaries, much of what we look at as "morality' is simply the values of our given society. Even within a society, these values change with time, or even within subgroups of the society. Religions are a major subgroup, where morality can even be drastically different than the society around it.
If a child is raised in an environment without morality dictating right or wrong, then they will never know any better than what they are taught. If a parent tells their children what's right or wrong, then they are being taught and disciplined to learn right from wrong. For this reason, morality is learned.
People usually act and behave based on what they are used to as being thee normal behavior. Therefore because of this, morality is a learned sense. If you are raised in an environment knowing right from wrong you tend to follow those behaviors. If you are raised in an environment where doing immoral things is normal, your views are skewed and you tend to think that these bad behaviors are fine. There are exceptions where someone may have a decent role model outside of the house and they can break free from what is going on in the home.
The basis of morality is present in humans as well as a few other animals, but modern morality as we understand it in society is by and large a learned concept. What may be considered amoral in a conservative religious state, such as sitting in the same room with a member of the opposite sex, may be completely normal in a more relaxed society.
Morality is part of one's religious worldview, as opposed to ethics, which are not derived from religious teaching. There are many religions, and their teachings are often contradictory and generally not intuitive. For example, Orthodox Judaism teaches that it is immoral for Jews to eat or use pig products. Mormonism teaches that Mormons should not consume "stimulating" beverages, such as coffee. Neither of these beliefs are intuitive. One could only acquire them by being taught.
One will never gain a sense of morality that is understood by the public, unless they are somehow assimilated into a society. Nobody ever decides that they don't want to do something, "just because". There's always a reason. One may have established this idea based on his own observations of society, or what he'd been taught or conditioned to believe. For example, burning the American flag is generally considered to be immoral by the American public. However, the artifact would have little meaning to a South American tribesman, and he could easily burn it without the slightest repercussion. Many things that our society may consider immoral, such as cheating, polygamy, or racism, are completely acceptable in other cultures. Therefore, it is not proper to expect what we consider to be morality to come as second nature to all people.
Morality is something humans have from the beginning of time. It is like going somewhere and getting hit in the head and then going in the same place again and getting hit again. It is something all humans have but some don't know they have it or they just don't want to use it.
It is apparent from watching a child that each person is created with a set of moral values. We each know in our mind there are certain things that are juts morally wrong. This is not learned, but instead those initial beliefs are expanded as we get older. We eventually have a whole list of things that, although we knew were morally wrong as children, we understand why as adults.
Everyone has the want to sin. True, a baby does not understand what sin is, but the baby still has a sinful nature that only Jesus Christ can help that person with.
"Adam sinned, and that sin brought death into the world. Now everyone has sinned, and so everyone must die. [Note: die spiritually not physically]" - Romans 5:12 - CEV
"God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. [Note: never really die spiritually not physically]" - John 3:16 - CEV
From birth, our food, clothing, housing, language, knowledge, thoughts, and personalities, all come entirely from society-at-large. Without others to support and educate us, we would just be clever animals naked in the wilderness. We are extreme social interacting creatures, innately driven to group. To become civilized we had to learn to live together.
Morals are a collective social contract of interpersonal conduct. There are five basic social interacting laws: 1 - Not to kill others. 2 - Not to enslave others. 3 - Not to injure others. 4 - Not to steal from others. And, 5 - Not to lie to others. Morals are the fundamental laws of human conduct/life. These laws are the cohesion that unifies our ability to successfully integrate and form society. Without morals, we would disintegrate into chaos and horror.
Along with the five basic morals, we also have many other social contracts; such as: human rights, state and federal laws, work ethics, social manners, and the institutions of marriage/family; all conforming our expectations of interpersonal behavior towards and from one-another. When we follow these social contacts we live productive lives, when we break these agreements we both harm ourselves, and the life of others. The stability of society is dependent on each member agreeing to social conduct of one type or another in forming the union of society. United we stand, divided we fall
Morals are a learned response. We learn them through environmental conditioning. What we experience in life, we put in our toolbox of potential human behaviors. Throughout life, we choose which tools to use based on our emotional and moral attitude. Different environments promote different moral propensities. A child living in poverty has different moral behavior than a child living in luxury. The morals that we teach our children today directly determines their behavior towards us tomorrow. Everything that we are as individuals, in one way or another, is a learned response from society-at-large. As individuals, we are what our eyes, ears, and personal experiences, learned in the journey of life. We as individuals are the sum of our experiences with others.
We expose our moral imperfections through the individuals that we create. Many of our children are growing up with TV and videos full of violence, destruction, and win at any cost mentality; we are potentially creating a generation of immoral warriors. In inner cities across America, we see horrific gang violence of unprecedented proportions. Children killing other children. They were not born that way; they were educated that way through their environment.
Allowing children to grow up impoverished (working hard for little reward,) while seeing others with vast excesses (working little for massive profits,) makes the impoverished oppressively angry and distrusting of any authority or social rules. "Early Eurasian kingdoms learned that you have to treat the peasants nice or they destroy your castle.
A question never asked is worth nothing,
An answer never given is worth even less...
Doing good for others makes us feel good. It makes us feel bad to witness harm done to those we care about and those we associate with. I think ignoring this biological morality is the learned sense. It takes time and effort to learn to hate people that are different from us.
We associate things that cause pain to us- rather it is mental or physical pain- as bad. We associate things that cause pleasure as good and moral. It is as simple as that- after all, if morals had to be learned, then it would have been impossible for us to establish any morals in the first place. If nobody taught the first morals, then how else could we have morals at all?
It is and it is not. I know I have raised my children with high moral standards, yet some have abandoned or not taken to them anyways...
I think you learn a lot as child but ultimately we are individuals with our own minds, making our own choices.