Psychological Self-Help

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Hogan (1973) believes that moral behavior is determined by five
factors: (1) Socialization: becoming aware as a child of society's and
parents' rules of conduct for being good. (2) Moral judgment:
learning to think reasonably about our own ethics and deliberately
deciding on our own moral standards. (3) Moral feelings: the
internalization of our moral beliefs to the degree that we feel shame
and guilt when we fail to do what we "should." (4) Empathy: the
awareness of other people's situation, feelings, and needs so that one
is compelled to help those in need. (5) Confidence and knowledge:
knowing the steps involved in helping others and believing that one is
responsible for and capable of helping. 
There is not much you can do now about Hogan's first factor--your
own upbringing. Even though poor parenting is clearly associated with
poor work habits, drug use, gangs, and irresponsibility, you have to
accept whatever childhood you had. According to Mussen and
Eisenberg-Berg (1977), helpful children usually have nurturing parents
who frequently act on their giving, caring nature within the family and
with outsiders. These parents set high demands on the child,
frequently asking him or her to help or to "take care of" another
person, but they do not use "power" in the form of physical force or
threats to control their child. Instead, the reasons and ethics for the
desired behavior or recommended morals are carefully explained. They
point out the "rights" and "wrongs" of the child's daily actions, while
living up to their own standards of honesty, concern for others, and
fairness. If you were raised in this way, thank your parents. If you
weren't, understand your parents, and set about providing yourself
with the learning experiences (you can talk to yourself like a parent)
you may need to become a helping person. 
There are many factors that influence your daily morality, which
you can control. Let's now explore Hogan's second factor--the moral
judgments needed to develop a good value system of your own. The
best way for you to do this is by starting to draft your own set of
beliefs and values as you consider the following sections. At the end of
the chapter, you will have an outline for a useful value system. 
Writing Your Own Philosophy of Life 
According to Jewish custom, a person should write two wills: one
to give away property and another to pass on his or her values. What
values do you want to live by and have your children adopt? I suggest
you give this important matter a great deal of thought and then outline
a philosophy to guide your own and your children's lives (if they
should choose to listen). 
First, some definitions of common terms. Beliefs are our own
expectancies (realistic or not) and understandings (accurate or not)
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