This study aimed to examine the naturalistic moral conceptualizations of school aged children with an exploratory investigation, notwithstanding any theoretical background. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 193 primary and secondary school students (Age range: 7-15 years) from different regions and cities in Turkey. Open-coded content analysis has been used to reveal the most frequent conceptualizations about being a good or bad child. Chi-Square analyses have been conducted to explore if any differences were evident among school periods (primary vs. secondary grades) and gender. The findings showed that children expressed their conceptualizations about being a good child through the concepts of helping others, helping family members, sharing, not saying bad words, listening to advice, respecting nature, being reliable, tolerant, and compassionate person. Thus, respect, benevolence, and being virtuous were essential moral conceptualizations. Similarly, concepts about maintaining healthy relationships were also evident for the conceptualizations of a bad child: physical harm, bullying, property damage, saying bad words, disobedience, and being disrespectful toward parents. Additionally, chi-square results demonstrated that being disrespectful was an important concept to describe the characteristics of a bad child, for boys rather than girls. Results mostly indicate that school aged children construct morality within the perspective of relationship regulation and social order.
Morality, naturalistic conceptualizations, primary and secondary school children, relationality