Character-Building Activities for Teens

By Megan Smith
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The teenage years are a time of self-discovery for most people, and this stage of life can be challenging for some youngsters. Teenagers tend to focus inwardly, so it may be beneficial to help them notice other things in life that are equally important. Use character-building activities for teenagers to make life lessons come alive.

Scenario Game

Give the teenagers certain scenarios in which they would have to make a complicated decision, and have them talk the situation through with you. For example, the hypothetical situation could be something such as the teenager sees a friend stealing and has to decide whether to tell. Telling would rectify the wrong, but it could also end the friendship. Stress to the teenager that doing the right thing is important even though it can sometimes have bad consequences and might not feel like the right decision.

Character Inventory

Help the teenagers understand their own characters by doing a character inventory. Have the teens write down the strengths and weaknesses they have in their own character. For example, a strength might be that a teen helps babysit younger siblings without being asked. A weakness might be that a teenager sometimes talks back to his parents. Help the teenager understand that the positives of his character are wonderful and that he can easily work on the weaknesses.

Volunteering

One way to help teenagers build character is to encourage thankfulness for everything that they have. With this thankfulness, help your teenagers understand that everyone is not as fortunate. Sign the teenagers up to assist at a soup kitchen serving meals, help an elderly neighbor with yard work or gather clothing and toys to donate to less fortunate people.

Empathy Game

The empathy game is a good character-building activity to do with a group of teens, whether it is a class or a church youth group. Write open-ended phrases onto slips of paper that the teens will have to finish. Choose phrases that have the teenagers saying how they feel about things. For example, write "When someone calls me a bad name, I feel..." or "When someone tells me I did a good job, I feel...." Choose all sorts of phrases that could elicit both good and bad feelings. Talking about how things make people feel will help the teens understand how their actions can hurt or help someone else.