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5 Character Building Questions That Make Kids Think!

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If you'd like 5 character building questions that make children think, keep reading. First, you'll see all 5 questions. Next each question will include a problem, a simple discussion, and a motto to share with your kids.

Since children become what they think, you'll find out how to jumpstart positive thinking!

The 5 Character Building Questions:

1. What thought excites you?
2. Is this thought a good idea?
3. Do I need help with this?
4. If I do this, will I become a better person?
5. Will this be good for others too?

First Problem

Let's say your child is assigned to write a report and doesn't want to. What can you do?

Empathize with your child saying, "You don't want to do it, do you?" Listen but don't make the mistake of agreeing with your child's negative thoughts. This action helps your child pull the negative weeds out of her thinking. Why? She first wants to be understood.

When your child senses you care about her feelings, she'll be more open. "Tell me about your favorite interests," you say. Maybe she likes music, sports, art, or something else. Dig down deep for more specifics. Then ask,

1. What topics (thoughts) excite you the most?

Listen to the responses. Notice when your child has enough passion to read and write about one of her favorite interests. Encourage her to research books, the library, or the internet for information.

What did you do? You helped her turn her negative thoughts into a positive action. She is on her way to succeeding and growing in character.

After the report is completed say, "Your greatest strength is your power to choose your thoughts. Your positive thoughts blossomed into this fine report."

Further Discussion

Ask her "Why is finding a positive way to solve problems better than sinking into negative feelings? How hard is it to turn negative thoughts around?

Motto: "I aim high because I try."

Second Problem

Ask your child to pretend a friend told classmates that she had copied her test answers. It wasn't true. Now your child wants revenge. She's thinking of spreading some of her friend's embarrassing secrets. Suggest she ask,

2. Is this thought a good idea?

It will help her reflect on her intentions. If she has a twinge of doubt or guilt, she'll know it's not the right thing to do.

Further Discussion

Ask her, "Why is it better to think before you act? What could happen if you acted before you thought things through? Can you think of a time when you regretted your actions?"

Motto: "My heart feels light when I do what's right."

Third Problem

Sometimes your child needs to do difficult things like complete a math assignment, clean the garage, or create a science project. Teach him to get the help he needs. Explain that everybody needs help from time to time. Asking teachers, parents, older siblings, and friends is normal. This is a healthy sign and shows he's willing to grow. Suggest he ask,

3. Do I need help to do this?

Sometimes a little hint opens a whole new window for seeing how things can be done. At other times he may need more help and that's OK.

Further Discussion

Ask him, "Why do smart people ask for help? When people don't ask for the help they need, what might happen?"

Motto: "Work is fun when I ask someone!"

Fourth Problem

Imagine your child wondering if she should join the chess club. She's not a great sport and hates losing. But the thought of becoming a good chess player appeals to her. Get her to ask herself,

4. If I do this will I become a better person?

Inform her that trying a new activity can give her special skills, personal satisfaction, and the chance to grow into a better thinker.

Further Discussion

How can new experiences and activities enrich your life? Why is losing sometimes helpful? How can it help promote good sportsmanship too?

Motto: "I'm a good sport when I praise and support."

Fifth Problem

Caring about others is the key to character. Perhaps your son wants to buy expensive things. He knows he needs to earn the money. He's trying to decide whether to start a business doing yard work, washing cars, or something else. Suggest he ask himself,

5. Will this be good for others too?

If his answer is, "Yes," he'll be helping himself and those he serves. What could be better than that?

Further Discussion

Ask him, "What do you think about working for what you want and helping others at the same time?"

Motto:"I'm helping me when I serve"we"."


When parents seed their children's minds with healthy questions and thoughtful mottos, the soil for their character is enriched. Good questions raise good thoughts and have the power to motivate. Why not ask your children the questions that make them think today?


Jean Tracy, MSS, publishes a FREE Parenting Newsletter. Subscribe and receive 80 fun activities to share with your children.

Pick up Jean's Thought-Stopping Kit and teach your child how to change any disturbing thought in step-by-step detail. This skill will help him throughout his life.

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