Never use humor in anger or force humor in inappropriate moments. Teenagers are easily hurt. In addition, mocking or ridiculing a group member, by a leader or fellow member, is never acceptable and will destroy the spirit of your group. It may appear harmless but in time, attendance will taper off and the group will fall apart. I have seen this happen many times.

Keep it simple, stay light. Focus on connecting with teenagers and humor will flow quite naturally. Above all—be genuine. Do not use humor to win approval because teenagers in particular reject adults seeking to win praise or admiration.

And finally, never try to be funny; instead, work to create a playful and open atmosphere. Teenagers who feel accepted and warmed by a good-humored group leader are sure to look forward to group. More importantly, they will return willingly week after week. Soon you will find, as the teenagers are enriched by a positive group experience, you are well on your way to achieving your ultimate goal— awakening in them the hunger for more mature and satisfying relationships.


Gadpaille, W„ Hawkins, M., Noshpitz, J., Rakoff, V., Settlage, C., & Werner, H.

(1968). Normal Adolescence. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Malekoff, A. (2004). Group Work with Adolescents (Second edition). New York: Guilford Press.

Tennyson, A. (1986). Ulysses. In L. Simpson (ed.). Introduction to Poetry (Third edition) p. 248. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc.

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