The key to teaching teenagers to respect themselves and others is to approach the topic in a way that holds their attention. Respect building games are excellent tools for encouraging positive behavior, particularly when they are played as a group. Many respect building games offer additional benefits including increasing trust, communication development and an improvement in manners.
The Trust Fall game is best played with a group of at least three players and teaches teens the value of trust in others and the respect that results from being able to do so. To play, one player stands up straight and closes her eyes. Without letting her know who it is, one of the two remaining players takes his place behind her. She is encouraged to fall backwards, trusting that the other player will catch her when she falls. Afterwards, the players switch places and the process is repeated. After all players have had the opportunity to be the faller and the catcher, each party shares with the group what they were feeling as they fell and how they were able to be sure that the other player would catch them. Upon completion of the game, students are better able to understand the significance of the fact that they were able to rely upon their fellow players and why being able to rely upon others who care for them is important. This helps to convey a new sense of respect for those that are trusted to care for them, such as teachers, parents and other persons of authority.
Mine Field is a trust building game that encourages positive communication and respect for fellow teammates. Mine Field works with groups of various sizes, but players should be at least 12 years of age to fully comprehend the intricacies of the game. To play, set up "mines" throughout the playing area. Plastic cones or bowling pins work well. Pair players in groups of two. In each group, one player should be blindfolded and not allowed to speak. The other player is allowed to see and speak, but is prohibited from entering the playing field. The object of the game is to get each blindfolded player through the "mines" without knocking any of them over, using only their partner's verbal commands. The team that makes it through the mine first wins each round. The goal of the game is to help teens develop a sense of respect for those who assist them in their day-to-day lives, whether it be at home, church or school, and to realize the significance of those acts.
Winners and Losers
Winners and Losers is best played in groups of four players or more and is designed to help teens develop a respect for differing views and to consider what they respect about others. Using some celebrity magazines, encourage teens to cut out pictures of people they admire and consider "winners" in life. Once each player selects her choices, encourage her to write what personality or character traits she admires about that particular celebrity. Repeat the process, but this time have each player choose celebrities they do not respect or consider "losers" and why. Once each person is done, collect the photos and read them aloud, while encouraging the players to guess which picture belongs to which player. The player that pairs the most celebrities with the right player wins. Encourage each player to comment on whether they agree or disagree that the celebrity in question is admirable and why. The goal of the game is to help students to respect the views of others and to express what characteristics inspire respect within themselves.
Commonalities and Uniquities
Commonalities and Uniquities is designed to help teens develop a better understanding and respect for diversity. To play, form two groups of at least five teens and give each team two sheets of blank paper and a pen. Have each team create a list of the similarities of everyone in their group, but only include similarities that are not physical in nature. Examples include siblings with the same name or players that share similar interests in music or career goals. Instruct each team to select a person in their group to read the list out loud. Then have the team repeat the process, only this time they should list the distinctive differences within their group. By examining the similarities and differences amongst their peers, teens are able to see that each of us share some similar experiences, but are also very different in other ways.and are able to better respect the unique individual contributions that diversity provides. The team that is able to come up with the most similarities and differences wins the challenge.