Ask The Source

Tough kids are destroying my games


I'm working with an inner-city youth group that is a real difficult group to work with. One of the most frustrating things is when we try to have fun and play games with them, they end up finding ways to destroy the game or cheat at it so that nobody ends up having fun. I don't really want to take the fun part away, but I don't know what to try that they won't destroy. Any ideas?




Thanks for the email. Most “tough” kids aren't really excited about games. As a matter of fact, one of the worst things we can do with these kids is say, “Hey, now we're going to play a game!” That's one reason that I came up with THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF GAME LEADING:

Make sure that your “activities” meet the need you're trying to accomplish. If you've got a room full of junior highers that want to get their energy out, then don't do a game involving 3 people up front. Start with something they all like, involving ALL of them.

One type of game I NEVER use is relays. Think about it. Let's tell kids to get in line, not push or shove, and WAIT, while the guy 9 people in front of him does something stupid.

I find that kid's, even tough kids, don't hate games. They just hate being bored. If we bore them with our activities, we could lose them for the evening.

It's frustrating when something that we are trying to break the ice with becomes the very thing that chases them away. That's why I devoted several chapters to that very subject in my book:CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK

Try some up front activities with these kids- rougher kids seem to respond better to this kind of format. I have a bunch on this page:CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO OUR GAMES PAGE

Hope that helps.

Keep up the good work.

God Bless,
Jonathan McKee
The Source for Youth Ministry


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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