Self-Control Game by Loree Brown                        © 1994

Making the Game

  1. Click on the gameboard to the right and print the large copy. Enlarge the figures to at least 7" for each of the shaped playing areas. Cut each out of colorful, fadeless paper and glue on a file folder.

  2. Playing pieces can be buttons, shells, beans, etx.

  3. Tokens can be pennies, styrofoam circles cut from meat trays, cardboard circles, etc.

  4. Chance card may be made from old business cards or from index cards cut in thirds. On the back put "Lose a Turn", "Win Four", "Give your neightbor 3", etc.

  5. You will need one die.


  1. Give each player 10 tokens from the bank.

  2. Roll die to see who goes first. The high number begins and playing continues clockwise.

  3. Roll die to determine the number of spaces to move.

  4. Follow the directions on the block:

    1. "Earn Two" player must follow directions in the center of the area in order to earn two tokens from the bank. (See the lists of responses below)

    2. "Give Two" player must give two tokens to the player on his left.

    3. "Time Out" player goes tot time out area and loses one turn. He re-enters at the arrow.

    4. "Chance" player draws a card and follows the directions on the card.

    5. "Win Four" player collects four tokens from the bank.

    6. "Count Your Tokens" first player to reach this block ends the game.

  5. The winner is the player with the most tokens at the end.

Self-Control Game

The game SELF CONTROL is used to teach important concepts for personal development. It is an excellent tool for counseling groups. Interest is generated in learning about and practicing self control through brain-storming sessions on the three topics in the center of the octagonal charts on the game board. in the first session discuss why it is important for one to choose to control himself. This should lead to the brain-storming on how one learns self control. A list is included on ways one learns self-control and it may be shared after the group members have exhausted their ideas. (Many of those listed are referring to anger and if the game is being played for self-control over personal habits such as losing weight, poor study habits, etc., the list will not be applicable.) Contributions from the group members should be written down by a recorder so that the list can be reviewed prior to playing the game. The second session should consider consequences of not using self control. Stress the idea that we are responsible for our thinking and the resulting actions we take. We can only think one thought at a time and we have the power to make our thoughts positive or negative. Record the responses of the group and keep the list with the game items. The third session should be easy. The consequences of using self control can be the opposite of many of those given in the second session. A review of those would stimulate the thinking. All contributions should be recorded and kept. After the sessions above introduce the game. Give the rules and then read the lists generated by the group prior to playing. Explain that each player should give an answer that has not been used by another person unless the game is being played with younger children. Answers are not to be limited to what is written on the lists so long as they are deemed correct by the leader.


1. Use the STOP method: S - Stop at the first awareness of feeling upset, angry, frustrated, tempted, etc. T - Take 3 deep breaths (to get oxygen to the brain), then think of reactions you could choose, talk to yourself about which is best for you. (This process will give enough time out for many people to gain control.) 0 - Opt for the best choice. P - Put the Positive choice into action.

2. Use the STAR method: S - Stop at the first awareness of feeling upset, angry, frustrated, tempted, etc. T - Take time out to take 3 deep breaths, think, and talk to yourself about choices you can make. A - Act on your choice. R - Review the consequences (outcome).

3. Count to 10 before reacting to any provocation. 4. Take time out to think and talk to yourself. 5. Place your hand over your mouth while you think and choose a reaction.

6. Talk to yourself with statements such as:

"I am in control."
"I refuse to let another person, a habit, a drug, etc. control me."
"I can choose to ignore unkind words, feelings, etc."
"I will not dignify the words/actions with a response."

7. Glue a STOP sign or a STAR to a piece of cardboard and keep it in your pocket to remind you of the steps to self-control and to hold during time out.

8. Think: If I respond in anger (yielding) s/he or the habit will win. I have been provoked to respond. I can choose not to respond. (People do not like to be ignored and this will really be responding with an insult.)

9. Play games with a friend to practice "making" one laugh (smile), blink, etc.

10. Reply to negatives by:

"I did not hear (feel) that."
"I do not accept that."
"I choose not to respond to ridiculousí (negative) remarks, urges, etc. "

11. Remove yourself from the scene as quickly as possible.

12. Use your sense of humor to imagine the provokerís ears are growing larger, his nose is getting longer, etc.

13. Look at the provoker as if s/he were totally insane and walk away.

14. Quickly write out your feelings of hurt/anger.

15. Quickly draw pictures of your feelings.

16. Silently repeat The Lordís Prayer, or a jingle such as:

"I refuse to have a stressful day, So Iíll let this "Nut" go on his way."
"Iím definitely in control of me. Dummies canít provoke me, you see!"
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, But unkind/untrue words cannot harm me."

17. Think of how sad it is that the other person does not know better than to say/do whatever it is that is provoking you.

18. Visualize yourself as winning a trophy for self-control while the provoker is standing in a diaper.

19. Pray and see yourself releasing your anger/hurt/frustrations up to God.

20. Yawn and stretch as if the attacker bores you.

21. Play the SELF CONTROL game over and over until you understand that using self- control has positive consequences while failing to use self-control has negative consequences.

22. Use skits and practice self-control techniques in groups.

23. Practice positive self-talk.

24. Learn to compromise and practice using it.

25. Mentally think of ten positive consequences of having self-control.

26. Learn to accept what you cannot change and feel peaceful.

27. Practice using self-control techniques over and over, even in minor irritations, temptations, etc. Use them daily. The more your practice the easier it becomes to exercise self-control in major crises.

28. Remind yourself that anger (overeating, drugs) can kill or cause serious illness.

29. Faithfully attend support groups for anger-management, overeating, drugs, etc.

30. Set personal goals to exercise self-control in at least 5 situations each day. Keep a record of the occurrence, outcomes, etc.


1. You give the power you have to control yourself over to another person, group, etc.

2. You demonstrate immaturity. (Babies must be controlled by others.)

3. You feel unsure of yourself.

4. You feel ashamed of your inability to control yourself.

5. You have low self-esteem.

6. You demonstrate irresponsibility.

7. People laugh at your tantrums, or think of your behavior as inappropriate and infantile.

8. People will not trust those who cannot control themselves.

9. You are considered foolish in your choices.

10. Your problems control you rather than you controlling your problems.

11. You do not use what you have learned or did not learn what mature people tried to teach you.

12. You have frequent conflicts/problems and situations that will upset you because you allow it to happen.

13. You are manipulated any time you allow another person/habit to provoke you to a negative action.

14. You lack self-respect.

15. You have fewer friends because you do not behave in a positive, caring manner.

16. You have more health problems because you allow your anger to raise your blood pressure, give you headaches, ulcers, etc. or you overeat, you take poisonous substances into your body that cause physical damage, etc.

17. You are given fewer privileges because people do not want to give privileges to people who act unwisely on behalf of themselves.

18. You face punishment or negative results much more frequently than one who exercises self control.

19. You are not as happy as one who is confident and in control of himself.

20. You have a negative attitude and it reflects in your behavior.

21 You bring shame to yourself and your family when you act irresponsibly.

22. You do not know and use problem solving skills to resolve your conflicts.

23. You do not know and use decision-making skills to make wise choices for yourself.

24. You have more stress than a person who maintains self-control.

25. You allow your emotions to work against you.>

26. You feel guilty.

27. You feel tense and anxious much of the time because you are looking for trouble or for people/situations to be against you.

28. You make more mistakes when you are not in control of yourself.

29. You do less efficient work than if you exercised self-control.

30. You do not forgive yourself and others easily.

31. You are insecure and fearful.

32. You do not use a sense of humor to aid in self-control

33. You do not know your own strengths and weaknesses.

34. You act first and think later.

35. You do not know and use techniques to calm yourself, therefore your anger or negative feelings often get out of control.

36. You act impulsively which causes accidents. Therefore, you are a greater risk to yourself and others.

37. You feel incapable in situations requiring self-discipline.

38. You do not trust yourself to handle tense or crisis situations appropriately.

39. You have fewer friends and poorer interpersonal relationships because you do not get along with people as well as those who exercise self-control.

40. You tackle people, not problems.

41 You lack empathy.

42. You lack understanding.

43. You are not a good example for others.

44. You encounter more problems with the law than those who maintain self-control.

45. You frequently make excuses for your behavior.

46. You feel you need crutches such as tobacco, alcohol, drugs, explosive fits of violence/rage to help you "relax", "cope", escape, express yourself, etc.

47. You misunderstand that feelings are normal but are to be controlled by an inner strength and developed discipline.

48. You choose overt physical action over mental thinking and then selective action.

49. You are much less content/happy than one who exercises self-control.

50. You choose to ignore warning signs of anger/hunger/urges for drugs, tobacco, etc.


1. You are independent because you do not need others to control you.

2. You demonstrate maturity.

3. You feel confident.

4. You feel proud.

5. You have high self-esteem.

6. You accept responsibility and act responsibly.

7. You are admired by others.

8. You are trustworthy.

9. You use your power to choose wisely.

10. You handle your own problems, if possible, but seek help when you need it.

11. You use what you have learned.

12. You avoid conflicts/problems and situations that will upset you.

13. You are too smart to be manipulated.

14. You have self-respect.

15. You have friends because you behave in a positive, caring manner.

16. You are healthier than one who does not exercise self-control.

17. You are given privileges because you are reliable.

18. You avoid punishment and negative consequences.

19. You are happier than those who do not choose to exercise self-control.

20. You have a positive attitude.

21. You bring honor to yourself and to your family when you act maturely and wisely.

22. You know and use problem solving skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

23. You have less stress than those who choose not to use self-control.

24. You can redirect your emotional energy and make it work for you.

25. You avoid feelings of guilt.

26. You feel relaxed because you have learned how to handle and/or relieve stress or avoid stressful situations.

27. You avoid foolish accidents and mistakes by not being impulsive.

28. You do better work because you are confident and in control.

29. You have and use a sense of humor.

30. You learn to forgive yourself and others.

31. You are secure.

32. You know and use decision-making skills.

33. You know your own strengths and weaknesses.

34. You manage your feelings by thinking first and making choices.

35. You know and use techniques to calm yourself and relieve stress.

36. You know and use techniques to stop yourself from acting impulsively.

37. You feel competent and capable.

 38. You believe in yourself and in your ability to handle situations appropriately.

39. You get along with people of all ages and they like and respect you, therefore, you have more friends than disgruntled people.

40. You tackle problems, not people.

41 You learn empathy.

42. You are understanding and maintain positive interpersonal relationships with people.

43. You use what you have learned, thus you are educated in this area. You are a good example to others. 45. You avoid legal troubles.

46. You avoid crutches like alcohol and drugs because you want control over your feelings and actions at all times.

47. You do not need to make excuses for your misbehavior.

48. You understand that being angry, frustrated, sad or embarrassed is a normal part of life that can be handled.

You know the keys to self-control is using your power to think and choose wisely.

50. You know the warning signs that your feelings are getting out of control and you STOP and use the STOP or the STAR techniques for gaining self-control.

© Loree R. Brown