Healthy Boundaries Lesson

It's Your Body and You Get to Decide What's Right For You!

Your body is your own and you get to decide what is okay for you and not okay for you. These personal rules are called personal boundaries. Each person has different personal boundaries. For example, some people don’t like to hug and others want to hug everyone. Neither way is wrong, these boundaries are just different. Since people have different boundaries, it is important for you to know what yours are in order to tell others if they have crossed them.

Also, being aware that others have different boundaries than you, helps you to pay attention and accept other’s boundaries. It helps you make sure you don’t cross them and, if you do, apologize for crossing them.

It is also good to know what general rules there are in your town. This is done by identifying the different types of relationships and ways to touch and what topics to discuss in those relationships. Just knowing these general rules, helps us avoid crossing other’s boundaries and having someone cross our personal boundaries.

Here are 4 different types of relationships:

1. Close family and friends: These are people we are very close to. We trust them, we have known them for a long time. We feel safe and comfortable with them.

How do we touch this group of people? Since we are so close and comfortable with them, this group are people that we hug. Not every time we see them, but especially if we haven’t seen them in a long time.

What topics do we talk about with this group of people? We can talk about personal and private topics as long as we are in a private place with them and others cannot hear you. Private topics are our bodies and body parts and sexual acts.

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and ask: 

What kind of relationship is this? How do you know? How did they touch each other? What did they talk about? How much time did they spend together? More or less than the other relationships?

2. Casual friends, Acquaintances, Groups: These are people we are comfortable with, but don’t know as well as close family and friends. These are people we work with, go to school with, or are in a group with.

How do we touch this group of people? With this group we high five, fist bump, or shake hands.

What topics do we talk about with this group of people? We talk about public topics like the weather, sports, movies. These topics can be talked about with this group and can be talked about in public.

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and ask: 

 What kind of relationship is this? How do you know? How did they touch each other? What did they talk about? How much time did they spend together? More or less than the other relationships?

3. Helping Professionals: These are people we are comfortable with, but don’t know as well as close family and friends. These are people that help us like doctors and nurses, staff who support. With this group we high five, fist bump, or shake hands.

How do we touch this group of people? With this group we high five, fist bump, or shake hands.

What topics do we talk about with this group of people? Most of the time we only talk about public topics with this group unless you are seeing a doctor or nurse about private things like your body and sexual acts. You would talk about these topics in private, in the exam room with the door closed.

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and ask:  

What kind of relationship is this? How do you know? How did they touch each other? What did they talk about? How much time did they spend together? More or less than the other relationships?

4. Strangers: These are people who we don’t know at all. We may see them in a store or walking down the street. We don’t have to be afraid of them, but we wouldn’t touch them or talk about private topics with them.

How do we touch this group of people? We don’t touch this group, but sometimes we nod at them or say hello. Then, we move along. It is a fast interaction.

What topics do we talk about with this group of people? We may talk about public topics, but not private topics. In general, we may ask one question to strangers and then, move on.

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and ask: 

 What kind of relationship is this? How do you know? How did they touch each other? What did they talk about? How much time did they spend together? More or less than the other relationships?

 

Now, even though there are general rules, you still get to decide what is right for you. It is your body and you don’t have to touch anyone or talk about anything if you don’t want to. If someone says, “can I have a hug?” and you don’t want to, it is okay to speak up and say, “I don’t want to hug, but I would give you a high five” or “I don’t want to hug, but I would like to say ‘goodbye’ to you.”

You can also show Consent for Kids, (this is a video geared to kids). It has good information for ALL OF US! Remember, it is your body and you get to decide what is right for you!

 

Here’s a handout you can use.

 

Download the Free Handout