Making it Okay to Say “No” - Teaching Healthy Boundaries to Middle School GirlsBy Dannie Frey, Camp Girl Boss
Making it Okay to Say “No” – Teaching Healthy Boundaries to Middle School Girls
By Dannie Frey, Camp Girl Boss
Let’s talk about one of our favorite topics at Camp Girl Boss; boundaries! Now, we spend a lot of time working with our GIrl Bosses around understanding what a boundary is, and more importantly knowing when it is best to hold a boundary in life. We do this because our team of Women Leaders see firsthand how much of a transformation occurs when we give pre-teen girls permission to say “No” in a healthy way.
So, what is a boundary? A boundary means: A line that marks the limits to an area or space. For people, boundaries mean the lines that we place on ourselves to mark the lines around our emotional, mental, spiritual, and/or physical limitations. Boundaries are used to maintain healthy and happy lives, but honoring our own limitations and optimum range.
When serving as an entrepreneur, you have the luxury of setting your own schedule and choosing your focus. This means through that boundaries are also under your control, and can be a critical part of the entrepreneurial toolkit. In Camp we look at some of these elements:
- What are some examples of Boundaries that you would set for yourself?
- What are some examples of Boundaries that you would set for school work?
- What about Boundaries that are good for interacting with friends at school?
- Do you have Boundaries which only show up when you are in a Conflict with someone?
- What about Boundaries that you could have with your Parents?
- What are some Boundaries that Entrepreneurs may need to have in their business?
Boundaries are rules set by us and the people around us that state what can do and cannot be done. There are three basic kinds of boundaries that we all should be aware of:
- Rigid: These are strict and do not change. You may not know why these are rules, but you do know that you need to follow them!
- Clear: You understand these rules. Clear boundaries can change, too. Some things that were “out of bounds” when you are younger, might be okay now.
- Fuzzy: These are “rules” that aren’t really rules at all. A fuzzy boundary might be one that says anything goes. Or it might be a rule that is strict one day, or ignored the next day.
Having a conversation about boundaries is important for all members of the family – both children and adults. At home, you can start the conversation by answering these questions:
- What does a boundary mean to you?
- Do you see any boundaries at home or at school? What are they?
- Who do you think sets those boundaries?
- How do those boundaries make you feel?
- What kind of boundaries do you find most frustrating – rigid, clear, or fuzzy? Why?
- Do you have any boundaries for yourself?
- Are there any boundaries that you WISH you had?
- Can I help you come up with a way to create those boundaries?
Through the Camp Girl Boss programming, we’ve seen in various settings how important it is to hold space for an honest conversation on natural limits. These young ladies are at a place in their life when they are highly aware of the limitations around them, often set by direct
authority figures like parents and teachers. They are also becoming more sensitive to the increased need for them to be clear about where they want to instill their own “fences” to feel safer and more in control.
The pre-teen and early teen years is a stage in which young women are exploring the ways in which they can take more ownership of their time, physical space, emotional responses, and ways in which they show up in the world. By becoming more aware of natural and self-enforced boundaries gives GirlBosses a tool for discovering new ways to protect and empower themselves.
One of the fundamental tenets of Camp Girl Boss is owning your Power, and that there is just as much power in the word “No” as there is in the word “Yes.” We encourage you to teach your own Girl Boss how she can intentionally stand firmly in how she chooses to engage with the world by navigating boundaries in a healthy way.
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Emily Breedlove is a Serial Entrepreneur who transforms communities through empowering women and girls to embrace their own Creative Magic. Her work ranges from the Founder and Global Champion for Camp Girl Boss to serving as the first Female Director of ScaleUp WNC a 90-day business Accelerator in Asheville, North Carolina. Emily sees Disruption as the highest form of public service and she advocates regularly for people to boldly innovate whenever possible.