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Teaching Girls How to Define Boundaries

This article is inspired by Jenita Speller Bardlavens who asked me to write about “teaching adolescent girls they have the authority to say no (implementing boundaries with friends) without guilt or feeling obligated.”


The topic of young ladies and how they carry themselves is a topic I am passionate about.  2018 marked 16 years since I began The Etiquette Class for Girls.  One of the components of the classes focuses on self esteem, and for the older girls, a discussion on what boys really want.  

The adolescent years present a load of challenges with some arising that adolescents can’t adequately manage without support.  For both sexes it’s a time of self-discovery and sealing the deal on friendships which become long term memories whether good or bad. In this case as relates to the topic, girls are desirous of relationships with boys.   Girls want to feel pretty.  They want to fit in and stand out.  They want to know that everything about them from the hair do to the size is just right.  So needless to say when they are hearing positive compliment from boys it confirms their self-image.  

I express to girls, for example, what the typical girly giggle indicates to a young man.  She may say no but the giggle sends a completely different message which interprets in a boy’s mind to keep pursuing.  A hunter never gives up until it catches its prey.  

It is important for girls to have role models in their lives – respectable women who not only carry themselves in a respectable manner but have dialogue with young ladies on why its important for them to do the same.  Respectable men equally play a significant role in the lives of adolescent girls to set the standard on showing them what treatment to expect from a boy from language to physical contact.   Girls need to be taught that it is okay to say no and to mean it – and to encourage their friends to conduct themselves in kind.  Young girls must be taught that protecting their self-worth will ultimately save their reputations when they get older.  It’s up to the adults to guide them.  

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