Healthy Relationships (Boundaries & Consent) 9-12 Lesson 4

Healthy Relationships (Boundaries & Consent), Health 2 Day 4

Lesson Description

Lesson Title

Healthy Relationships (Boundaries & Consent)

Lesson Summary/Overview

In this lesson, students will learn about and practice the fundamentals of healthy communication and boundary-setting in order to strengthen healthy relationship skills. Students will identify characteristics of healthy & unhealthy relationships.

Grade Level


Suggested Time

90 minutes

License Type


Author of Lesson

Adaline Padlina & Caden DeLoach, Linn County Public Health

Submitted By

Adaline Padlina & Caden DeLoach, Linn County Public Health


By the end of this lesson students will be able to:

● Identify the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.

● Identify how a person could avoid or end an unhealthy relationship.

● Identify ways to communicate boundaries to their partner.

Aligned Standards, Performance Indicators, and Essential Questions

☐ Oregon Health Standards Color Coded by Topic Category - Chart Version

☐ Oregon Health & Sexuality Education Topic Categories and Essential Questions

☐ National Sexuality Education Standards (Second Edition)


Standard 7: Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.

Standard 5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.

Performance Indicators Covered

HE.7.12.10 Demonstrate respect for the boundaries of others and practice affirmative consent.

HE.7.12.9 Analyze the criteria for evaluating the health of a relationship.

HE.5.12.10 Apply a decision making process to promote consensual sexual activity within healthy relationships.

Essential Question(s) Covered

  • How can you tell if a relationship is healthy or unhealthy?
  • What information do you need to make a decision that is best for you?
  • How could a person avoid or end an unhealthy relationship?
  • How can I communicate my boundaries to my partner?

Culturally Responsive Practices

How will your lesson relate and celebrate students’ cultural context, diversity and funds of knowledge?

Information & Resources for Educators

Resource Materials

Presentation Slides

Situation & Response Activity Worksheet

Characteristics of Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships 

Student Resources Handout

Lesson Overview

Before the Lesson

  • Make sure parents/caregivers know you’ll be teaching this lesson. You can share this lesson with them and be available to answer questions so that they can opt their child out of the lessons if they feel it necessary.
  • Make sure you have let students know that you will be covering sexuality education ahead of the lessons, and give them an option to email or speak to you privately if they don’t feel like they can join. Make a plan with them for an alternative lesson/place to be.
  • Make and share with students a clear plan of where they can go if they become triggered during a lesson, and how they can let you know without drawing attention to themselves. Some options might include a school counselor’s office, the library, etc. Provide students with a resource list that includes a text/call hotline for those who have witnessed or experienced child, domestic or sexual abuse. Most counties have local lines, or you can use some of the supplemental resources from the above section.
  • Share Resource Document with Students.
  • Prepare a clearly labeled “anonymous questions” box that can be placed near the exit of the classroom.
  • Hand out blank pieces of paper or index cards for anonymous questions.

During the Lesson

Before starting the slide show, review any anonymous questions from the previous day.

Open Healthy Relationships Slide Show, using the notes at the bottom of the slides for guidance.

Slide 1: Healthy Relationships. Today we’re going to discuss healthy relationships, and two of their main factors: boundaries and mutual consent.

Slide 2: Boundaries - What are they? Our personal boundaries aren’t as obvious as a physical fence or a stop sign, they’re more like invisible bubbles, always shifting, contracting, expanding... and forever subject to change!

Slide 3: Talking about our personal boundaries is essentially a conversation about what we consent or don’t consent to.

By clearly identifying our own boundaries, we have a more clear idea of what we do and don’t want to consent to, and have the ability to relay that information to others. When we are clear about what other people’s boundaries are, we can respect them and ensure we do not harm or violate that person.

Even though personal boundaries can be challenging to navigate at first, setting and communicating boundaries are essential for our health, well-being, and safety. The more we practice these skills, the more natural they become. In fact, we are always practicing and navigating boundaries, whether we know it or not.

Slide 4: To think about it simply:

  • Boundaries are the imaginary line that separates me from you
  • Boundaries can separate our physical space, feelings, needs, responsibilities, etc. from others
  • Boundaries communicate how others can treat us, or what we can do together - what is acceptable and what isn’t.
  • Only YOU can decide what your boundaries are. It’s not up to others!

Slide 5: Boundaries can change

Especially when it comes to sex and intimacy, how we feel can change over time, or vary depending on the day! As time goes on, you might decide you want to try something new, or you may have different partners who are interested in different things. It’s okay to change your mind about what you’re comfortable with.

This can also mean changing your mind about something you used to be comfortable with, but don’t want to do anymore. There’s no reason why you have to continue doing something just because you did it in the past. This applies whether you’re with the same partner or with someone new.

Slide 6: Ask the class:
What are some of the ways you think boundaries show up in your life?
hint… What are some things you have to ask permission for?

Slide 7: “Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.” -Prentis Hemphill

Ask students: What are your thoughts on this quote?

Boundaries help us stay healthy, and have more agency over our lives and what we choose to engage in. Someone with healthy boundaries can say “no” when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships. Someone that has trouble maintaining boundaries may feel obligated or pressured to do things they really don’t want to. When your personal comfort zone is overstepped, your boundaries may have been violated.

Boundaries don’t have to just be thought of as ‘restrictions’ or ‘barriers’ though - they can also be understood as opportunities to invite others to engage with us in healthy ways that feel positive for both parties - isn’t that what we all want?

Slide 8: Consent - Talking about our personal boundaries is essentially a conversation about what we consent to. By clearly identifying our own boundaries, we have a more clear idea of what we do and don’t want to consent to, and have the ability to relay that information to others.  When we are clear about what other people’s boundaries are, we can respect them and ensure we do not harm or violate that person. And even if we have overstepped someone’s boundaries in the past, we can always learn to do better.

Slide 9: FRIES is an acronym that can help us remember components of consent.  It is important for everyone involved to give/receive enthusiastic consent. Enthusiastic consent means everyone is into what’s happening, and shows they’re ready through words and actions. Establishing enthusiastic consent before and throughout sexual activity means everyone is on the same page and having fun together.
Slide 10: Step 1 Determining Boundaries: Reflection exercise  

This image describes an awareness activity going along with breath. It asks the following questions: Remember a time you felt safe and respected, How did your 
body feel? Remember a time when you felt disrespected or someone made you uncomfortable in a small way, How did your body feel? Remember a time you felt disrespected or made uncomfortable in a bigger way How did your 
body feel?  Remember a time you made someone else feel disrespected or uncomfortable. How did your 
body feel?

Ask for volunteers if anyone wants to share a reflection, or how the activity felt for them.

Slide 11: Step 2 Determining Boundaries

Identify your limits: Notice what you can tolerate and accept.

Tune in to your feelings: Feeling discomfort, resentment, and/or guilt can often indicate a need for a boundary. How does productive, learning discomfort feel different from discomfort that warns you a boundary has been crossed?

Consider the different types of boundaries. We can set boundaries for our:

  • personal space
  • sexuality
  • emotions and thoughts
  • stuff or possessions
  • time and energy
  • culture, religion, and personal values

Consider the strength of your boundaries: ‘Red, yellow, and green lights’

Tip: Imagine ways to navigate and enforce your boundaries - what will it look like to successfully enforce a personal boundary with someone else?

Discuss in small groups: and come up with three situations you could uphold a personal boundary in, and three reasons strong personal boundaries can help us have healthier relationships.

Slide 12: How to Set and Hold Boundaries
Identify desired boundaries. This will take space and reflection, everyone has different boundaries. Boundaries can be different for different types of people in your life.

2)Communicate: Say what you need in order for the other person to understand your boundary clearly.

3)Set consequences: What will happen if someone violates your boundaries?

4)Enforce: Put consequences into action or take protective measures when violations happen.

Essentially, Boundaries are our most basic way of communicating to other people what feels good, and not-so-good to us. (We will practice some boundary setting in a bit!)

Slide 13: You always have the right to say NO.

I’m not comfortable with ____
Please don’t do that
I don’t want to do ___ right now
I can’t do that for you
This doesn’t work for me
I’ve decided not to
This is not acceptable
I’m drawing the line at ____
I don’t want to do that

Slide 14:

Now that we’ve covered a lot about consent and boundaries, let’s put some theory into action.  Pass out ‘Situation & Response’ Worksheets and allow students to complete. When done, discuss as a group. Answers will vary, but we have provided some potential answers in the notes section of the slide.

Facilitator note: this can be done as individuals, in small groups, as a large group, or as a homework assignment.

Slide 15: Healthy Relationships

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about boundaries and consent, which are two important characteristics of Healthy relationships. What are other characteristics of a healthy relationship? Let students respond, asking them to explain what each characteristic means to them. When finished, click the slide to bring up the pre-provided list.

Slide 16: Unhealthy Relationships
Now that we know what goes into a healthy relationship, what do you think are some characteristics of unhealthy relationships? Repeat the previous activity with students.

Slide 17: Thank You

Great job everyone! I hope you all learned something today about boundaries, consent, and what makes up a healthy or unhealthy relationship. Does anyone have any questions about anything we’ve covered today? Answer any questions.

After the Lesson

Make sure all absent students are aware of rules class created, as well as the resource list and where they can go should they need additional emotional support.