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Consent in College

Young adults can find it incredibly challenging to say no and to accept no.

They are more independent than they have ever been and it’s scary for them to have to start making life-changing decisions on their own. Being rejected, from a job, a romantic partner, or a school can bring up very intense emotions. Needing to say no to an opportunity, or a friend, or to those guys hawking credit cards in the student union can be incredibly challenging. Young adults are making these choices everyday all the time without realizing it, so helping them focus their attention on the choices they make all the time may help them be more mindful of how and when they say no. Helping them identify their values and beliefs is one of the best ways to help them be more mindful in their decision making. Talking to them about decision making strategies such as, doing a pros and cons list or developing a problem-solving style, can help them understand how they come to their decisions which can then help them act on their choice. Focusing on communication strategies and teaching them to say no in a lot of different ways can be a part of this discussion. 

  • They understand the concept of consent
  • They can accept rejection
  • They are able to identify their emotional reactions
  • They can identify their values
  • They are able to understand how the other individual will feel in a social interaction 
  • They can use assertive skills to say no
  • They can identify their decision-making process
  • They can use a lot of different ways to excuse themselves from situations
  • They can use humor to say no
  • They can change the subject when they are uncomfortable
  • They can avoid situations
  • They can garner support to help get out of situations

What you can do:

  • Model appropriate refusal skills
  • Talk about consent
  • Discuss the emotional reactions that can come up in response to refusal
  • Discuss decision making and value-based choices
  • Practice how to regulate strong emotions
  • Focus on developing appropriate communication strategies
  • Remind them about empathy and taking into consideration how the other person will feel
  • Place value on setting good boundaries
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