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Starting Conversations About Boundaries with Steven Universe

In our work with sexual assault survivors and in the community, we know it can be helpful to explore the topic of boundaries. This tip provides a fun and engaging way to start conversations about boundaries with young people.

Steven Universe is a cartoon that is loved by children, teens, and adults alike. The cartoon follows a young boy named Steven and his unconventional family of alien “crystal gems.” This TV show explores many different values-oriented topics which can be useful for support groups, advocacy sessions, workshops, and presentations in the sexual assault field. Since the episodes are about ten minutes long, they make an excellent “self-care break” and can also be used to start discussions. Clips can also be shown during shorter presentations to illustrate a particular point or whole episodes could be screened during a support group session with popcorn as a way to break the ice and get participants thinking about a particular topic.

Tips For Facilitators

  • Watching the TV show and becoming familiar with the characters and plot will help you more easily create context for participants before showing the episode.

  • To get you started, we’ve selected one episode that explores boundaries. The episode "Kiki’s Pizza Delivery Service" is currently available to watch for free. You can watch it here.

Kiki’s Pizza Delivery Service, Season 3 Episode 13

In this episode, Steven helps his friend Kiki with a reoccurring nightmare by entering into her dreams and defeating a pizza monster. Night after night he continues to enter her dreams and help her and becomes depleted by his efforts. Eventually he lets her know that he can only help her one last time and supports her in discovering the reason for her nightmare—that she needs to learn to say no to her sister’s repeated requests for Kiki to cover her shifts so that Kiki can have a balance of work and play in her life.

Show this episode to introduce the topic of boundaries in a support group or with an ongoing educational / prevention group with youth. Group discussion for this episode can include questions like:

  • How did Steven handle the situation when he realized that helping Kiki was depleting him?

  • What did you like about how he handled the situation (was it kind, direct, etc.)?

  • Would you have done anything differently? (Said something earlier, etc.)

  • How did Kiki respond when Steven set a boundary with her?

  • What did you like about her response? What would you have done differently?

  • Can you think of a time when something was depleting you and you were able to set a boundary with that person? What worked for you?

  • What happens to Kiki once she talks honestly with her sister about what she needs?

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Reviewed: April 20th, 2017