. Discipline - Manitoba Parent Zone | Healthy Child Manitoba


Many parents aren't sure how to discipline a teen. The best way to discipline a teen is through talking and setting rules. It is never okay to physically punish a teenager; in fact, it is against the law in Canada to hit a child – hitting is assault.

It is important to have clear expectations, boundaries and rules with consistent consequences when expectations are not met or rules are broken. If your teen understands the rules and consequences, there should be no room for confusion. Given an age-appropriate amount of responsibility and independence, your teen should be expected to follow your house rules.

It is also very important that you stick to the set consequences when your teen does not follow the house rules. Disciplining our children is hard to do, especially when our children are upset, but stay strong! If you don't follow through with a consequence, your teen will come to believe that rules don't really have to be followed because you don't really follow the consequences.

In the same way you would take away a privilege or toy from a misbehaving younger child, so too should you follow through with your teen. There are many options for consequences, but you and your teen will know which will be the most effective. Even if it means your life is busier, it may be the best option to remove driving privileges, for example. Or perhaps you can reduce phone, computer, television or friend time.

A great communication tool for families with children of all ages is the family meeting. This should be done at a time when everyone is relaxed and calm. Everyone should be allowed to talk about things going on during the week or things that have been bothering them. Of course, there are some rules that help make the meeting run as smoothly as possible.

  1. Think about using a talking stick – any easily-held object – while speaking. This is a visual reminder that it is this person's turn to talk.
  2. There will be no interruptions, whining, complaining, or name calling.
  3. Everyone gets a chance to talk.
  4. This should be a positive meeting. There will be negative things that need to be said and dealt with, but the overall feeling should be positive. If the meetings are always negative, no one will want to attend and the value of this communication tool will be lost.
  5. Think about having everyone praise one another at the end of every meeting. Maybe you will tell your teen that you have appreciated his help with dishes in the evening. Or maybe you can acknowledge your teen's hard work on his homework. Whatever you choose to say, ending the meeting on a positive note will encourage everyone to feel good and keep your family communicating.

If you'd like to learn more about positive discipline and behaviour management techniques, click on the link to Manitoba's Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), a website that has lots of good information for parents. You can also call the Triple P help line to ask questions, or join the Triple P program in your neighbourhood, at 204-945-4777 in Winnipeg or toll free 1-877-945-4777.