When your teen refuses to follow

Christmas parties are coming and you might be beginning to worry about your teenager who feels misplaced in family reunions. Should you insist or not?

What should have been a wonderful evening turned into a disaster! Your parents convinced you to go because your cousins would be there but they are not. You ended up being the only teenager there and you are bored. Who will pay for that? Will you sulk? Complain? Whine? Ask your parents to leave? Between you and me, no one must pay for that. It is only a few hours in your long life that has just begun.

You keep mumbling and when it is time to leave, you refuse to thank your hosts. Why? Is it so important to show everyone how disappointed you are? Just thank your hosts and you will be congratulated for your good manners.

Say it loud and clear: Thank you!

Rules of decorum are often forgotten when emotions (such as deception) take over. Here are a few suggestions to avoid another disaster, because there is nothing worse, for hosts than knowing that one of their guests is unhappy!

Tips for teens

It is not impolite to ask your parents to check if other people your age will be present. However, you can survive one night spent with younger children and adults.

  • You can ask your host if you can bring a book or games. They will know right away that you will probably walk away when adults start talking.
  • It is rather rude to bring books and games without asking!
  • You must remain at the table throughout the meal. You should not ask to leave the table before eating your dessert.
  • You can offer your help for service or dishes. If you do so, your gesture will be noticed. If you are not comfortable, quietly tell your parents.
  • You should not play a videogame, talk over the phone or read at the table but you should take advantage of this situation to participate in discussions without stealing the show.
  • Adults should encourage a teen who wants to take part in a discussion. In the past, it was forbidden for a teenager to talk but times have changed. If you are asked to remain quiet, stay calm. Listen to the conversations and you can give your opinion later, at home.
  • This moment with friends is not the right time to send “messages” to your parents. Avoid negotiating while you have witnesses, thinking that it will help you win.


Leaving childhood is being able to understand that we are no longer the center of the world and to accept an equal place without ruining the atmosphere.

Honesty always counts and any adult must understand that a teenager who can stay alone at home will prefer to do so rather than spend a long evening with adults. It is even appropriate for you to tell your child what the hosts represent for you. Never keep information from your teenager because that is how the lack of respect will begin.

Tips for parents
  • As you receive your invitation, it is not rude to ask if there will be other children at the party.
  • Remind your host that you would appreciate being told if guests withdraw so you can tell your child.
  • It is not rude to ask your host if your child can bring games, books or any other item that could entertain them during the evening.
  • It is rather impolite to bring items and games without warning your host!
  • Your child must remain seated throughout the meal. They should not ask to leave the table before having eaten dessert.
  • Do not force your child to do the service or the dishes. They should offer it by themselves.
  • If your host invites your child to leave the table, do not interfere.
  • Teenagers should not play videogames, talk over the phone or read at the table, instead they should take advantage of the situation to discuss with other guests.
  • Adults should never “bully” a teenager who tries to discuss. Even if their opinion is false and they are clumsy, it is best to encourage them and know that it is normal to express a comment in a polite manner.
  • This moment with your friends is not an appropriate time to give “messages” to your child. Always avoid citing your child as a negative example. Whether they are present or not, they could hear if they are in the house.
  • Alcoholic beverages should be consumed with moderation when our children are at the table. Setting an example during dinner will show that you respect their presence and will give you “ammunition” when your child will be drinking too.
  • Do not stay for too long if your child is uncomfortable. You asked them to sacrifice a few hours, it is time to return the favor and leave at a reasonable time.


When you impose an event, make sure to listen to the needs of the other. Paying attention to their comfort will establish complicity and avoid wrongdoing.

Sandra Paré
Public relations and protocol specialist

President of a public relations firm for over 20 years, Sandra Paré is well known in our communications and public relations community. Whether it is for protocol, public, mundane or artistic events, press relations, artistic or cultural promotion or general communication, her specialized expertise is well established.  She is also a lecturer. As such, she gives workshop-conferences in schools (elementary schools and high schools) and in public libraries on various topics such as good manners, decency, politeness and family, school and society dos and don’ts. She wrote two books on the subject.  Savoir-vivre pour les filles c’est facile! Etiquette guide for girls Savoir-vivre pour les garçons c’est facile! Etiquette guide for boys Éditions La Semaine 2011 ISBN: 9782923771434 (girls) ISBN: 9782923771519 (boys) $17.95

This week
Ear infections, antibiotics, and prevention

Becoming a parent also means being acquainted with several small infections encountered during our own childhood. Ear infections are numerous and can leave you having lots of questions. We try to respond to the most frequent ones.

My child is often absentminded!

Do you find yourself often repeating phrases like "Hello? Is anyone there?" ? If so, it seems that your child is often absentminded. Here's how to help your distracted children stay concentrated.

A teenager’s bedroom

Your teenager's bedroom is a disaster. You even invented new words to describe this horrendous place where food and clothes seem to blend into a new kind of carpet but your child doesn't seem to mind. What can you do?

My child is smelly!

Your child is now 6 years old. The innocence of childhood still shines brightly in his or her eyes but… they're smelly! When your child gets hot, you scrunch your nose and smell a tinge of sweat. Are they too young for deodorant?