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Where has my sweet, happy child has disappeared to? Why does my teenager reject everything I say? Why is my child so argumentative or defiant? These are some of the many questions, you as a parent of a rebellious teenager might be asking yourself right now. These teenage years can be a very rough time for both the teenager and the parent's of a teenager. Rebellion is a method teenagers use to help them pronounce their independence and individuality.

Why do teenagers rebel?

It's normal for a teen to show a little bit of rebellion now and again. Teenage rebellion which is constant, interferes with normal daily functioning and is destructive to themselves and others calls for much more attention. Teenagers rebel for a variety of reasons: 

  • Discovering their identities - Teenagers are at a point in their lives when they are trying to figure out who they are as a person, their likes/dislikes and what they will be doing for the rest of their lives. They use this time to test and try out many identities until they find one they are most comfortable with. 
  • Independence - These years are a constant struggle between dependence and independence. Rebellious teens want to have total independence and prove to you that they can do things themselves. At the same time, they are overwhelmed and still desire parental protection. 
  • Hormonal changes - As teenagers bodies are changing, hormone fluctuations can bring about all sorts of mood changes. 
  • Peer pressure - Some forms of rebellion can begin with pressure from peers to join in various destructive behaviors.

In what forms do teenagers rebel?

How your teen chooses to rebel, depends on their own individual feelings and problems. Some forms may include: 

  • Spending more time with friends away from family members 
  • Rejection of rules/curfews 
  • School problems - cutting classes, missing school, drop in grades 
  • Substance abuse - experimenting with alcohol and illicit drugs 
  • Change in appearance/interests - trying out new clothing styles, hairstyles, tastes in music 
  • Argumentative - quick to anger, overly defenseless 
  • Running away from home

How can you prevent teenage rebellion?

Preventing all forms of teenage rebellion can be a difficult chore as some of this behavior is a normal process of growing up. Keeping the dangerous forms under control is necessary though in order to avoid further problems from developing. If your teenager is showing harmful rebellious behavior, further treatment with a mental health professional should be sought. Rebellion could be due to another underlying problem. As parents, the following methods can be helpful in keeping rebellion at a minimum.

  • Keep an open relationship with your teenager - Let them know that they can always come to you with their problems, under any circumstances. If your rebellious teenager feels the need to be alone, give them some space to work out their problems by themselves first. 
  • Don't be too harsh with criticism - Teenagers like to experiment with their individuality to discover who they are. As long as it is not harmful, let them try out new things. Give your opinion, but don't criticize. 
  • Set up some reasonable house rules - If your rules are to strict, your rebellious teen might feel the need to break them. Give your teenagers some say in home of these rules and curfews so that they feel some ownership over them. 
  • Punishments should be fair - Set reasonable consequences for broken rules as unfair punishments can create further rebellion. 
  • Try not to argue with your rebellious teen - Yelling and arguing with your rebellious teen about your differences only sets a bad example of how to deal with problems. Try to approach the matter at hand in a calm fashion. If that cannot be done, give yourselves some space for a while and talk about it at a later time once tempers diminish.

Rebellious Teens Sources: 

  • med.umich.edu
  • boloji.com
  • childrenshospital.org
 
 Rebellious Teens: Related Pages
 
  • Discipline - Help for Parents of Teens
  • Does Your Teen Need Help
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