“The young always have the same problem – how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.” – Quentin Crisp
As a parent, handling your rebellious teen might prove to be a difficult task. Nevertheless, good parenting during this phase of adolescent development can be crucial to ensuring that both you and your child develop a relationship of trust and mutual understanding in later years. If you are a parent currently raising a pubescent teen, here are a few things you can keep in mind.
1. Understand That Rebellion Is Part Of The Process
It is through the period of rebellion that teenagers begin to form an individual sense of self and identity. Teenage rebellion may manifest in several ways which may include getting into trouble at school, a drop in grades, questioning figures of authority, etc. If you notice your teen acting out, don’t be unreasonably strict on them. Understand that they are essentially trying to express themselves or gain peer acceptance.
2. Communication Is Key
Try and spend quality time with your teen on a daily basis discussing events at school or how they feel about certain new things they may have experienced. Open, honest communication may help your teen perceive you as someone who is on their side and not a figure of authority that they have to rebel against. Encourage your teen to express themselves in words so that they are able to better understand why they may have done something the way they did.
3. Providing Positive Guidance
In many cases, it’s possible for the rebellion to get out of hand. It could even border on criminal or self-destructive actions. Your teen may for example, want to experiment with drugs or perform acts of vandalism. Although understanding rebellion to be a part of the process in essential, it is also equally important to keep in mind that your teen is in need of firm positive guidance during this time. Express your dissatisfaction towards any such rebellious behavior assertively and ensure to not lose your cool while you do it. Reacting emotionally or violently to a situation like this might be counterproductive and might cause your teen to want to rebel more.
4. Talk To Your Teen About Taking Responsibility
‘Responsible teenagers’ might come across as an oxymoron to some, but it is during this period of adolescence that important lessons are learned. By encouraging your teen to take up small jobs, team sports, or community service activities, you indirectly provide them with opportunities to learn about responsibility. These lessons play a crucial role when it comes to engaging in rebellious behaviors as teens may be able to better judge the consequences of their actions and take up responsibility for it.
5. Discussing Common Issues With Your Adolescent
Discussing common experiences that your adolescent is likely to go through like peer pressure, body image, self-esteem, first crushes and puberty as a whole, provides a healthy environment for your teen to understand that what they are experiencing is completely normal. It is also essential for them to see you as someone they can approach during times of distress.
6. Embracing Your Teen’s Unique Sense Of Individuality
It is essential for parents of pubescent teens to embrace their teen’s unique sense of individuality. Your children aren’t going to grow up to be replicas of you and in many cases, they may even disagree on a lot of the values you hold closely to your heart. This often tends to upset parents as they may have held onto an expectation for their children to grow up to be like them. Understanding and accepting that adolescence is the period of time that your teen begins to exercise their independence, can help your teen see you as someone they can trust.