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Teenage Rebellion

By Megha Sharma in Clinical Psychology

Oct 13 , 2021 | 1 min read

Teenage Rebellion Isn't What Used to Be — Here's How to Deal

Teenage rebellion and defiance are hallmarks of adolescence and can be difficult waters to navigate for families. Luckily, as with toddlers, in most cases, it's just a phase!

Causes of Teenage Rebellion

Adolescence is hard. Beginning as early as 9 years old, once happy and loving kids may begin to experience a bit of angst and chafing at being treated like a child. A flood of new hormones and a developing prefrontal cortex are at the center of the hurricane, resulting in mood swings, heightened emotional responses, an increase in arguing, and that infamous preteen/teen attitude.

Best Ways to Deal with Teenage Rebellion

"Let go of the temptation to control your teen. The teenage brain craves risks and must feel independence in order to grow confidently. Now's the time to be less controlling, but still involved emotionally."

Practical tips for parents of teens:

  1. Don't stress out: Adolescence is a time of separation from parental norms and the development of self-identity resulting in strained relationships and autonomous decision-making that goes against most values and family beliefs. Essentially, your child is trying to come into their own.
  2. Establish boundaries: that allow them to feel empowered to make choices while clearly understanding the consequences.
  3. Stay consistent: with your rules and structure for your home.
  4. Be open: Offer times to have family meetings where ideas can be expressed nonjudgmentally.
  5. Check in: Provide daily check-ins where you spend at least 3-5 minutes checking in with them about their day.
  6. Evaluate punishments: Make sure punishments fit the behavior and try not to over-punish where it no longer has an effect on your child. Remember to reward appropriate behaviour too ; )
  7. Be a united front: If you have a spouse, make sure both of you are on the same page.
  8. Address the behavior without bashing your child: You want to continue to build their self-esteem and self-worth and not give them a reason to consider you an enemy.

The main thing to keep in mind is that balancing a healthy relationship with your teen and the need to make them feel safe enough to express themselves is the primary goal in managing unpredictable and often unnerving behavior and making it out of the teen years unscathed.