5 Reasons Why Your Teen is Rebelling

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Teenage rebellion is nothing new. Rebellious children have been around since the first children inhabited the earth.  Remember Cain and Abel? So, what should you do about it?  Run from the battle? Raise the white surrender flag in defeat? Go to war with guns a blazing? None of those things will accomplish very much and may end up killing your relationship with your child. Instead, it’s important to first get a handle on why your teen may be rebelling. Understanding why your teen is rebelling is foundational to understanding what we should do about it.  In today’s blog, I’m going to talk about the “Why?” Tomorrow, we’ll address the “What?”

Here are 5 reasons why your teen may be rebelling:

Struggle for Identity.

Your teen is trying to answer the question, “Who am I?”  During the teen years, our children struggle to figure out who they really are and why they are here.  It’s important during this time for parents to help children understand their immeasurable value because of who they are, not for what they do. A mom and dad should help their kids understand the difference between identity and image.

Struggle for Acceptance.

Remember trying to be cool in order to fit in? It’s the same today. Teens still want to be part of the crowd, they want a sense of belonging, and they still feel the pressure to do what everyone else is doing. In the movie “What a Girl Wants,” teenage Daphne is trying to be someone she’s not and is really struggling with it. At one point, her boyfriend asks, “Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out?”  While understanding our children’s need for acceptance, let’s help them understand that it’s good to be different. Encourage them to be different, to have the courage to do what’s right, and the conviction to stand out in the crowd.

Struggle for Attention.

Often teens want others to notice them. They’re silently saying, “Hey, look at me!” And sometimes, they’ll do almost anything for attention.  As parents, we need to do everything we can to give our kids attention by being available when they need us.  A father or mother who is always working and not paying attention to their child will find a child who seeks attention in many wrong places and in many wrong ways. Fathers, especially, need to let their daughters know they are beautiful inside and out. And they need to let their sons know they’ve got what it takes.

Struggle for Control.

When our children are younger, we are in complete control of just about everything they do—what they eat, what they wear, where they go and who they are with.  As they get older, our children want to make more and more decisions for themselves and don’t want mom or dad always telling them what to do.  We need to show our children that they will have more control over their decision-making to the extent that we can trust them to make wise decisions.  Trust is earned over time.

Struggle for Freedom.

If you have teens, you’ve probably heard something like, “I just want some freedom.” While teens say they want total freedom and independence, they still want to, and need to, rely upon us for certain things.  As parents, we need to allow them to experience more freedom as they get older, but only as they learn a very important point: freedom comes with responsibility.

If you’ve ever dealt with your teenager rebelling, or are currently dealing with it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you handled the situation. Please share your comments with me below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Daera B. Dee Rarua

    My son got so drunk one night and wanted to charge at me because i was so upset… But I thank God that that evening My Silence was so very Helpful that tamed him so down regardless of all the bad words he used on me and also which made him realise and was weeping very hard with a hundred apologies….

  • Daera B. Dee Rarua

    Very True Indeed… We must love our children the way they are… and yes we are only parents to guide them in the right track… But true discipline must start from us, we must model properly in order for our children to follow… Not tell them to do the right thing and yet we are still doing the wrong!

  • duckie

    I don’t know why I keep breaking their rules, but it hurts so badly when I see I’ve caused them disappointment. It’s just that the leash is so short, it feels like I’m being set up for failure.

  • Crystal Clear to Me Now

    duckie – If you care enough to be crushed when you see you’ve hurt them, then you know that they institute boundaries out of love and for your protection; not to frustrate you. I remember for myself and then seeing it in my own kids, we had one face for our folks and another for our friends. When forced to choose, the friends typically won. I wonder if it was because we knew our folks would love us even if we hurt them. You will be an adult far longer than you will be a minor. It’s important that a good foundation is set. One of my sons met his now best friend because the friend was not going to a party where he knew there would be drinking. My son hung out with him instead and they are best friends still at almost 30. Maybe someone secretly needs you to set the bar!

  • danger

    I look at it as putting up bricks between the parents and the kids every time they disagree on something, and bricks make walls. Why would anybody want to put walls between you and your kids or viscera?

  • Solmon’s tongue

    Well you act as if you are perfect, doctor. As well as acting like you know what it is like now. Your day and time is long dead. Not everything can be analyzed by scientific and scholarly knowledge. Rebellion is our forced way to show individuality from the decrepit social standards of your decadent past. By midnight tonight I will have turned 17 years old. I have lived sixteen years repressing my likes because of not fitting in, and with a hellish rage the internet became the outlet to spread my message not of rebellion, but of courage and inspiration

  • Jean Yeo

    I dun know why… but I do know that I’m in rebellious state. it’s like when they start nagging, you just get very annoyed and think they don’t love you etc. like they show love to your older siblings other than you. you get the feeling that you start to hate this family more and more. when they started to say things like confiscating our phone, it makes us get the feeling they they want to gain control over us…
    she will only threaten me by crying and say I don’t love her at all. How is it that I have to keep showing my love when I myself don’t feel any love from her?
    She will only praise my older sibling and praise other kids. yet me? she will only say I’m just a lazy pig when I feel that for this year, I gone out every single day just to study. and when I go out, she give that kind of suspicious feeling towards me.
    she doesn’t trust me at all. I just feel that I want to be in a quiet place, peaceful place, place where she understands me, give me encouragement whenever I need, give me a sense of trust, don’t keep using confiscate phone as threat. that’s all I feel I want.

  • Reed

    MB, My heart breaks for you and your family. But I am so encouraged by your response to surrender this situation to God. It’s not an easy thing to do. I will pray for you and for the strength to continue to give this up to God each and every day. I will pray for a door to open that will allow for healthy communication between you and your daughter and her father.
    And I will pray for God to transform your daughter’s heart—that her eyes may be open to your great love for her and that she may seek you out to rekindle a relationship with you. Thank you for sharing your story. Keep on keeping on. And during this time of waiting, I encourage you to pray without ceasing for your daughter. This blog might be of some
    help! http://www.susanme.com/pray-or-panic/

  • jb

    so true…

  • Michael lubangco

    My parents always discourage me,and physicaly/emotionaly hurts me that’s why now I’m wasted

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Aw, sorry 🙁 You’re clearly her parents, but she’s probably just feeling sad about how she ended up being given up for adoption and is wondering who she is (genetically) and where she came from. How do you feel about letting her do DNA testing with a company like 23andMe, so she can try to get in touch with her birthparents or other blood relatives?