Dealing with Teenage Rebellion

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It’s a time-honored tradition: kids rebel against their parents in their teenage years. It’s a rite of passage, of sorts. You may feel that once your child hits their teenage years, they turn from loving, appreciative kids to demanding, smart mouth monsters. And while it can be frustrating and even scary for parents, it’s important to remember that this stage actually a good thing. Why? Because teenage rebellion is a normal part of development. It’s how teens learn to assert their independence and become the adults they’re destined to be.

Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier for parents to deal with. So, what’s the best way to handle teenage rebellion?

During this time, you may struggle to keep control of your teen, while trying to keep peace in your house. While some teenagers only talk back and ignore household rules, others may do more drastic things like break the law and experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Teenagers rebelling smoking

Don’t Take it Personally

The first thing to remember is that you shouldn’t take it personally. Your teen is not rebelling against you specifically; they’re rebelling against authority in general. They’re trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world. And unfortunately, that means that they’re going to push back against anything and everything that they see as restrictive or confining.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you should just sit back and let your teen do whatever they want. They still need boundaries and limits in order to stay safe and healthy. The key is to find a balance between giving them the freedom to explore and experiment and providing them with the guidance and structure they need to stay on track.

Teenager with her Mum who is upset with her

Choose your Battles

While no part of disrespecting parents and breaking rules is acceptable, you might want to choose your battles. It may be better to let some of the arguing and talking back slide and only punish the serious things. Let your child know that experimenting with life is OK, but breaking the law is not.

Stick to the rules of the house. Make sure that they know the rules and preset consequences with them. If they decide to break the rules, they know what their punishment is beforehand. Stick to those rules because consistency is very important while raising children. If the boundaries are firmly set, they will be less likely to break them.

Give them praise

Remember to praise your teen and focus on their accomplishments. They may be getting older but they will still love to know you are proud of them. Encourage them to do well in school and any other extracurricular activity they are involved in. Reward them for good grades by either money or extra privileges. This will also encourage positive behavior.

Don’t criticize their new-found style. You may not like the way they dress or the hair style they are insisting on wearing but you will need to save the criticism for much larger issues. Just make sure what they are wearing is appropriate for the occasion and let it go.

Give them space

Let your child take responsibility for their own actions. Give them the chance to make their own mistakes and learn from them. If the situation is dangerous or illegal, then obviously step in but for things such as when they are running late for school, you can let them deal with a consequence from their school such as detention.

Give your child space and let them deal with their own problems. Let them know that you are here to talk but step back. If they need you, they will let you know. If not, don’t push them. They will only resent you.

Teenager sitting on couch contemplating

Dealing with teenage rebellion can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that it’s normal and even healthy behavior. Rebellion usually peaks during the teen years and then starts to dissipate as they move into young adulthood.

So, although it can be tough to deal with in the moment, know that it’s only temporary. Eventually, your teen will outgrow this phase and mature into a responsible adult. The best way to handle it is to find a balance between giving your teen freedom and setting boundaries. Remember, too, that this phase will eventually end so try not to take things too personally in the meantime!

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