by: Christina Botto
Teenagers are rebellious, but disrespect and oppositional behavior should have consequences.
During adolescence teenagers start to create their own personality separate from their parents. The easiest way for teens to do this is to defy their parents and to begin to do things their way.
Parents are often taken by surprise, because until now their child wanted to please them - but teenage rebellion is a natural progression on the course to adulthood.
Often parents take normal teenage rebellion (not complying with their requests) as a form of disrespect, and that can lead to constant conflict, since the teen wants independence, and the parents want compliance.
A few examples of normal teenage Rebellion
- Complaining about homework assignments - “They’re stupid.”
- The music you listen to is so “old fashioned.”
- Not wanting to be seen with you in public.
How to deal with normal teenage rebellion
- Disregard the attitude and focus on the actions
- Let them know what is expected of them
- Do not take your teenagers rebellion personal! It is a normal stage and has absolutely nothing to do with you or what you do
- Accept that your teen will spend more time with friends away from family members
- Be careful with criticism. Teenagers like to experiment with their individuality to discover who they are. They may want the same hairstyle as their favorite celebrity and dress ‘strange.’ You can always express your opinion, but don’t criticize them for trying different things, or worse, make fun of them.
- Treat your teen as an individual. Allow your teen to develop their identity. A teenager may become resentful if he feels that he cannot be independent. As long as your teen’s behavior is not harmful, let them try out new things.
- Ignore the sighing, eye rolling, and complaining – teenagers are working on developing opinions, and this is just a clumsy way of expressing them.
- Strengthen your authority
- Allow your teen to express his or her frustration. Teens are pulling away from you to follow their ideas. They will be frustrated with having to adhere to your rules and limits, and say things like “I hate living here” or “Your rules are stupid.”
- Don’t allow your teenager to pull you into an argument
Adolescence is a time of insecurity and discovery. Your teen acts like an adult without knowing how to actually deal with problems.
How you can lessen the impact of teenage rebellion
Rules and Limits
Most teens see the act of setting rules and limits as a sign that the parent cares about them. In addition, most teens know their limitations and appreciate your guidance and direction. Limits give them a safe environment that they can expand on.
Discuss – don’t lecture
Teens wish that they could discuss their fears and discouragements with their parents, but most of them learned not to communicate openly in order to avoid a lecture, maybe even ridicule.
Be a caring parent, not a friend
Teens respect their parents’ life experience and look to you their parents for advice and help, especially in tough situations.
Teens also look for role models to look up to and imitate and you are their first choice. They will respect you even more if sometimes you must say no.
Don’t give in when you shouldn’t, don’t compromise and spoil just to stay on your adolescent child’s ‘good side’.
Really get to know your teen
Any parent can list the likes and dislikes of their children, but what about their ideals and hopes? How does your teen act with their friends? What are their interests? Take the time to get to know your teen as a person, just like you would a family member you meet for the first time.
Spend more time with your teen
You may be surprised to hear that teens actually want to spend more time with their parents. Some families’ schedules are too hectic to allow for real family time, but your teen can tell when he’s just squeezed into an already busy day.
Teens are so insecure and doubtful of themselves and setting aside time to spend with your teen makes your teen feel wanted and important. It also provides a safe environment where your teen can be him or herself, a stark contrast to the constant pressure of holding up appearances with their friends.
Teens don’t automatically know how to become responsible adults. In order to actually grow up instead of just acting grown up, your teen needs your guidance and advice.
Give your teen more responsibility
As your confidence in your teen’s ability increases, assign more responsibility and duties to your teen. This helps your teen to feel important and gain confidence in themselves and their abilities.
Harmful Teenage Rebellion and Disrespect
Disrespectful teenagers will:
- Be rude
- Get loud
- Get abusive
If your teenager gets rude, threatens, or physically hurts you or any other family member, it needs to be dealt with immediately.
Examine your family's circumstances and other problems that may be contributing to a teenager's disrespectful behavior.
Substance abuse, depression and chronic family fighting could encourage disrespectful behavior; addressing these underlying problems by talking it out as a family or seeing a family counselor could reduce disrespectful behavior.
Do not tolerate abusive behavior. If you are faced with a potentially violent situation, take action and call Police. Tolerating abusive behavior only makes your teenager more angry and disrespectful.
The book thus far has been very validating. As I read each chapter I find myself thinking yeah my son says that or does that. It really helps put things in perspective. The tips to improve the relationships between parent and child are very logical and easy to apply. –Melissa Hendrickson, Sedro Woolley, WA
While reading this book, I felt that the real stories the author shared helped me in realizing I'm not alone and that so many other parents were dealing with the same thing. The book helped me in approaching problems with my daughter in a different way. –Mary Faett, reston, va
I hope you all can get this email to Christina. I am the father of a 16 year old son. Last night he and I had an episode. I went to the net, looking for articles on parenting angry teenagers. I saw a short article on Christina's book and bought it in a matter of seconds. I read most of it last night. It's as though she was describing me and my son. Her book is fantastic. Thank you for the insight, Christina. –Clifford Williams,Baton Rouge, LA
Christina has been such a help to me raising my son. He and I now have clearly defined roles and boundaries, and we are closer than ever. Thank you Christina for your advice, your patience, and your grace. –Timothy Ready, ocala, fl
Botto's book helped me understand my son better. Instead of getting angry at him, I now meet him with love and compassion. Our relationship is improving every day. I feel that I am a much better dad to my son by giving him the support he needs. I recommend this book to any parent of a teen. –anthony cardez, raleigh, nc