The Truth About “Rebellious” Behavior

We’ve all seen it in the movies or on TV. “It’s just a phase.” The rebellious teenager is screaming at their parents, coming home late, and raising all types of hell. Coming from a rocky childhood, I was quite the troublesome teenager myself.


Regardless, I managed to get my life and relationships together since then. It still doesn’t change the fact that I did go through a lot of problems; problems that may not have been so bad if the adults around me understood me better and if I knew how to communicate with them properly. Allow me to share some of my experiences. Here are some things that supposed “troubled teens” are trying to tell you.


Programs aren’t Always Well-Meaning

All over the world, there’s some form of a program intended to “fix” the behavior of rebellious teenagers. While it may seem well-meaning at first, many of them are not strictly regulated. Some camps and programs end up not helping the child at all. 


Some of them enforce stricter-than-necessary rules. Some aren’t even equipped for medical or health emergencies that may come up. Others may lack genuine compassion and empathy to connect with children in the camp properly. While it may sound good on paper, not many of us seem to have enjoyed our experience really, nor did we learn much from it.


We Need You to Listen

Often, the reason we act out is that we feel like you’re mistreating us. Admittedly, there are times where we’re in the wrong. There are times when we refuse to believe that we’re wrong. However, there are also times when we feel like some compromise could have at least been made.


Many of us feel as if we’re being cuddled too much; treated like children. We feel like it’s us vs. you, instead of all of us being on the same side. We’re not asking that you let us do whatever we want, but sometimes, maybe something can be worked out. Good communication is key.


Moreover, there are times when we need you to listen even if we don’t say anything. What I mean is we aren’t always the best in expressing ourselves – we’re still learning. There are going to be times that we need you to kind of feel out what we’re thinking and feeling. We need to know that you’re there for us, even when we mess up.


We Take it Out on Ourselves Too

I’m not sure if this is something everyone goes through. However, a lot of the teens I’ve met and stayed with all have this in common. When parents or guardians call us out for our behavior, we might show anger and rebellion to them. 


Likewise, we also take it out on ourselves. Instead of finding a way to solve whatever issues we may have, we tend to fixate on ourselves being wrong or not good enough. When talking to your teens about something they might have done wrong, try to talk to them calmly. Remind them that making mistakes is okay, but that we also have to be held accountable for them. Do this constructively, not spitefully.


It’s Partially Biological

If you try hard to think back, I’m sure you had a somewhat “rebellious phase” too. Whether you acted on the urges you had or not, you still had the calls. Some researchers have shown that this may have a biological aspect to it. Hormones are at high levels. 


Similarly, teens are taught to be more productive later in the day, rather than early in the morning. Being forced to get up soon and go to school may add to us being irritable.


Experiences Stick With Us

Although some of his theories have been debunked, Freud was right about at least one thing: childhood experiences stick with us. Some of us never grow out of our “rebellious phase.” 


Adolescence plays a massive role in eventual molding adults. Values, habits, and routines established then affect us in some way into adulthood. It’s important to help your teens get a grip on what they’re going through. You may even try having a relationship counseling with your teens to understand more one another.


Never let them feel like you’re against them and that they’re facing their struggles on their own. Even if their issues may seem small to adults, young and naïve teenagers see it as a huge struggle to overcome already – and they have the right to think so.

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