7 tips for parents of rebellious teens

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Robert Maurer
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7 tips for parents of rebellious teens

Last update: 23 November 2017

If your children are rebellious teenagers, know that this is a common situation for many parents. Adolescence is an important phase of individual growth that creates the basis for defining our identity.

Many families usually do not accept - or do so reluctantly - this independence process during adolescence, continuing to see their children as children. On the other hand, however, it is common for the adolescent to feel able or show greater initiative in initiating this “family disconnection”, an obligatory step on the path of independence or autonomy (Lamas 2007). It is also true, however, that sometimes our children turn into rebellious teenagers.



It is in this context that most of the conflicts between adolescents and their parents begin. At this age, adolescents find a sounding board for their discomfort in extra-family contexts, but at the same time also another source of frustration, having difficulty in relating intelligently.

In this sense, it is essential that the family help the adolescent in his life plan, teaching and planning together with him / her effective strategies that allow him to improve relations with the outside world. Sometimes adults forget that adolescents, in part, do not stop being children interacting in increasingly complex contexts. However, we cannot treat them as such, and this is precisely where the difficulty lies.

The interest in exploring strategies independently is what leads the adolescent to behave strangely, trying to find his place in that world that slowly begins to open before his eyes. Let's not forget that at this age they do not master many strategies for relating in external environments. Thus, they often end up feeling lost, but at the same time they don't want to receive help that compromises the independence they are struggling to earn.



It may happen that children adopt family strategies by becoming “prefabricated” adolescents, or that they cut off from what they have been taught looking for their own identity. Accompanying them in this process is essential for adolescence to remain what it should be: simply a transition from childhood to adulthood.. If the family is too rigid in this process, they are likely to find themselves struggling with a rebellious adolescence.

"There are no problematic teenagers, only children who have suffered growing up"

The family structure of rebellious adolescents

To demonstrate the influence of family structure in the origin and maintenance of the problem, Fishman's description of rebellious adolescents is used (Lamas 2007). The rebellious adolescent grows up in a family structure characterized by permeable boundaries and limits, which manifests itself in the fact that family members are strongly interconnected.

In these families, everyone knows everything about everyone. The permeable borders make these families follow the advice that comes to them from the outside. The low level of hierarchical structure typical of these family structures worsens the problem, since the children are the members who have the power within the family.

Sometimes, these guys respond to frustrations with excessive anger and build very passionate relationships with their peers and boyfriends, made of intense love, jealousy and breakup followed by ostentatious reconciliations. This frustration intolerance can lead kids to be confrontational rebels.

Several learning theories, particularly that of behavioral learning, argue that the best thing to raise healthy and problem-free teenagers is to give them a childhood where there are achievements, but also challenges and frustrations. If we have never let our children feel frustrated by not getting something, we will have educated monsters of selfishness. who feel entitled to have everything for the simple fact of existing, and who can become rebellious teenagers.



This parenting style is increasingly common. S.It seems that if we can give everything to our children, then we are better parents. But nothing is further from reality. If we educate children in the culture of inability, when they reach adolescence, they will not understand our new purposes, becoming problematic adolescents and tyrants.

"Young people have always had the same problem: how to rebel and conform at the same time"
-Quentin Crisp-

7 Tips for Parents of Rebellious Teenagers

The aim of this section is not to offer “expert advice”, but to encourage parents to find connection and meeting point with their children. Not all suggestions are valid for the same family or for the same teenager; not even for the same family and the same teenager at different times. For this reason, it is necessary for the reader to investigate the circumstances most favorable to their application.

First, let's remember that if we have a positive relationship with the adolescent, it will be easier for him / her to be a positive influence (and even negative if we don't behave the right way). If not, we will always have the option to build it. For this purpose, it is essential to know his characteristics and her interests, because thanks to them we will be able to tune in with him / her. In other words, to get closer to your children, it is best to know where you are moving.

Let's look at these 7 general ideas that can help us deal with rebellious teens:


Establish limits

There must be rules in family life to be respected. It is equally important for the teen to know what the consequences of breaking these rules are.

Invest time and energy

To improve children's education, time and energy must be invested. If we do this, the chances that we are in control of the situation increase dramatically.


Be firm in decisions

Don't hesitate to maintain a consistent lifestyle with that one teaches. We must lead by example and show the benefits of behaving correctly.

Avoid comparisons

Constantly comparing yourself with siblings or friends can damage the self-concept to the point that kids take a challenging attitude because of this.

Avoid unnecessary pressure

Teens need to have their own goals. Adults must accompany the processes of choice, but they must not push their children to achieve the goals they have not been able to achieve.

Accept that children are not perfect

If our child fails, he must accept the consequences, even if it hurts and we feel obliged to protect him.

Be honest with them

Sincerity is a tool we don't usually use a lot with kids / teens. Family relationships are hierarchical to the point that we sometimes avoid some of the most effective techniques for getting closer to teens.

In summary, adolescents are almost simultaneously wary and naive, enthusiastic and apathetic, communicative and closed, protective and risk-loving. This means that many teenagers are a pure contradiction with very rich shades, which is why they manage to mislead us so much.

Most of them care about their social image, either directly or trying to show that they don't care what others think. They appreciate the help, but above all the trust and the possibility of making mistakes. In this sense, it is often not necessary to be afraid for them, but simply to accompany them.

Teenage children seem the hardest to educate, but if you can, the teachings will last a lifetime.

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