History repeats itself and it has a funny way of getting back at you.
Once upon a time, you were hard-headed, stubborn and a brat. You made your mom cry out of anger and your dad had to ground you for your disrespectful actions. You didn’t understand it then. Why would you? You were a teenager who has parents that controlled everything you do – at least, that’s what you thought. And now that you’re a parent and struggling to raise a teenager, you go back to the time when you were just 15 and rebellious. The behavior you displayed back then is the same behavior that your teenager is showing to your face right now. Are you surprised?
Suzanne Phillips, PsyD said “Some parents are so worried by the problems their teen seems to have—that they abdicate their role as partner to become the vigilant parent.
Take a step back and breathe. There are reasons why your teenager is acting this way and it’s not about you being as a bad parent. Would you believe that teenage rebellion is a normal phase of life? Accept that reality and move on.
It would be healthy for you to encourage your teenager to cope with his rebellious behavior. It is not to be tolerated, but before you explode and get furious, you need to understand the reasons why. Bite your tongue, if you must. This challenging phase will be over and your child will see you in a better light and curb his behavior.
Reason #1 – Identity Issues
Growing up, you always thought of who you really are. People will tell you things like you have similar facial features with your dad but your personality is a mix between your mom and dad. With that, a teenager will always ask – am I a shadow of my parents?
If you remember back then, you have struggled with this fact, as well. And now, your son or daughter is experiencing the same. Your teenager is trying to figure out who he or she really is and by doing that, by trying to get out of your shadow, he or she may display a rebellious attitude.
Be understanding and tell your teenager that he can be whoever he wants to be and that he has your support. Tell him that he is valuable as his own person and commend him of his positive traits. In that way, your child will feel understood and important.
“Teens hate to be told what to do,” says Fran Walfish, PsyD.
Reason #2 – Acceptance Issues
Teenagers want to belong and often times, it is to be with the “cool” kids or the “popular” crew. While fitting in with peers is important, real life is not just about that. But in high school, that’s all that matters and this is the problem.
So, because your teenager is in the “gang”, he starts to wear gang clothing, comes home late, smoke cigarettes and is pressured to have sex. He is imitating the leader of the gang because he longs for acceptance from everyone.
Talk to your child in a very sensitive manner and don’t say anything against his so-called friends. Instead, tell him that he was born unique and that being different from everybody else means he will stand out. Tell him that he was born to shine because of his unique abilities. He needs to know that you fully accept him, his strengths and flaws altogether.
Reason #3 – Attention Issues
Teenagers have this “Look at me!” issue and that’s because of their craving for attention. They always want to be noticed and they will do anything to achieve that.
If a parent is often absent, the teen will look for attention in the wrong places. In order to keep that from happening, you must provide the necessary attention that you child needs from you.
You have to find the time and as a parent, you have to make an effort. Show your son that he will be a great man. Tell your daughter that she is beautiful just as she is.
According to Darren Haber, PsyD, “Children often bridle at the implication that they are responsible for their parents’ emotional well-being. This only decreases and constrains the very freedom they’re itching to define.”
Reason #4 – Control Issues
When your child was young, you controlled every aspect in his life. Now that he is a teen and will be 18 in a few years, it is necessary to loosen your grip on him to lessen his rebellion tendencies.
Teens want to make their own decisions and they expect their parents to respect their choices. True, you may not always agree with the decision that he has made, but instead of controlling him, let your teen live a little.
You are to guide your teen and talk to him about his choices and decisions. Teach him to think before acting. Impart to him about consequences of decisions. If he wants to be a grown up and not be controlled by you, you have to trust that he can. Let your teen know that he has your trust to make the right decisions.
Reason #5 – Freedom Issues
Like any normal teen, your child also wants to be “free”. Teens always fantasize about leaving home when they’re 18 and will want to conquer the world.
This is a good idea if your teen is responsible. But, if he needs assistance in that department, you must shape him to become one.
How are you going to do that? Set the rules and teach him to abide while he is young. It will be difficult to teach your child about independence and responsibility after his formative years.