Pushback: 6 Reasons for Teenage Rebellion & What to Do About It

Teenage rebellion is more than pent-up angst or a simple desire to push back against authority for no particular reason. Teens rebel for very specific reasons. As a parent, you are probably either bracing yourself for the teenage years or are already in the middle of them. This can be a stressful time. However, knowing the reasons why your teen rebels will help you with getting through this important stage of their development.

Consider six major reasons:

1. Discovering Who They Are

A very well-known reason why teens rebel is because they are discovering who they are as individuals. Adolescence is a time when teens are trying on different roles as they search to understand who they are.

That journey of discovery can mean completely transforming their identity or simply getting into an argument with their parents. It’s experimentation as the world begins to open up around them.

What to Do: Keep in mind that some rebellion is normal and part of their development. Your child, like all of us, needs room to grow.

2. Learning to Speak for Themselves

For many teens, a little rebellion is helpful for developing into critical thinkers who are willing to ask questions. There are plenty of examples out there where teens have harnessed the energy of youth to fight injustice, create positive change in their communities, or challenge the status quo.

The motivation for this kind of rebellion can come from a desire for equity and fairness. These are actually positive qualities that can help parents to guide their teens to learn how to become productive and engaging members of our society.

What to do: Talk to your teen about inspires, riles, or spurs them to get involved. Listen well an encourage them to champion a cause they believe in.

3. Peer Influence and Teenage Rebellion

The influence of friends is another source of teen rebellion. Teens will resist authority if they know that they will gain acceptance from their peers. For instance, breaking curfew to hang out with friends instead of being home on time.

Again, some of this is part of the typical experience of growing up. However, it becomes a problem when your teen prioritizes peer acceptance over the expectations of their parents.

What to do: It is important for parents to consider how they are interacting with their children. Ask yourself and your child if they feel accepted by you. Are they looking for that acceptance somewhere else? Try to understand what are the negative sources of teenage rebellion among teens.

4. Feeling Depressed

Anger and teenage rebellion often have roots in sadness and even depression. Instead of being able to communicate what they are feeling, it’s easier for a teen to lash out.

You may have found yourself in arguments that became really heated and personal. That’s because you may have touched a nerve (whether you realized it or not), and your teen is pushing back. They want to be left alone and not have to face those emotions.

Of course, the reaction makes sense, but it doesn’t help either of you in the long run.

What to do: Stay mature and in control of your emotions. Keep in mind that you are your teen’s rock. Be solid, strong, stable and unconditionally forgiving.

5. A Desire for Power and Control

If teens don’t feel that they have power or control to make decisions in their lives, many will push back. They may not listen to direction, flaunt rules, and even minimize the adults in their lives who try to provide structure.

What to do: While teens are not ready for the adult world and adult decisions, you can help them gain wisdom and experience. Give them opportunities and options intentionally with teaching rather than controlling in mind. Discuss appropriate choices as they get older while still maintaining firm expectations.

6. Not Feeling They Belong

Sometimes teens feel they just don’t fit in, even in their own families. Everyone wants to feel like they belong. So when teens don’t feel accepted by their parents, families, or peers, they will most likely rebel.

What to do: Not feeling accepted for who you are as a person is terribly alienating. But as parents, you can help counteract this feeling by reinforcing to your child that you accept and love them. Show them more about your family history and highlight commonalities between them and other family members. Let them know that your family wouldn’t be your family without them.
Read these 6 tips to help with teenage rebellion.

Seek Help From a Therapist

Finally, teenage rebellion isn’t always a bad thing—even when it comes to your teen. It is important that you don’t overreact! Instead, as concerned parents, it’s necessary to understand the roots of teen rebellion and how it applies to their child so you can help guide them in the best way possible. At Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, TX we have therapists that specialize in teen counseling and family therapy to help get to the root of teenage rebellion. Call us at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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