Healthy Teenage Rebellion Creates Independent Adults

This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now, Vanessa Blaxland, MFTi.

Running away, school expulsion, drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, disobedience,  and disrespect.  The joys of raising an adolescent!  It’s such a special time isn’t it?  All joking aside, raising your child through adolescents may be one of the hardest times as a parent.   Of course you don’t want to see your children make bad choices and might prefer to simply skip years 13-18, but adolescent rebellion is a normal and important part of your teenagers development.    Rebellion is normal and every child will try to test their limits, some more than others.  However, it is important to remember that normal rebellion is your child’s attempt to establish their independence and pathway toward adulthood.  So instead of going into crisis mode, here are some tips to help turn your adolescents rebellion into a healthy and central part of your child’s journey into adulthood.

1. Consistent expectations and discipline:  Give your teenager clear boundaries and clear consequences for crossing those boundaries.  Then the key is to be consistent with your follow through of consequences.  It is important that your teen knows exactly what to expect when rules are broken.  No doubt they are still going to try to bend and break the rules but with structure around expectations and consequences you can provide them safer space to test the boundaries.

2. Decide what battles you will fight:  As your teen gets older they will want to and be ready to make more and more decisions either on their own or in collaboration with you.  Let them!  Yes, there will be those things where what you say goes, but when the opportunity occurs be open to hearing them out and working together with them to come to a decision or compromise.

3. Listen to your teen:  Even in the midst of all that attitude, yelling , door slamming, eye rolling, silent treatment, and “whatever”,  it is important to try to understand your teen even if you might completing disagree with them.   Reflect back what you are hearing from your teen.  Your teen will feel more understood and supported even they don’t get their way.  By doing this you are also modeling good communication that will help them become a successful independent adult.

Elana Clark-Faler
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