Teenage Rebellion vs. Teenage Defiance.
Rebellion is one of the terms most commonly associated with teenagers. When a teen defies a parent, and wants to do what they want to do, what would most people call that? Rebellion. When they sneak out and go to parties that their parents don’t want them to go to, what is that, in the eyes of most people? Rebellion. When a teenager acts out and gets in trouble at school, most people would call that….. you guessed it, rebellion. But is it really rebellion?
Webster’s Dictionary defines rebellion as “opposition to one in authority or dominance” and “open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government.” Teenage rebellion would probably fall under the first definition, at least in most cases. But can we truly rely on a dictionary to tell us what rebellion is? Is rebellion always the same? Does it always happen the same way? Does defiance of authority have to be rebellion? The answer, in short, is no. If a teenager one day decides that mom and dad are stupid and don’t know what’s good for them, and subsequently decides that they aren’t going to listen to what they say ever again, THAT’S rebellion. When they start acting out, perhaps getting into trouble with the law and at school, THAT’S rebellion. But when a teenager talks back to their parents or other influential adults, that is NOT rebellion. That is called being a teenager.
Have you ever met a teenager who, when asked, could honestly say that they have never defied their parents, that they have never been very angry with their parents, and that they have always done exactly what they are told when they are told to do it? No, and if you have, I want to know what planet you live on, and I want to meet that teenager. All teenagers go through a defiant stage. It’s a part of growing up. When a teen feels that they know what’s best for them, at one point or another, they are going to let their parents know that they feel that way. Teenage defiance is often caused by the feeling that mom and dad are out to get them, that they don’t know anything about them. The teenager feels that they know what’s best for them, that they know everything they need to survive. While this is not the case, a teenager going through a defiant stage does not realize this, nor are they willing to accept the fact that they are wrong. They may believe that anything their parents tell them is meant to lead them astray. This stage might last a few weeks, maybe a month, maybe even several months. However, if caught and dealt with correctly, this stage will not last forever. Eventually, they will “wake up”, and realize, “Hey, maybe mom and dad really do know how I feel, maybe they really do understand what I’m going through.”
The important thing is to realize that this process is normal. In fact, if I had a kid, I, personally, would be more inclined to worry about their well-being if they didn’t go through this stage. Many parents see this as signs that their teen is growing up. Once they get through this stage, they can move on to the step in their life, which is oftentimes the realization that there is going to be authority throughout their entire lives, and there will be people telling them what to do. What matters is how they deal with being told what to do. It can be argued that teens who have gone through their defiant stage are better prepared to deal with authority, and will be better equipped to know when authority does need to be defied. Instead of believing that all authority figures are there to make your life miserable, they realize that most authority figures have been given their “power” because they are fit to handle it and know how to use it to prepare teens for the real world.
Published in: Family