Rebellious Teens

What can you do with rebellious teens?

It's different when you have a two year old throwing a tantrum - at least they're little enough to be able to corral them to a certain extent.

But a full-blown teen tantrum from a nearly (if not completely) adult-sized body? That can be somewhat intimidating and even downright scary.

What causes teens to become rebellious towards authority?


Causes of Threatening Teen Behavior

As discussed in the article on parenting help , there is always an underlying reason for negative behavior - even if it's not obvious to you or your teen.

The "fruit" is the behavior you see (and it may look pretty rotten). The "root" holds the underlying reason for the fruit that is being displayed.

There are numerous reasons why teens may be employing rebellious behavior. Below are some of the most common.

  • Rules without relationship
    Youth pastor Josh McDowall coined this phrase:
    "Rules without relationship leads to rebellion."
    This isn't just true for teens. Imagine your workplace attitude if your boss cares nothing about you - just about your compliance with his or her rules and regulations. Teens can sniff out this lack of relationship a mile away - whether it involves their parents, teachers, or other authority figures.

  • Violation of personal boundaries
    This may include someone crossing a teen's personal emotional boundaries (what he thinks and feels is known only to him), physical boundaries (she may have been bullied or even sexually molested), or relational boundaries (he may be demeaned, verbally abused, or accused of thoughts or actions he had no part of).

  • Hyper-Controlling parent or teacher
    Teens instinctively understand that there are consequences for poor choices. But they cannot continue to tolerate the behavior of someone who tries to micro-manage their lives - including their thoughts and feelings. To accept this violation of their personhood would leave them open to the whims of anyone who would desire to control them (for example, a cult or a gang).

What is the likely result of the above violations?

Rebellion in the form of extreme defensiveness is often the result. Imagine a trapped animal who feels threatened. You are likely to hear growling and see bared teeth and hissing in your direction if you move any closer. Rebellious teens use the same type of defensive behavior to ward off perceived threats.


So Does This Mean My Angry Teenager is Normal?

If he or she has had personal boundaries violated, then yes.

However, rebellion for rebellion's sake is not ok because it doesn't solve their problem. It only adds fuel to the fire.

Have you heard of the saying: "hurting people hurt people"?

It's so true! But rebellious displays of aggression and rule-breaking will never bring the desired results to the teen.

He simply defaults to this position because he lacks the problem-solving skills needed to address his issues.


What's the Solution for Teen Discipline?

Parents are in a position to have an enormous effect on the lives of their teens if they have the proper support and guidance.

Understanding where teens are coming from is important, because it brings out our compassion towards them. In this way, it is easier not to take their behavior personally.

But angry teens with unresolved problems may well become angry, violent, abusive adults. We need to take action now to turn the tide.

What is lacking are problem-solving skills. What can a teen do when confronted with boundary violations instead of threatening in return? This is where parental modeling and training can make a huge difference. Where can you find support to help with this vital training for teens?

My Recommendation
as a Parent / Therapist

The Total Transformation Program highlights step by step what you can say, and how you can model, healthy behavior for your teen. It contains a built-in support system that is highly valuable for parents caught in the stressful situation of dealing with rebellion in their teenage children. This is one program I have personally reviewed and employed with my own children and students, and can highly recommend to all parents.

Child Behavior

If you are frustrated and at your wit's end with a rebellious teen, I invite you to take a look at this program. They have an amazing free offer for a limited time - so you can see if it is right for you. I welcome your feedback.


Child Behavior Help

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