What does being a rebellious teenager even mean? If your teenager is acting out whether being verbally aggressive or silently withdrawing, they are often cries for help. Parenting a teen and being a teenager are two of the most challenging jobs in existence. I have done both, still parenting a teen, and worked with the extreme spectrum of teenage behaviors. I must say that for parents, it is of heightened importance to keep the lines of communication open with other parents of teenagers. Discuss and share your concerns so to not feel so alone.
Teenagers are striving to find an identity and really exploring who they are outside of their “family.” Often times it may even seem that there friends are even replacing the family. This can be such a difficult and even bewildering concept to deal with. However, it is so important that as parents, you stay as connected as possible to your teen. This does not mean that being a friend comes before being a parent. This is a tricky balancing act. But you cannot let your frustration or overwhelm get the best of you. In addition, you need to remember that your teenager is not you, they are there own unique individual. Some “normal teenage behaviors” include mood swings, a time of more emotional ups and downs, egocentrism (more self-centered), impulsive decision-making, just to name a few.
Again, It is so important to stay connected to your teen; ASK your teen how they are, check if everything is ok, and remind them that you are there for them to talk to. As parents, you need to be proactive, not reactive. However, try not to take it personally if your teen does not want to talk to you, instead discuss alternative safe individuals, whether it is an aunt or uncle, a mental health professional, a school counselor, or a pastor or a rabbi. Take AN action if you are concerned because rebellious behaviors, rebellious teenagers, can ultimately be a sign of potential underlying struggles. Below are just some potential indicators of rebellious teenagers.
- Any abrupt changes in appearance, behavior, academic performance, relationships with others.
- If the rebellious teenagers behaviors and becoming more frequent and increasing in intensity, this is cause for concern
- EXTREMES in behaviors- whether it be always wanting to be with their peers or isolating more often than not, appetite or sleep changes, weight loss or weight gain
- Grades begin dropping
- Extremely irritable- goes from 0-10 without a pause in-between.
- Changes in hygiene.
- Spending more time with kids that you know nothing about.
- Treating you with extreme disrespect.
- Engaging in high-risk behaviors
- Lying on a more frequent basis.
- Disregard for authority figures
- Piercing and tatooing. (This depends on your families values and rules)
- NO MATTER WHAT- seek out medical help if you fear for your child’s safety.
Please remember that all of these behaviors lie on a continuum. Some good books from the both the teens perspective and professional perspective include Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Again Low Expectations and Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence