“I need your help. I’m afraid. I have two children ages 6 and 8. They are a handful and very strong willed. I know the teen years will be here before I can blink. I’m afraid my children will be rebellious and I don’t want that. Why are teens rebellious and what can I do to stop it?”
I took several days to work on a Decoder Map to include most of the points that contribute to teen rebellion. The map turned out to be as detailed and as large as the map for temper tantrums.
The section on the left contains positive things you can instill in your child to help prevent rebellion. The right contains negative issues that will contribute to teen rebellion.
In my book Discipline Exposed – Surviving Fried Worms and Flying Mudballs, I discuss the issue of teen rebellion. There are two main reasons teens rush into rebellion.
1) Any child or teen will react to pressure in ways that mirror adult behavior. If you were put in a situation where you felt like a slave – how would you react? You would rebel. When your boss is overbearing – you rebel. Perhaps you rebel in an adult way – but you do rebel. When your wife or husband wants you do stay home and work instead of playing with friends – you rebel. When the government takes away your freedoms – you rebel.
Teens react exactly the same. When they feel their freedoms or rights have been violated, they will rebel. The key is to help them understand that the rules you have in place are not to restrict but rather to protect or to provide different freedoms. In other words most parents have been the “harsh” disciplinarian for so long that the child has trouble listening to reason. If you haven’t taught your child to engage in conversation, they will find it difficult to discuss their problems with you when they become teens. Instead, they yell, they fuss and they rebel.
2) Your teen doesn’t trust you. In order for you to retain clout and a place of honor with your child, you must build trust. That doesn’t happen because you “tell” them to trust you. Building trust can take years of work. If your child doesn’t trust you and as a teen begins to talk to other teens that are rebellious – they will get the thousand year old excuse….”Hey man, don’t be a sap. Your parents are just trying to control you. They don’t know how things really are. Who you gonna believe them or me?”
If you haven’t built trust with your child, they will believe the cool guy at school and not you. Then…the fight is on.
Take a look at the Decoder Map. If you have any questions, please let me know.
My book, Discipline Exposed, listed 25 reasons children have rebellion issues. Look for one of these each day for the next month.
1. Parental fear
Do you scare your child? Children must be taught to respect authority – not be afraid of it. They must understand an appropriate fear of bad behavior’s consequences. However, if that fear translates into an abnormal fear of you personally, the fear itself will promote bad behavior. Weird, huh? The very thing you are using to discipline actually may cause more bad behavior.
Children have a great capacity to mix things up. It’s vital to approach any situation from their viewpoint. If your punishment is severe or overly concentrates on faults, a child’s mind might turn it around and make you the big, bad dragon. Seeing you in that role could create a subconscious permission to fight you. In this type of situation, children are not being evil but rather feel comfortable in fighting for their right to be free from a fearful dragon.
A child’s greatest need is to be unconditionally loved. If he feels his actions have caused you to withdraw your love, fear of living without you will take over, resulting in a loss of security. The stress will cause bad behavior. Fear does not accomplish discipline. fear demands conformity but not a change of heart. Once the fear is no longer present, the bad behavior will return.
Fear also causes frustration with life. If a child feels pressured and unable to perform, he will lose heart, rebel, or become unreasonable. Respecting authority is different from fear. Your children should respect you. Respect must be earned through trust.
(New reasons will be added every day until complete)