Why Do Teens Rebel? – Cause #2

Teen Rebellion is a complicated issue.  It can be prevented but you must start early.  In my book, Discipline Exposed, I give 25 reasons children are out of control.  You can view reason #1 by reading “Why are teens rebellious?” on this site at   http://www.themommydetective.com/2013/03/14/why-are-teens-rebellious/  

Reason #2 is situational fear.

To understand this type of fear, let’s go back to the cradle.  A baby receives total care for the first six months of life.  Perhaps he learns to feed himself, pick up toys, crawl, etc…but he’s dependent on the care of others and the knowledge that he’s safe.  His parent allows him to add new accomplishments to his daily routine without the fear of failure or dangerous consequences.

When a child is not comfortable with a new task, he may be overcome with fear.  When he can’t verbalize the fear, he internalizes an overwhelming emotional issue.  While some of the “terrible twos” may be due to exerting independence, the majority of frustration comes from fear rather than a statement of independence.  I am sure we will never hear a preschooler say, “Mommy, I want to color on my own but I can’t hold the crayon without breaking it and I’m afraid that you won’t like what I do.  Since I don’t know how to say that, I’m going to scream, throw my crayons and pitch a fit.”

Perhaps you think this sounds absurd.  Yet, think about your own life.  What are your fears and how do you react to them?  Are you afraid of public speaking?  Every time you give a talk do your hands sweat?  Do you feel sick.  You may deal with it and get the job done, or do you?  Maybe the night before your speech you lash out at your spouse.  Perhaps the day of, your secretary knows to keep her distance.  Your personality changes because you are stressed and anxious.

All human beings want to create, to grow, to accomplish new things; but being creative is often coupled with some type of fear.  That’s why every Decoder Map should deal with the question of fear.  Being anxious, fearful or even intimidated by the situation can cause angry outbursts.

Teens are dealing with a tremendous amount of fear.  They are constantly being told by teachers and leaders that they are entering adulthood and they need to get their act together.  They have new demands educationally.  They have the stress of complicated hormones and relationships.  They feel like there are issues on all sides of their lives.  Fear – of course they have situational fear!  They are loaded with it.  And along with the fear of new situations is the fear of failure.  They are in a tag team fight mentally and lashing out at you may seem like the easiest form of power punch.

Prepare your teen early to handle the pressures by giving him the tools he needs to fight situational fear.  Those fears can be fought but you have to build up your strength to do it.  Prepare him by allowing him to fight smaller battles between age 2 and 12. Allow him to fail and to learn from his failure.  Teach him that failure is a part of learning and that the goal is to become a better person not to please others.


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