How to Deal With Rebellious Teens

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  • 7/18/11
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  • Rebellious Teens
    Remember when your child was a stubborn 2-year-old testing the limits of parental authority in order to become a more independent person? Well, that 2-year-old has made a return, this time with raging hormones and a full vocabulary. Your teenager is working to find a place in the adult world, but lacks the judgment and sense of responsibility of an adult. The rebellious teen sees authority as the enemy, and as a parent, you figure prominently on the list of authority figures in his or her life. Don't despair, though. There are steps you can take to help your rebellious teen achieve independence without throwing the entire family into turmoil.

    1. Choose your battles carefully. Decide if your teen’s behavior is dangerous or harmful or merely irksome. A messy bedroom might annoy you, but it’s not worth arguing with your child about it. Save your energy for issues such as poor grades, breaking curfew and underage drinking.

    2. Set limits, and make sure your teen knows what they are. Discuss behavior guidelines together. You and your teen might have different ideas about what constitutes harmful behavior. Establish consequences for breaking rules, and follow through.

    3. Remember that you are the parent. Some parents make the mistake of acting as their teen's friend. Your teen already has friends and needs you to act as a role model.

    4. Make time for your teen. Work and activities sometimes leave little opportunity for conversation. Use time in the car or at the dinner table to talk and listen. You need to know what's going on in your teen's life.

    5. Keep an eye on the computer. Your teen might complain about the lack of privacy, but he or she is less likely to get into trouble with inappropriate content or predators when the computer sits in a common area.

    6. Get to know your teen’s friends. They are an important influence on your teen's life. Make sure the kids your teen is hanging around with are not involved in dangerous activities.

    7. Give respect. Speak to your teen politely, and expect them to respond in a similar fashion. Refuse to respond to rude and disrespectful comments. Do not be goaded into yelling, thereby providing an opportunity for defiance.

    8. Reward good behavior. If your teen successfully changes a pattern of negative behavior, acknowledge the effort and award more freedom.

    9. Remember your own teen years. It can be easy to lose sight of how difficult they were.


    1.  Ultimately, you can't change attitudes, but you can change behavior. Believe it or not, the upheaval caused by your rebellious teen will not last forever. In a few short years, you may actually miss this time!

    Image Credit:  Pink Sherbert Photography
    Written By:  Shannon R
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