“As per the definition of rebellious, a rebellious person likes to challenge the authority and break the rules every now and then.”
Teenage is particularly connected with the word Rebellion. However, we need to understand what really happens at that age. Till the age of say 10 or 11, kids are used to being told what is needed to be done and how to conduct themselves in day to day life. Then suddenly around their 12th or 13th birthday, they start questioning everything that is told to them, they talk back, they even get violent and they want to do the exact opposite of what they have been told to do.
Let us analyze what happens to other species on the planet. Animals, for example, leave the safe haven of their parents quite early; as soon as they have grown up enough to survive themselves. And for the sake of adaptation, it is really important they leave the safe home of their parents and mate with the beings away from them.
Humans are too build in the same way. Physically, a teenager is grown up enough to survive himself / herself. They can take care of their food, clothing and shelter. To add to it, their hormones also drive them crazy to mate with the opposite gender. Comparing this to our animal kingdom, this is perfectly natural. If we lived like animals, teenagers would quietly leave their parents at the age of 12 or 14 and live their own lives. So, going by our animal instincts, teenagers are supposed to question the authority and step out of their houses so that adaptation can continue. So, what happens with teenagers is biologically ingrained in us for the sole purpose of adaptation and survival of our species.
Now, what really have we humans messed up this nicely set up natural process. We have setup an adult age of 18 years. And typically a well-educated person starts earning only by 21 or 22 which means they need to depend financially on their parents and still live in that safe haven which they are physically and emotionally yearning to leave.
One of my coaches once said – “It is absolutely normal for teenagers to think their parents are useless, rather it is important for their own growth. Only by questioning the traditions that their parents follow, will the kids identify with their own beliefs and personality.
Slamming the doors, shouting at their parents, purposely creating issues for them, getting into addiction issues are all the signs of feeling unheard and misunderstood. Because they really want their parents to acknowledge the fact that they are growing up and can take decisions on their own. However, we parents out of love and fear for our kids – we still want to keep them inside our cocoon that we have built for them so carefully when they are ready and yearning to just fly away.
When I was 17 years and just completed my 12th grade, I was super sure that I do not want to live with my parents at any cost. I wanted to leave them and live in the hostel and that was probably a very strong motivation to study really hard and get into an Engineering college. My dad was overprotective when it came to boys in my life. And since I was passing out of a convent girls school, I was eager to meet boys and experience that side of life. All hell broke loose, when after 1st year of my engineering – my dad discovered that I was happily enjoying all the attention I was getting from boys in college and was even interested in having a boyfriend. For a very long time, I felt extremely guilty about causing disappointment to my dad, it went away only when I realized that what I did was natural. I was about 18 and ready to experiment and experience life.
What worries me is that when I hear pre-teens being rebellious. 9-10 year old cross questioning their parents, telling lies and getting into big problems. That needs to be understood. Why are kids growing up so early now? Why is the next generation maturing so early of their age? These are some of the pondering questions that trouble the parents today.
As far as rebellious nature of teenagers is concerned, I think it is the duty of parents to be aware of what comes to them naturally and be a support for them instead of being control freaks.