During the teenage years, the area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is developing. This is the part of your brain that is behind your forehead. It’s your thinking cap and judgment center… which means kids can now develop their own ideas.
But how do parents distinguish between normal and abnormal rebellion in an adolescent?
Teenage rebellion is an act of highest assertion of independence and little adherence to parental advice during the teen years of a child’s life. It is called a “rebellion” because it leads to an intense confrontation between the teen and their parents. Teenage rebellion may seem spontaneous and illogical for parents, but there are several underlying reasons behind the behavior.
Two common types of rebellion are against socially fitting in (rebellion of non-conformity) and against adult authority (rebellion of non-compliance). In both types, rebellion attracts adult attention by offending it.
Parents usually dislike adolescent rebellion not only because it creates more resistance to their job of providing structure, guidance, and supervision, but because rebellion can lead to serious kinds of harm.
So adolescent rebellion is not simply a matter of parental aggravation; it is also a matter of concern.
Although the young person thinks rebellion is an act of independence, it never is. It is really an act of dependency. Rebellion causes the young person to depend their self-definition and personal conduct on doing the opposite of what other people want.
That’s why the antidote for rebellion is the true independence offered by creating and accepting a challenge — the young person deciding to do something hard with themselves for themselves to grow themselves. The teenager who finds a lot of challenges to engage with, and who has parents that support those challenges, doesn’t need a lot of rebellion to transform or redefine him or herself in adolescence.
As unpleasant as it is at times, this is all part of their way teens and pre-teens individuate from their parents—it’s part of the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Make no mistake—there’s something wrong with these behaviors. Parents who tell themselves “It’s just phase” or “it’s what teenagers do” are setting themselves up for a rude awakening later.
If any of this is going on in your house, remember that the earlier you intervene with your child, the better. The sooner you tell your child that what he’s doing is not acceptable and give him the tools he needs to behave differently, the better.
Caribbean Mountain Academy is a Christian therapeutic boarding school and residential treatment center for at-risk teens. The school offers year-round enrollment to English-speaking teenagers in crisis (Age 13 – 17).
Caribbean Mountain Academy offers a wide variety of opportunity that aims to unify families and turn today’s struggling teens into tomorrow’s leaders. Program highlights include accredited academics with opportunities to recover lost credits, family and individual counseling, service projects in the local community and adventure activities only found on a Caribbean Island. Your teenager can explore waterfalls, hike mountains, visit the beach or go white water rafting!
Our campus spans 30 exotic acres and features a fully-equipped weight room, basketball court, soccer field, and much more. The priceless views, 24/7 supervision, mentoring, and (optional) spiritual discipleship from staff that desire to see your teenager thrive give your child a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a fresh start!
The goal of our program is to equip our students for a healthy life. Our goal is not to solve all of their problems but help them to be able to work through things in a healthy way while becoming healthy themselves. We do this by teaching them how to identify a good vs. a poor choice. Showing them how to navigate those situations and walk out better choices. We then allow them to practice those skills and then prepare them for reintegration into everyday life.
“The decision to pull a student out of their home context is a really big step. It’s often the right step for a family and when that step is needed, we’re here and we’re available. Our plan at CMA, and our hope is to spark lasting change in a student’s life and then get students back into the home context as quickly as possible.”
-Andrew Stroup, CMA Campus Director