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Why children rebel

Updated on September 17, 2012

Not as impossible as you think

A parent's worst fear: childhood rebellion.

My freshman year of high school, I was a little out of control. It still shows a little today (my mother continues to let me know how much she disapproves of my tattoo and piercings). But a few years ago I was definitely not the same person I am today. I wore different clothes, hung out with different people, did different things... all things that my mother hated.

But I enjoyed it so much. Not so much for the things in themselves, but because my mother disapproved of them.

My mother was a good little girl who never got in trouble and never did anything over the top. I have always been the type to try new things. Doing something different was interesting to me and I liked to see the reactions I would get. If it was something my mom wasn't familiar with, it meant to me that I was growing independent and delving into something for myself without her help or involvement, which was something I hadn't been used to in my childhood.

I guess it didn't help that my father had been a real troublemaker in his youth and my shenanigans proved that I was a mirror image of my dad; his praise washed over me like a nice hot shower.

My mom was pretty strict and controlling, so pushing the envelope here was a thrill and I liked to see how far I could get. It was intriguing testing my limits with her while at the same time experimenting with what I liked personally.

Over time I got over my little rebellious stage and my styles and interests sort of came to a plateau. But that phase helped shape who I am now, nonetheless.

Ages 2-8 are the learning and building years for a child. These are the years that are the most important in forming the basis of their future. During this time you need to show them that you'll love them forever, that their thoughts and feelings are important, that you should give them everything they need.

Being a kid, it can be tough not to be in control of everything. Parents are the authority. So sometimes it's fun to know you have the power to rile their feathers by getting in trouble, disobeying them, confusing them like crazy.

Mothers and fathers often have dreams of what their children will be. When those dreams don't come to fruition, disappointment is often apparent. These hit children harder than anything else. And to alleviate that pain, sometimes a kid will rebel because they feel like they might as well; they can't do anything to please the parent, so they have nothing to lose in going a little nuts.

Sometimes the bad places are the places where a child might feel the most love. When guardians need to be strict, kids might not feel as loved as they might somewhere else. This is why foster children often rebel and might find acceptance with gangs or elsewhere. Neglected and abused children might also take this route because they have found little affection in their own home.

Basically, unconditional love is the key. Let a child know that you'll love them no matter what, no matter who they are or what they'll do. That kind of takes the fun out of acting crazy (trust me).

Treat your child like an adult. Give them what you want and would like in return: attention, respect, trust, privacy, independence. You might be surprised at the result.

If you already have a rebellious child, all you can do is love them, give them time, and make sure you communicate. Don't shut them out. Praise them and let them know you love them completely.


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    • profile image

      alex 4 years ago

      very good advice

    • andrebreynolds profile image

      andrebreynolds 6 years ago

      Nice story of you glassvisage! Thank you.