All of us have been (or are or will be) teenagers at some point in our lives. We know and have experienced a lot of changes, and some have even gone through a phase of rebellion against their parents, even once they reach the age of majority.
And the truth is that although at the time it might seem the logical way to proceed, the fact is that this behavior can be frustrating for the adult, as they can discover when they, in turn, have their own children. In this context, doubt may arise as to how to react, what to do. How to treat a rebellious teenager? In this article, we will try to give ten basic tips to deal with this situation.
The rebellion in post-adolescence
Adolescence, the passage from childhood to adulthood, is a process that involves a lot of physical, psychic and social changes.
In addition to those of development, we face a great increase in what society demands of us, something that is especially visible when we reach the age of majority: legally we are adults, and we are held responsible as such, even though we are not yet mature we have just finished adolescence. We continue to experiment and try to find ourselves, as well as to test our newly acquired identity.
It is, therefore, a difficult age for those who live it, which can be an anguishing and frustrating stage. Likewise, a certain distance persists concerning the figures of own authority of the previous years, derived from a search of a separated identity and of the search and increase of the importance of other social relations.
All this can lead to the emergence of oppositional and rebellious behaviors, something that can also be a source of anguish and a lack of understanding between the now legally adult and their family environment. These phenomena persist during the final stage of adolescence, post-adolescence, with the characteristic that at this age the ability to disobey is greater, given that more resources are available for this.
10 Tips to Treat Rebellious Teenagers
Facing the adolescence and the arrival to the adulthood can be complicated so much for the own young person as for his progenitors, being able to get to appear attitudes of rebellion. In this sense, here are ten tips to treat a rebellious young man of 18 years.
Now, we must bear in mind that we are talking about rebellious adolescents, not including the presence of aggressive attitudes and intrafamily violence.
1. Establish good communication
Perhaps the most critical thing in any relationship, and especially one in which there are a certain rebellion and resistance to the parental figures, is to establish fluid communication. It is important that this takes into account the possible conflicts that your son may have, and that it is not carried out as an interrogation but as a thorough conversation in which a genuine interest is appreciated. It can be useful to approach from the young person’s hobbies to produce an approach between both.
2. Give your space, listen and respect your opinion
Your son or daughter is already 18 years old, and although he still needs you in his life, he also needs to have his own space. He does not want you to be interested in him, but we do accept that he wants and needs privacy.
As with space, the 18-year-old has his own criteria which, although somewhat inexperienced, are still valid and must be respected and taken into account. You must listen to them carefully and without interrupting them: it is a question of not ignoring their point of view but of validating and considering it.
3. Be careful with expectations and compare
There can be many conflicts due to the very requirement with respect to what the now adult should do. You must understand that you are before an autonomous person with their own ideas and convictions.
It is important not to try to force them to live the life that you would have wanted to take and not demand them to fulfill our expectations or lead them along the path that you would have wanted to take. Above all, do not compare them with others: they are valuable beings by themselves, as valid as any.
4. Prohibited to prohibit and overprotect
To prohibit and censure without more is, especially when there is rebellion, totally counterproductive. In fact, it is probable that the prohibited is more appetitive to the fact of being and at the same time to contravene the imposed rule. In addition, you must bear in mind that he is already of legal age and has the ability to make his own decisions, we must consider that you should advise and guide him without being a presence acting through coercion or imposition.
On the other hand, overprotecting your child has negative consequences and also leads to a certain distance, as the young person does not feel validated and observe that he is considered incapable of making his own decisions. As long as certain limits are not exceeded it is necessary to allow them to experiment and even make mistakes.
5. Set clear limits
We have said in the previous point that it is necessary not to prohibit, but we must not be over permissive either. We must establish clear, coherent and consistent limits on behavior, which we must hold firm without being seen as coercive.
It is that the acts themselves have consequences and that they are known by the young person. This includes, of course, the treatment accorded to parents, and the non-acceptance of violent attitudes or degrading treatment.
6. Give an example
An 18-year-old is already perfectly capable of observing when he is told something while doing the opposite. Thus, we can not demand from our children something that we do not show: we need to be able to set an example in such a way that the young person sees a coherence between what has been said and what has been done. Of course, it does not stop being a different person so we must be careful with the demands and expectations we have regarding him.
7. Do not lose your papers and have empathy
Although it can be difficult, it is necessary to remain calm even in the face of rebellious attitudes and try to understand the adolescent/young person’s point of view. After all, he is facing a much more demanding reality than he was used to until now, when he has or is about to enter the adult world. The anger, the shouting or the arguments will generate discomfort and a distancing of postures.
8. Give voice and vote
This point is important because it allows, on the one hand, to establish a communication and give it a certain autonomy (not in vain it is already legally adult) and at the same time respect a series of limits. We must give him not only the ability to express his opinion but also to take it into account, being the already legally adult able to make decisions regarding his own life.
It is not a matter of the young person always having his way, but that we are able to negotiate a valid alternative for all in the areas where there is no consensus.
9. Reinforce positive behavior
A frequent error in the passage to the adult world is to focus on what the child does wrong, being the attitude of the parents generally corrective.
No matter how old you are, we all need you to approve and congratulate us on the things we do well. So it is advisable to reinforce and congratulate the achievements of the now legally adult, especially those that are important to him. It is also very useful that all positive behavior is well seen and receives reinforcement, without entering into criticism or demands.
10. Let him know that you love him
This last point may seem obvious, but it is probably one of the most important: no matter how much our child is legally an adult, now and always he will need to know that his family will be a support nucleus, that he loves and appreciates regardless of what happens.