Rebellion in Adolescents
The rebellious nature of adolescents shows in different ways. For instance, rebellious adolescents are often involved in fast driving, violent arguments, shoplifting, and flouting of rules. Rebellion is a risky behavior demonstrated by the youth which the parents have to contend with on a daily basis. Rebellious adolescents mention the need for independence and demand for separate identity as some of the reasons why they rebel. However, it is important to observe that rebellion is part of a child’s development. Adolescents go through a stage of brain development as they attempt to become analytical adults capable of making independent decisions. This day, social pressure is one of the primary causes of adolescent rebellion. Rebellion is undesirable because it is wrong for adolescents to engage in violence and other anti-social behaviors.
Manifestation of Adolescent Rebellion
Rebellion among adolescents manifests through substance use, delinquency, and school disengagement. Recreational drug and alcohol use is frequently seen as harmless and a non-habit forming behavior. However, when drugs and alcohol are used for nefarious reasons, it becomes abuse. The development of the frontal cortex part of the brain is primarily the cause of rebelliousness shown by adolescents. Amy et al. (2002) exemplify that the rapid development of the brain during the adolescent stages prompts teenagers to take more risks in life. In addition to the maturity of the brain, adolescents attempt to take their rightful place in the world. The decision to take their rightful place and tremendous brain growth explain why some adolescents bully their peers in school. Additionally, premature brain growth and primitive drive to take control of their lives subject them to pressure promoting a perfect environment to abuse drugs and alcohol. For this reason, the rebellious nature is displayed through early tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medicines use. Substance and drug use make adolescents lose control of their lives and become violent.
Delinquency is a sign that an adolescent is rebellious. Tija (2016) asserts that delinquent behavior is a pattern of committing crimes, especially by adolescents. What is more, delinquent teenagers repeatedly violate the rights of others. Signs of delinquent behaviors include physical aggression, property destruction, cruelty to animals, and threatening and intimidating others. At some point in life, adolescents experience extreme hormone changes and contend with pressure from peers pushing them to go against societal rules and regulations that govern behavior. Further, adolescents experience stress and anxiety as they attempt to be independent members of society. Therefore, if the pressure to be independent is unsustainable, a teenager may show signs of violence and aggression. When an adolescent begins acting inappropriately and even carries a weapon to school, parents and teachers should understand that it is the onset of rebelliousness.
School disengagement is another sign of rebelliousness. Studies have shown that early adolescence; especially those between the age of 9 and 13 years are often unconcerned about school progress (Hoffmann et al., 2013). The adolescents display rebellious behaviors as they attempt to reject school systems and rules. The newfound independence leads to school failure demonstrated by mediocre performance and failed grades. The common anti-achievement behavior and disengagement include failure to deliver deficiency notes to parents, avoid doing homework, failure to finish school assignments, and being socially disruptive in class. Hatano et al. (2018) posit that students who disengage because of brain growth, hormone changes, and peer pressure are those who lack academic motivation. Teenagers who have disengaged from learning and school activities do not try to improve and as a result, achieve poor grades. These adolescents lose focus and blame others for their miserable performance and may resort to smoking, drinking alcohol, and engage in diverse delinquent acts. In the consequence, guardians and teachers can detect rebelliousness when the performance of a particular student declines tremendously and he or she is no longer interested in improving performance.
Responding to Adolescents Experiencing Psychosocial Problems
Multisystemic therapy, functional family therapy, and aggression replacement training can be utilized to address psychosocial problems experienced by adolescents. Foremost, multisystemic therapy is a family-based remedy used to help adolescents with less severe delinquent behaviors. A human service professional is required to work with parents to generate and sustain change. McCart & Sheidow (2016) outline that the therapy uses the principle of behavior and analytical process to assess anti-social behavior, design intervention measures, administer treatment and evaluate the progress. In essence, multi-systemic therapy adequately assesses and identifies the factors in the community, school, or home directly responsible for the disruptive behavior. For example, if an adolescent is unhappy about a particular teacher in school, the school’s management, social workers, and parents can discuss and find solutions. An example of a solution would be to transfer the child to another class or school. Human service professionals require the support of parents and teachers to successfully implement the therapy.
Functional family therapy is implemented by a human service professional to address serious rebellious behavior like armed robbery, violence, and drug smuggling. Flexon (2016) outlines that functional family therapy focuses on identifying youth behavior perceived as symptoms of dysfunctional family relations leading to rebellion. The intention of the therapy is to establish and maintain contemporary desirable patterns of behavior to replace the dysfunctional ones. For example, some adolescents may be rebellious because of the family violence they witness at home. These teenagers end up transferring violent behavior to school as they believe it is the right way to deal with others. After all, they witness their parents engage in violence to combat family problems. The therapy comprehensively attempts to prevent incidents of violence through family mentorship and counseling sessions. The parents may be counseled to devise better methods of solving family issues instead of doing it right in front of children. Functional family therapy creates positive family expectations, changes behavior, and maintains functional family relations at all times to prevent teenagers from deviating from acceptable social norms.
Aggression replacement training can be implemented by social workers to transform the youth and utilize them as change agents to reach others. Extremely rebellious adolescents are instructed in community centers, correctional facilities to equip them with knowledge on good behavior. Luthar & Ansary (2005) mention that adolescents who have disengaged from school due to stress and anxiety associated with abysmal performance may be mentored on being honest and dedicated towards education. Furthermore, a team of diverse professionals can be brought on board to mentor and train adolescents to be responsible members of the community. Successful mentees are then used to heighten awareness to their peers on the benefits of good behavior.
Rebellion demonstrated by adolescents remains a way of asserting authority and independence in their lives. Brain development and peer pressure are some of the reasons why adolescents may engage in substance use, participate in delinquent activities, and disengage from school. Extreme rebelliousness may endanger the lives of people and the entire community. The various therapies like a multi-systemic, functional family, and aggression replacement training are used to establish and maintain good behavior among adolescents. The responsibilities of parents, teachers, and human service professionals are to help and guide these adolescents to accomplish their life goals and respect other community members.
Amy, A., Baker, L. & Caspi, A. (2002). Rebellious teens? Genetic and environmental influences on the social attitudes of adolescents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(6), 1392–1408.
Flexon, J. (2016). Callous-unemotional traits and differently motivated aggression. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 14(4), 367-389.
Hatano, K., Sugimura, K. & Schwartz, S. (2018). Longitudinal links between identity consolidation and psychosocial problems in adolescence: Using Bi-Factor latent change and cross-lagged effect models. J Youth Adolescence, 47, 717–730.
Hoffmann, J., Lance, E. & Spence, K. (2013). Modeling the association between academic achievement and delinquency: An application of interactional theory, Criminology, 51(3), 629-660.
Luthar, S. & Ansary, N. (2005). Dimensions of adolescent rebellion: risks for academic failure among high- and low-income youth. Development and psychopathology, 17(1), 231–250.
McCart, M. & Sheidow, A. (2016). Evidence-Based Psychosocial Treatments for Adolescents with Disruptive Behavior. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 45(5), 529–563.
Tija, R. (2016). Links of adolescents identity development and relationship with peers: A systematic literature review. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 25(2), 97-105.