Verifying why rebellion is prevalent amongst teenagers

By Rachel Hankinson — Teenagers have always rebelled; it is not just this generation, and it is not just a certain group that decides to defy authority, every teenager is going to go against the rules at some point or another and their ways of doing so are in many different forms, according to Bobbi Beale, Psy, a.

“Kids who feel that they are mistreated or tread unfairly (are likely to rebel),” Bobbie Beale, Psy, D. said.  “There is some sort of cognitive reason; either something has been done wrong between the parents, the kids have a feeling of entitlement, or they are rebelling for attention reasons.”

Customarily, parents are the main victims of teenage rebellion.  Because they are the central authority to teens and are generally the ones restricting them the most, teens constantly rebel against parents.  By just ignoring what they are told to do or going against their will, teens find ways to defy their parents persistently.  A more harmless way of doing so is by wild new fashion trends that parents would typically not approve of.  While this is more harmless, others are not.

“All of the emphasis and pressure that is placed on me by my parents causes me to want to be feel more independent,” senior Amber Hershberger said.  “Rebelling is a way for me to feel like I am making my own decisions.”

The more stereotypical ways for teenage rebellion is taking up drugs, smoking, or drinking alcohol.  More than half of teenagers will try alcohol and about 40 percent of them will experiment with drugs at least once, according to WebMD.  Taking up drugs or smoking does not require much thought, it is one of the quickest ways to rebel and create a substantial reaction from parents, according to Beale.

“Altered states are frequently sought after in today’s society,” Beale said.

Sexual intercourse is another avenue of insurgence.  It is another behavior teens use to prove they are rebelling.  Like drug use, smoking and drinking; sexual intercourse creates a shock effect for the parents.  Having sex is a way to undermine the values that have been instilled to the teens by their parents.

A more extreme way teenagers exploit rebellion is by breaking the law.  A statistic from WebMD for boys alone showed that illegal conduct can start around the age of 13 and reach peak a 17.  This criminal behavior tends to vanish in early adulthood.

“If they are stuck in stage of rebellion they usually go beyond what their identity is,” Beale said.  “They are rebelling to make a point.”

According to Beale, teens are young adults.  They are past that awkward time in adolescence where they cannot decide whether they are going to act like children or behave like adults.  They watch what other adults do, whether that is by those around them or what they see in the media, and imitate them.

Adults view teenage rebellion as a bad thing and something that needs to be controlled.  And while there should be boundaries and rules for these budding adults, rebellion is one of the most useful tools for teens.

“Teens use rebellion as having authority over themselves,” Beale said.  “They test how much power and authority they have.”

It is a part of their personal journey to find their own identity, according to Beale.  Children are always compared to their parents, being told how much they look, sound or act like them.  When teens begin to find their own identity, a separation between the parents and themselves occurs.  Rebellion is an outlet for teens to make this split, to break away from framework of morals and value that they have been taught their whole life.

 [Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]