Drawing the thin line between assertiveness and rebellion!
Teen rebellion is a tough situation that often trouble parents as to how to deal with it effectively. It is the root of conflict that happens between most parents and adolescents. However, as much as it demands enough deliberation and sensitive handling by parents, adolescents are also expected not to cross the line of decorum and respect, while being carried away at an age that is marked by whirlwind attitudinal changes, a prime one being rebellion.
It is perhaps the confusion of growing up that is to be blamed. The plethora of choices, dilemmas, confusions and emotional upheavals are precisely what provoke teenagers to rebel, so much so that it becomes an instinct in them. It is as if a way of asserting their freedom and individuality, against a society that fails to understand them, or at least, that is what they perceive. Two common ways of rebelling are against socially fitting-in (rebellion of non-conformity) and against adult authority (rebellion of non-compliance). However, the basic issue here is that the ones that get most affected by this dominating trait in teenagers are their parents. It not only challenges their conventional role of guidance and supervision, but often emotionally upsets them, as they start believing that their children are getting distanced from them.
It is thus a very delicate issue on both ends. While it is an almost inevitable urge in teenagers to rebel against most things, parents have a hard time dealing with this transition, that their once-obedient and respectful children now raise their voice against them at the slightest pretext. The resistance against their wishes often gives them a feeling that their children no longer respect them. This can indeed be a tumultuous phase for parents as well, though it is usually considered to be “normative” behaviour on the part of adolescents.
Parents should, no doubt, lend the maximum support that they can, during this age, which often keeps this rebellious instinct in check, the children, should also try to draw a thin line between being rebellious and acting assertively. Assertiveness is certainly a positive virtue that every individual should develop as they grow up, so that they are able to express their desires, preferences, values and beliefs etc.in a confident manner, but it often dangerously borders to rebellion. Assertiveness will get their point across to parents which, in turn might encourage them to consider the viewpoints and perspectives of the children, while rebellion convinces them that the children are only motivated by a will to oppose and create a scene. Assertiveness is a mark of self-dependence and maturity, while rebellion only reveals one’s dependence and juvenile attitude.
Thus, in order to make this stage of life a smoother ride for both parents and children, both should keep their emotions in check. Children should definitely try their best not to act on momentary impulses and rather, remember that just as they are battling certain odds, their parents are also at a juncture where they might feel vulnerable if their own children show no respect towards them. Parents on the other hand, should always make the children feel that they are not alone in this crossroads of life, and should not exert too much of authority on them. While their discretion is doubtlessly significant, it is also important that children are let to form a realm of their thoughts independently, as they walk their way to adulthood.