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How Do I Deal With Teenage Rebellion?

August 25, 2014

The words “teenage” and “rebellion” may seem like they go hand in hand, but it hasn’t always been that way. In the past, getting older meant a child was becoming an adult. Ask yourself a question about any behavior that you have been calling “rebellion.” Is this behavior simply your child becoming an adult? Sometimes what we label as rebellion may simply be our child making decisions for themselves.

teenage rebellion

How do I Deal with Teenage Rebellion?

One thing that may help  is to think about choices other adults make. If your child makes a decision you don’t agree with, but it’s a decision other adults make all the time, maybe it isn’t rebellion at all! An example might be your child’s choice in clothing, or how they style their hair. Their choices may not be your choices, but are those choices ok? If another adult made that choice, would you be upset or confused? If not, perhaps it’s an ok choice for your child to make.

Here is a picture of one of my children’s favorite teenage “rebellions” – facial hair!


teenage rebellion

One way to prevent or curb teenage rebellion is to give your children choices in their homeschool. Instead of dictating when each task must be done, they list tasks that must be done. “Finish these ten things before 5:00,” for example. This leaves the child to decide when they want to complete each task. Some children would prefer to get up at 5:00 and be done by noon!  Is that wrong, or just a choice they are making? What if they get up at noon and don’t finish their schoolwork until 5:00? Is that wrong or just a choice? 

In my home, I made my kids finish their work by 4:00. Giving them a choice didn’t work well with our family. I needed my husband to “play the heavy” in some areas, so they had to be done before he got home. Then he would work his magic and make sure work was all done each day. We had sports in the afternoons and I didn’t do well in homeschool mode after dinner. Having them turn in assignments during my own time of fatigue would have been horrendous! More than anything, decide what works for your family!

How do you curb teenage rebellion? What choices do you give your children in your homeschool? Please share!


Please note: This post was originally published in May 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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  1. Janet says:

    You know, I have been reading and hearing a lot about children becoming adults. The “teenage” stuff didn’t exist in the older days. In the Bible days, a Jewish boy became capable of making decisions and transactions for his father after he turned 12/13.

    I hope I can remember the things I’ve read in about a year or so. I need to get a good understanding before the teenage stuff starts to happen!

    Thank you!

    May 15th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

  2. Becky says:

    My son likes to work for an hour or two in the evenings, after swim team, from 8:30-10 or so enabling him to be “done” the next days work by 11 or 12…working at night..but really working ahead…my other children sometimes take from 9-4:30 to do their work…I like for everyone to be done by 2 or 3 at the latest..after that I am tooooo tired.

    May 15th, 2009 at 7:02 pm

  3. J W says:

    “Fuzzy” (as my daughter described your son) is better than nose rings and tattoos… I’ve always thought teenage angst and rebellion was a result of…

    1) The social context of public schools – enough said.
    2) The gradual erosion of the joy of learning.
    3) Not being taught critical thinking – how to form an opinion and make effective arguments in favor of it.
    4) Being forced into a mold – in other words, not being able to make progress at one’s own pace.
    5) Not being taught how to self-teach.
    6) Not being able to spend much time developing interests and cultivating passions.
    7) Propaganda and pap. See the book _Lies My Teacher Told Me_ by James Loewen. The Bible shows human beings exactly as they were (the classic example is King David), and look at how much we learn from it! How can we expect teens to fully understand history, science, religion, or literature if we’re not showing them that there are some things that just don’t quite “jive,” there are some things we really wish hadn’t happened, and there are a lot of things we just plain don’t know about? Teens resent bland, one-dimensional propaganda. “Booooooooooooring.” Pap doesn’t allow for lively, challenging discussions!

    Is it any wonder that these developing minds turn towards creating their own culture if not given a good, healthy, realistic context in which to develop their capacities?

    May 16th, 2009 at 7:49 am

  4. Christy says:

    This is what I’ve been trying to tell my dh.

    December 7th, 2009 at 7:40 am

  5. Jenny says:

    Thank you for this post, Lee. This does seem to answer many questions we face and is something I have been thinking, but could not articulate as beautifully as you have here. I have a teen daughter who wears the most awful eye liner, but I stopped mentioning it a few months ago, but my dh has not. I have pointed out to him that many of the women we know wear lots of make-up so it is “normal” to most women, just not to me. Anyway, thanks!!

    October 12th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

  6. Kimberly says:

    We’re going to skip the teenage years :) Our son is going to be a “young adult” instead – we’re even going to have a “ceremony” on his 13th birthday in just a few months. In a lot of ways, he’s very independent already and gets to make a lot of his own choices. He also pulls his weight around here – we all pitch in as a family and always have – I think that’s going to help a lot. It also doesn’t bother me when he sleeps in – the beauty of homeschooling :)

    November 24th, 2011 at 8:14 am

  7. Margie Collins says:

    Thanks for this. I have recently prayed for wisdom as to recognising when to allow something different to what I want that is OK – just them expressing independence; this guideline as to what another adult would do is helpful. Perhaps as a Christian I might add (another godly adult) – just to take into account issues that arise that are not on!

    August 9th, 2012 at 4:11 am

  8. Jen says:

    I love this article! My 12-year old asked for logic & Latin for this year’s coursework. In researching resources, I came across the classical education model and read about the dialectic stage of development which he’s entering. “Arguing” is a completely natural, God-given stage of development. He’s learning to exercise his reasoning skills and needs guidance and practice. Realizing this shed a whole new light on the “rebellious teenager” stereotype. These kids need to have their developmental efforts respected and nurtured. When they’re criticized and punished for reasoning inappropriately, they aren’t given the opportunity to learn how to do it effectively! We have done them a disservice! This information opened my eyes, and just in time. My kiddo really enjoys practicing his logic and reasoning skills. :)

    July 19th, 2013 at 1:21 pm

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