Parents walk a fine line between encouraging healthy independence, while avoiding rebellious behavior.
And it’s easier than you think to slip off into rebellion!
Oftentimes, our kiddos start acting rebellious when they begin to redefine themselves, rejecting “the old ‘child’ identity that he or she now wants to shed to clear the way for more grown up redefinition ahead.”
Don’t get me wrong, this stage of redefinition is a huge milestone for parents!
With that said, this new territory can be difficult to navigate. Parents oftentimes unknowingly make common mistakes that cause rebelliousness in their kids.
Let’s take a closer look at what actions may cause rebellious behavior.
- Over Criticizing
Just as kids can waver between independent and rebellious, parents can waver between positive guidance and over criticism.
When parents criticize without an equal balance of praise, — also called “helicopter” or “authoritarian” parenting — it oftentimes causes kids to feel as if they are disapproved of, resulting in rebellious behavior.
For instance, a “child’s defiance, their resentful, angry pushback, is best understood as expressing vengeful disapproval of their parent’s disapproval.” This defiance is a form of retaliation and can be a way for the child to reclaim “compromised pride, dignity, and self-respect.”
- Lack of Stability
Stability is the cornerstone of a happy, healthy, confident, non-rebellious kiddo!
When a child knows what to expect each day and knows that they have unflinching support, resources, and caretaking, they are able to tackle the challenges of young adulthood full on instead of half-hearted.
Providing a stable routine and consistent support and love not only makes a child feel respected, heard, and acknowledged within the family, but it’s also a great opportunity for parents to foresee what their children may need.
Inevitably, stability makes parenting more manageable and helps kids harness independence instead of rebelliousness.
- Lack of Guidance
I’ve said it once, but I’m going to say it again … parenting is all about balance!
While over criticism leads to rebellious behavior, so does too much freedom. Without proper structure or boundaries, kids begin to feel directionless or even unloved.
In this way, rebellion is a “manifestation of a cry for help, for more guidance.”
- Becoming Their Best Friend
For some parents, it may be tempting to try and please your kiddo. Some parents even fall into the role of friend instead of authority figure.
Again, balance is key!
Having fun is definitely part of the parenting experience. Yet, when your role shifts into friendship, you can lose authority and respect. These are two crucial factors that allow parents to guide their kid and avoid rebellious behavior.
- Poor Communication
Instead of trying to be your kids best friend, how about simply opening the door to communication?
Rebellion oftentimes stems from not being heard, especially when it’s partnered with inequality within the family unit. Lead by example and open up to your kiddo first. By making yourself vulnerable, you’re showing them that it’s acceptable and even healthy to do so!