Not all teenagers demonstrate rebellious behavior, but the physical, intellectual and moral growth occurring during the teenage stage of development can instigate problems, reports KidsHealth. Rebellion can distort challenges and blind your teenager to the long-term consequences associated with her decisions. Remember that practice makes perfect, and your teenager may lack the problem-solving expertise needed to successfully navigate difficult choices. An awareness of the effects of teenage rebellion motivates parents to monitor and respond appropriately to their teenagers' behavior.
1. Risks for Teens Who Tip the Bottle
Risks abound for the rebellious teen who engages in underage drinking, and approximately 11 percent of the alcohol consumed in the U.S. is consumed by individuals between the ages of 12 and 20. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that teenagers who use alcohol are more likely to exhibit problems in school, engage in unprotected sexual activity, abuse other drugs and suffer impaired brain development. Teenagers who use alcohol exhibit an increased risk for suicide and homicide, memory lapses, and physical and sexual assault.
2. No Apple for the Teacher
The school setting serves as the preferred means of expressing rebellion for some teenagers, and parents experience emotional distress as a result, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics. The most extreme form of rebellion in the school setting is dropping out. The teenager who leaves high school before graduating must contend with diminished job opportunities and lower salaries. The teenager may experience negative emotional consequences when faced with the realization that inadequate training and knowledge will not enable her to reach her goals.
3. What Color Is That?
For some teenagers, the effects of rebellion are found in their physical appearance. When your teenager dyes her hair a color not found in Mother Nature’s palette or dons a wardrobe you find shocking, remember that she planned to get your attention -- the mission is accomplished for your teenager. Rebellious teens may turn up the shock factor a level to even surprise other teenagers. Experimenting with her appearance represents another vehicle for your teenager to experiment with new roles. Try to remain patient as she tries on, and eventually discards, many looks to coincide with the latest role.
4. Signals That Your Teen Needs Help
Overt rebellious behavior is usually easy to observe, but other behaviors that may coincide with rebellious behavior are more subtle because they appear over time. For example, extreme changes in your teenager’s weight, sleeping habits, or grades in school signify that your child needs a referral to a doctor or counselor. Sudden personality changes, any reference to suicide and evidence of alcohol, tobacco or drug use are red flags alerting parents to a need for professional help. Consider these red flags as signals that your teenager needs additional support.
- KidsHealth: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fact Sheets - Underage Drinking
- HealthyChildren.org: When a Teen Wants to Drop Out
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Dropout Reduction: Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images