Sometimes teenagers seem like aliens, imported from a distant planet to disrupt our society and confuse us. If you’ve ever been baffled at your teenager’s behavior, you’re not alone; they often do a lot of things that just don’t seem to make any sense at all. In this article I am going to give you a quick look into the brain of a teenager and help you understand why they do some of the things they do that don’t seem to make sense.
I believe that all human beings are driven by one basic need and desire. I once fostered a belief that everyone just wants to be happy and they just get lost down misguided attempts to be happy. I have since reformed that idea and have come to believe that every person seeks power. That’s right POWER.
So why power? Simple, power is freedom, the freedom to do what we want, when we want and how we want. I also believe that it is this desire for power that leads people don’t misguided roads.
Your teenager is no different, they want power, they want to make adult decisions and do adult things. They usually want to do these things without experiencing adult responsibilities and adult consequences but that’s an unavoidable fact that they have to come to grips with. You’ve probably noticed that since a very young age, your child resisted you when you tried to do things for them or when you tried to make them do something.
Just like all of us, they want independence, they want freedom. If they don’t have their desired level of freedom they often will try to take it. By force. That’s where rebellion comes in, they believe that by being rebellious, they are making their own decisions; they are living their own lives and doing what they want. They mistake rebellion for independence and they often adopt an attitude that if they want independence, they must rebel. They believe that this attitude will get them the freedom they want and that’s why they attempt to take it by force.
The reality is that rebelling against rules and laws may get them some initial freedom but it catches up to them and they lose their freedom, they become less independent and more dependent. They become dependent on police, judges, courts, parents, schools, therapist and on and on.
What they don’t understand is that if they really want freedom and independence they need to be responsible. When people show and practice responsibility, they show that they deserve to be trusted to make their own decisions. On the other hand, when they use rebellion as a means to gain independence, they show people in authority positions that they can’t be trusted to make their own decisions, that they lack the capability to make good decisions and they force the hand of authority figures to intervene in their lives and make their decisions for them. And if they really took the time to really think about it, they would realize that this is the very thing that they have been trying to avoid.
Parents can help their teenagers learn this; in fact they should help them learn this. You can empower kids even from an early age by giving them choices, responsibilities and allowing them to be accountable by enduring the consequences of their choices. You can also empower them by telling them directly what will result from making bad choices, don’t assume that they understand the consequences that follow certain choices.