It’s normal for teenagers to fail to do their chores without 10 reminders, to put off their homework, to be emotional, to lose important things, to like music that is too loud, and to sometimes counter or question authority. A young man we worked with described his own experience from normal to abnormal behavior this way.
That’s all pretty typical, though it can be aggravating to parents. He said, “I felt like the things I was doing were pretty normal—schoolwork was boring.
Most have broken just about every rule in the book.
As a result, many of them think they have messed up so bad that no one—not even their parents or God—loves them any more.
But parents can get confused by their changes in attitude and the independence they seek, assuming their teenager is becoming rebellious. sudden profound changes in personality, angry outbursts of profanity, extreme disrespect for people and things, addictions, sudden failing grades, not sleeping or sleeping too much, extreme weight loss, eating disorders, self-harm, running away, or self-imposed isolation. Normal stuff has to do with being distracted, ditsy, trying to fit in, or flapping their wings of independence. Abnormal behavior and true rebellion is represented by a growing darkness, hatred, and anger in their soul, which tends to only get worse over time.Then, one day in the middle of a fight, I started cussing out my parents really bad.I had never done that before, and I knew something wasn’t right, and getting worse.” Rebellion can be a sign that something is seriously wrong in the relationship or that there has been damage to the teen’s feelings of value and self-worth.Yes, they need to obey the rules and remain inside the boundaries you have set, but I want to encourage you to put their behavior into the context of their lives and not label them as a rebel just because they are acting like a teenager.Parents need to recognize the difference between a distracted or foolish child and one who is making a bold “You can’t tell me what to do! Though both may seem rebellious, only the latter is trying to be.They’ve developed a “what’s the use of trying” attitude, which has gotten them into even more trouble.That thinking needs to be turned around before they will turn around.Psalm says, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up.” It’s crucial that we never make our kids think they are damaged goods or black sheep. Rather we must love them unconditionally, even through the disappointments and struggles. After all, they made the conscious decision to step over the line.Grounding them for a week can actually be a time where you can build your relationship; you can use the time to do things together.