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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.

Express value to them and sorrow that they have to suffer the consequences, even as they are in the midst of experiencing it. I’d like to treat you that way, but if you insist on being treated like you’re 12, I will!

But you won’t like it because you’ll only have the privileges of a 12 year old.” To that end, perhaps the biggest tool in a parent’s arsenal of consequences today is taking away a cell phone.

They are still focused on trying to fit in with their peers and to make sense out of life.

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.

Another common cause for rebellion is when a teen is trying to exert their independence in a home where independence is not allowed. The best thing to do when you see rebellion in your teen is to first look at what may be impeding your relationship.

Could it be that you are still treating them like a child and need to give them a few more freedoms?

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.

(I had a parent say, “My child doesn’t have a cell phone,” to which I replied, “Give them one so you can take it away.”) That’s an amazing way to change their behavior. Kids change because of relationship, not due to your shaming them or your anger.

Anger just shifts the attention away from their behavior, causing them to reflect anger right back at you.

If your teen’s behavior has become dark, secretive, explosive, or otherwise abnormal, it’s time that you get them in to see a counselor. As I’ve pointed out, deep rebellion usually has deep causes, and it can take a lot of digging by a trained counselor to get to the root of it.

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