What are the five simple things that I can do to cause my teenager to rebel?

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Hi parents, this is Jenna with the Atlanta Center for Relational Healing. Today I would like to bring you five simple tips to getting your teenager to rebel.

Number one-we as parents can threaten!  And, this is such a fantastic parenting tool to incite rebellion in our children. When we threaten, we throw out an ultimatum that we have no intention of following through on. This is so much better than a well thought out boundary. We can either throw out something huge like "oh, you're grounded for a month" and then only follow through for maybe two days. Or, we can sometimes follow through and other times not. This is great because it employs the behavioral conditioning of variable reinforcement and variable reinforcement, it turns out, is the most powerful way to reinforce Behavior. So, when we do something sometimes and not others, we are actually training our children to ignore us consistently and to rebel. Super effective tip.

Number two-we can yell, we can lose it emotionally when they do something that upsets us or pushes our buttons. And, when we do this, we communicate effectively to them "I'm the adult, but I get to act like a child. You're the child, but I expect you to act like an adult." This is wonderful in inciting rebellion. resentment and a little bit of a sense of their home environment being totally out of control. This is a wonderful parenting tip to bring about rebellion.

Number three-protect them from every possible harm and, if possible, wrap them in bubble wrap. This is so effective in inciting rebellion, even though it may come about a little bit later, because it communicates to the child "you don't have what it takes" and it truncates their developmental responsibilities of adolescence, which is to individuate and mature. When we protect them from all possibilities of harm, we actually keep their decision-making skills in adolescent form. We prevent them from maturing into adulthood and we launch them into college with no mature decision making skills. This is a wonderful tool for inciting adolescent rebellion.

Number four-let them do whatever the heck they want. I mean, heck, they're going to do it anyway and the advantage of this parenting tools is it doesn't require anything of us. So, we can allow them the freedom to just do it, and not even worry about it. No consequences here. Now, here's why this one is so effective. The developmental tasks of adolescence, as we said, is individuating, pushing back against us and forming their own identities, to a certain extent. So, it's the job of a teenager to push against the boundaries, to see if they hold. Their testing safety and when we just fall down and let them run right over us we communicate "hey, no safety here" and I don't actually care enough to hold that boundary up, even when you get mad at me because I'd rather have you like me then create safety in your environment. This is wonderful. And, then it creates kind of an out-of-control feeling for children and a sense of there's nobody in charge here.

Finally, and perhaps most delightfully, I have the parenting tip of doing everything for our children. I mean, hypothetically I've heard people do this. Not that I have any idea what this is about, but if our teenager might leave their socks all over the living room we can go and pick up behind them. In fact, we could do their laundry for them, or we could follow them around and harass them about it, without any consequence. No follow-through. And, when they don't do it, then we get mad enough and then pick it up. Or, we can have them do a task and then redo it. This is especially effective because it communicates you're not good enough. Which at the end of the day, is a pretty powerful message to communicate to our kids to incite rebellion.

So parents these are five easy tips to get your teen to rebel. However, if you're not on board for teenage rebellion, and who isn't, then do the opposite of everything I just said.

Thanks parents. See you next time.

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