Rebel Definition: Understanding Teen Rebellion

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Rebellion is a stage that most adolescents and teens go through at some point in his or her life. It most often occurs during the teens years, but some may continue rebelling into their adult years as well. However, it can be a very frustrating time for parents, guardians, and educators who are trying to teach them right from wrong. Discover the true Rebel Definition. 

While learning to follow rules and respect authority is important, teen rebellion is not unusual. In fact, it is normal somewhat in all parts of the world. For most teens, rebellion occurs during a time in their life when they are trying to establish their own identify.

According to the National Institute of Health, it often occurs as a teen is “detaching” from their parents, a normal phenomena that occurs as they grow into adulthood. During this process they are learning through trial and error. They are developing their personality, their beliefs, and their own values.

It is thorough this stage in life that they begin to learn who they are, and what they feel passionate about, as they begin to form opinions about the world and the people around them.

What is a Rebel?

A rebel definition provided by Marriam-Webster dictionary is “opposing or taking arms against a government or ruler”. Rebelling when it comes to teens is often synonymous with contrary behavior, defiance, or being disobedient.

A rebel is someone who is rebellious is nature. They are often resistant to authority, whether it is their parent, educators, or other adults in their life matters very little. They choose to defy not only rules, but general social norms as well. Society often links a rebel with many negative connotations. As a result they are often labeled as “bad”, “unruly”, or “troubled.”

Those who are responsible for a teen who is rebellious, may worry that their defiance will cause them to be unsuccessful in adult life. They may also worry that their teen will turn out to be a deviant, or become a criminal as a result of their lack of conformity to authority.

According to the National Library of Medicine, there is some indication that genetics may play a role in why some teens rebel. Though previous studies have suggested that environment also plays a role, and that this behavior can be learned.

Often teen rebellion is a way to gain freedom. The level and degree of rebellion varies from person to person. For some it may lead to problems in school, or experimenting with drugs and alcohol at an early age. For many others it may be expressed in their choice of music or even fashion. It mostly depends on the teen and what the adults in their life perceives as rebellion.

What Does Rebel Mean?

By definition, rebel means different things for different people. For some it is the simple act of refusing to conform to rules and social norms. For others, it may be a defiance to the natural order of things, the refusal to dress a certain way, or to form certain opinions or beliefs.

A rebels definition of themselves may also vary. They may not view themselves as a rebel at all, but someone who simply sees things in a different way, or someone who is trying to make a difference in the world. A quote by Apple Inc., offers a different perspective on rebellious behavior in the following quote.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
~ Apple Inc.

How to Confront a Rebellious Teen

No matter what level of rebellion you face with the teen in your life, there are ways that you can reach out to them. Here are a few suggestions from the Global Post on how to handle a rebellious teen.

  • Make an effort to reach out, but remain polite and respectful. Showing anger or frustration may only fuel their behavior, and cause them to shut down from you completely.
  • Acknowledge their feelings, whether anger or pain. Simply listening and empathizing with your teen goes a long way in helping both of you understand their behavior.
  • Explain that you understand, but that you will not tolerate their behavior. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. However, be sure that you make it clear that the behavior is unacceptable.
  • Approach the problem in a problem-solving manner, instead of trying to control. Try to come up with a solution that will fix the issue without making it worse. It may even help to ask the teen how they feel it can be resolved.
  • Discuss specific issues and problems with behavior. Let them know why it is unacceptable and why you cannot allow it to continue.
  • Get counseling or help if necessary. If it seems that your teen is not open to helping you solve the problem, getting a professional involved can help.
  • Remain consistent with consequences. Not matter how angry or frustrated you may become, stick with your plan. Consistency is key to changing unhealthy behaviors.

Famous Rebels Who Beat The Odds

Despite the negative stigma attached to those who are defined as a rebel, there are some positive attributes to rebellion. In fact, it is often those who rebel against societal norms who make the most profound difference in the world. Take the following famous rebels as defined by Life Aura, who managed to beat the odds and make it big.

  1. George Bernard Shaw, was a famous literary genius, born July of 1856, in Dublin Ireland. He viewed the educational system as “prisons” and “turnkeys”, that aimed not to educate, but to keep children from disturbing their parents. Though he was a high school drop out, he went on to earn both a Nobel prize for literature in 1925, and a Oscar in 1938 for his work.
  2. Pablo Picasso, born in Spain in 1881, is one of the most recognized artists in the world today. However, in his younger years, despite showing signs of being a genius, he loathed school. He was known for skipping class and lacking self-discipline. Yet despite his rebellious tendencies, in the 91 years of his life, he managed to produce over 50,000 masterpieces.
  3. John Lennon, born in the United Kingdom, in 1940, thrived despite his refusal to conform to specific societal norms and standards both in life and in the music he produced. Today he is known by the Rolling Stone as one of the greatest singers of all time, and according to the British Broadcasting Corporation, the 8th greatest Britt to live.
  4. Charlie Sheen, born in New York City in 1965, is still known for his rebellious nature today. He began his acting career at the young age of nine, and some believe it is his rebellion that helped him create two of his best films, Platoon and Wall Street.

While it is not unusual for a teen to rebel, it can raise many concerns and worries for the adults in their life. It is important to remain calm, and try to discover the root of the problem instead of aiming to force or control the teen.

Also, remember that not all rebellious teens grow into troubled adults. Often this phase in life will pass with little or no long-term consequences. As shown above, even those who tend to have a rebellious personality can go on to do great things in life.

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