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Rebellious and Obedient Teens Have The Same Problem

When I teach teen courses I frequently have students who are locked in a power struggle with their parents. Their parents definitely consider them disobedient. The teens know exactly what they are doing and consider themselves rebellious. They don’t want to be controlled. The problem with being rebellious is that they are actually being more controlled than if they were being obedient. How is that true? Being rebellious means you have to oppose something. A rebellious teen has to know what an authority wants before they know how they will act. Of course they will act in opposition. The point is they never choose what they want. Their choice is entirely based upon opposing the demands of an authority. It is a great moment in a course room when teens discover that rebellion actually causes them to be totally controlled. I will point out that at least obedient teens know they are being obedient. Rebellious teens are simply unaware that they are being obedient to opposing. The problem with being obedient or rebellious is the same. These teens are not learning how to make decisions based upon what is in their best interest. That is the key. They must learn to decide what they want based upon what is in their best interest and then act accordingly. This always involves teens consciously identifying the values and character traits they want to embody. That is how teens begin the journey of self-reliance which is mandatory to becoming a fully realized adult. 

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