Parenting Articles

Rebellious Teens

Rebellious and Defiant Teens

One of the most difficult parenting situations that come up around the world is that of rebellious and defiant teens. It is true that most teenagers rebel to some degree. They are testing their limits, and learning to be individuals. It is only natural to rebel a little bit in order to develop a sense of self. However, asserting individuality and testing the boundaries is a different proposition from outright rebellion and defiance.

Rebellious and defiant teens have a disdain for authority, and show little desire to work with parents, teachers and others. They repeatedly cross the line, and may show outright disrespect, flouting rules constantly, or ignoring your strictures. Dealing with rebellious and defiant teens is difficult, and you can only do your best. Here are some ideas for trying to deal with rebellious and defiant teens:

Do what you can to enforce boundaries

It is important to show your rebellious teenager that there are still rules. This means doing your best to enforce consequences. No, you probably can’t stop him or her from sneaking out the window at night. However, you can take away computer privileges or video games. You can also remove car privileges and make it clear that if your child wants to benefit from the extra, “fun” things you have as a family, he or she needs to be a functioning and respectful part of the family. Try these teen behavior contracts.

Try to avoid big fights

This can be difficult, but you need to try to avoid big fights. Part of the reason that defiant and rebellious teens act out is to get a reaction from you. One of the best things you can do is react calmly. Explain that the poor decision that a teenager has made is resulting in a specific consequence (try to choose consequences that you can actually enforce), and that he or she can earn back your trust.

Big fights over a teenager’s hair or clothes will only put you in a losing position. Calmly state that you do’t approve of something your teen is wearing, saying, or listening to, and leave it at that. If the behavior is offensive, you can enforce consequences.

Be available to talk

Try to be available to talk. Listen to your teenager. If he or she comes to you with a problem, or confesses something he or she did, hold your tongue until he or she is done. While it may be difficult, try to avoid making judging statements. If your teen wants advice, give to him or her candidly and calmly. If he or she is admitting wrong-doing, calmly point out that there is a consequence attached to all such actions, and that it will be enforced. Try to help your teen, or just listen on occasion.

Be clear in your unconditional love

It is difficult, but when dealing with rebellious and defiant teens, you need to be clear about your unconditional love for your teenager. Make sure that you are clear that it is the behavior you do not approve of. Also, do your best to avoid comparisons between your troubled teenager and others. These comparisons will most likely only provoke more efforts to rebel as teens feel unloved.

Continue to invite your troubled teenager to family activities, and express a desire for your child to join the table at meal times. Be sure that you continue to provide the basics of life: Shelter, food and clothing. However, you do need to make it clear that you will not tolerate violence in your home, and that your teen should not endanger anyone else in the family.

Programs for rebellious and defiant teens

If your teenager has become so unmanageable that he or she is engaged in illegal activities, or becoming violent, you might have to look into programs for your teenager. Make it clear that you love your teen, and you want to help him or her, but you can’t have destructive behavior in your home. Programs for rebellious teens can help your teenager learn techniques to manage his or her anger issues and problems. In these cases, your teen might still have problems when he or she gets back from the program, but they might be more manageable.

It can be difficult to know what to do if you have a troubled teenager. You should do what you can to re-establish a good relationship with your teenager, and show that you are concerned and loving. In the end, though, all you can do is try your best, since rebellious and defiant teens make their own decisions.

Troubled Teen Issues

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is very common in families with more than one child, and it’s part of growing up for most kids, but it can be destructive to families and individuals. Parents can’t stop all sibling rivalry, but they can help make it a learning experience rather than a traumatic one.

Sibling rivalry occurs when siblings fight or act out against each other. Most kids experience sibling rivalry from time to time. Even when they love their siblings they may still have episodes of sibling rivalry as part of the growing up process. There are some common reasons for sibling rivalry in children and teens:

  • They are discovering their own identities and need to establish their independence from family members
  • They have conflicting personalities, such as one sibling who is laid back while the other is very active
  • They feel like one sibling is getting an unfair amount of attention. This can be especially challenging if one sibling has an illness, disability, or other problem that requires more attention
  • They feel like it is unfair that one sibling gets different privileges, such as an older sibling who has more freedom, or a younger child who has fewer chores.
  • They have not yet learned positive ways to solve conflicts
  • They are bored, hungry, or tired
  • There is stress or aggression in the family, such as parents getting a divorce, a teen who fights frequently with parents, or financial problems in the family 

Regardless of the reasons for sibling rivalry, the fighting can cause stress and unhappiness for everyone in the family. Parents may be frustrated not knowing how to react when siblings fight. Some general guidelines for parents while siblings are fighting include:

  • If possible, don’t get involved in the fight and let children resolve their own conflicts unless someone is getting hurt.
  • If you must intervene in the fight, separate the children until they are both calm enough to talk about what happened.
  • Don’t yell at the siblings who are fighting, since this may only escalate the aggression.
  • Don’t assign blame or try to figure out who started it – both siblings were fighting so both are responsible for the conflict.
  • Don’t appear to favor or protect one child.
  • Don’t assume that the younger child is always the victim. Younger children are just as capable of older ones at starting fights, and older siblings still may not have the maturity to handle the situation well. 

Though parents cannot prevent all sibling rivalry, there are things they can do to reduce the frequency and severity of fights, depending on the causes. Some of these things include:

  • Talk to each child alone every day, and tell them that you love them. Even spending ten minutes with a child can reassure them that you care about them and give you a chance to find out what’s going on in their lives.
  • Spend positive time together as a family. Try to eat one meal together every day without the TV, and find time to do fun family activities like playing games or going for walks. This will strengthen family relationships and make kids more willing to work out their problems. Be sure, however, that the activities address the interests of all the children so they don’t feel like they are being forced to participate in one child’s activities.
  • Appreciate each child as an individual, and don’t compare children to their siblings.
  • Hold family meetings to set rules, like no hitting or name-calling, and explain what the consequences will be for any child who breaks these rules, regardless of who starts a conflict. Remind children that they are all part of the family and that you love each of them.
  • Help children to understand that sometimes being fair does not mean being equal. A teenager may have more freedom, but also may have more responsibilities. A child with special needs may get more attention because he or she needs the extra help.
  • Let children and teens have some time and space to themselves, and let them have some special possessions they don’t have to share.
  • If children are fighting over something like a computer game or the TV, create a schedule so each gets equal time using it. Let them know if the fighting continues that whatever they are fighting over will be taken away. Giving each child their own TV or computer may not be a good solution because it doesn’t teach compromise and may lead to family members being isolated in their rooms without supervision or family interaction.
  • Set a good example. When you are angry, don’t yell, throw things, or call others names. If you need help with anger management, don’t hesitate to get help. 

If sibling rivalry is causing serious problems in the family, is physically or emotionally harmful to one or more family members, or is caused by an outside source of stress like parents’ divorce, loss of a job, or an illness in the family, consider getting counseling for your family. Most communities offer low-cost or free family counseling services for families who cannot afford counseling on their own.

Also, be aware of sibling abuse, which is when one sibling is always the victim and is frightened of and being hurt by the other, physically or verbally. This may look different from sibling rivalry because the victim usually won’t fight back or defend him or herself and may become depressed or anxious. Remember that older children and teens can be the victims of younger siblings. In cases of sibling abuse, parents should seek immediate help for both of the siblings.

Sibling Rivalry Sources:

University of Michigan Health System, YourChild Development and Behavior Resources, “Sibling Rivalry” [online]
Nemours, KidsHealth, “Sibling Rivalry” [online]
The Ohio State University Extension, Backpack Buddies, “Understanding Sibling Rivalry” [online]

Troubled Teen Issues

At Risk Youth

Welcome to our site! is designed for parents and teens to gather information about at risk youth and teen issues. We have created pages with statistics and resources from many different sources.

Teen issues included on this site include : teen drug abuse, teenage alcoholism, teen pregnancy, disorders, and more! We also have data on various types of schools, programs, and treatment options available to parents of at risk youth. To find more information on any of these types – Use the links at the header of each page.

There are a lot of websites out there that talk about “at risk youth”, but there is no real definition that fits this term (in our opinion). We have seen people refer to inner city kids that live in poor neighborhoods as at risk youth, but are they really more at risk than any other? Drugs, alcohol, and youth violence are prominent in almost every area of the United States. Single parent homes, dysfunctional family units, and other social issues have no boundaries either. So we’ve developed this site with a little something for everyone.

Here’s our definition of an at risk youth (this is our opinion): We believe any child that grows up in this world is “At-Risk” in some way. Children will be exposed to “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” at a very early age. Teens will know other kids that do drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke cigarettes. Some parents will do all they can to raise their kids right – and their kids may still make poor choices. The statistics we have gathered are amazing. At risk youth can be either sex, any race, and any age. Each “group” has a different area where they are more at risk, but they are all youth at risk.

We appreciate you coming to our site to gather resources about the issues that teens face today. We hope that you can find help for your individual situation to help your child or adolescent.

Troubled Teen Issues

Out of Control Teens

Out of Control Teens

It’s a fairly natural process: Many teenagers rebel against their parents in some way. They also become moody and difficult in some cases. This is because teenagers are still developing, and the teen years represent some of the most rapid changes that the body goes through once beyond early childhood. On top of that, teenagers are experiencing a new range of emotions and urges as their hormones become active. There is a lot for teens to deal with as they grow up, and this can lead to some conflict in the home. However, occasional arguments and some moodiness and a degree of rebellion are all normal. What isn’t normal, though, is an out of control teen that becomes regularly violent and willfully and consciously defiant at every turn.

Signs that you have an out of control teen (or defiant, struggling, rebellious teen)

There are signs that you might have an out of control teen on your hands. An out of control teen or troubled teen persists regularly and often in the following behaviors for at least six months:

  • Constantly losing one’s temper.
  • Regularly arguing with adults.
  • Defying requests actively and often.
  • Refusing to follow rules.
  • Trying to deliberately annoy others.
  • Constantly blaming other people for their misbehavior, poor choices or mistakes.
  • Showing spitefulness and vindictiveness regularly.
  • Being very touchy and easily angered. 

Many of these teenagers are very stubborn and continually push the boundaries. While there is a certain amount of testing with all teenagers, an out of control teen pushes the limits on everything, and is actively defiant about his or her behavior. An out of control teen shows no remorse for behavior that negatively affects friends and family, and shows aggression, rather than the normal teenage moodiness and occasional rule breaking.

Risk factors for an out of control teen

There are different reasons that a struggling teen might spiral out of control. Some risk factors have to do with genetic disposition, and others have to do with environment. And some are due to the influence of peer pressure. Some of the things that can influence whether or not a teen develops out of control behaviors and habits include:

  • Favorable attitude of parents toward rebellious behavior.
  • Conflict in the family and/or witness family violence.
  • Friends who abuse substances or engage in delinquent behavior.
  • Rejection by peers.
  • Family history of mental disorders, addiction or problem behavior.
  • Traumatic experiences in childhood. 

Current family stresses can also cause out of control teen behavior. Financial stress, divorce, inconsistency in parenting techniques, very punitive practices in the family and severe illness or other family challenges can all result in a situation that a teenager finds difficult to deal with. This can in turn result in problem behavior as the teen looks for an outlet.

Another factor is a desire to be accepted. Some struggling teenagers develop out of control and problem behaviors as they attempt to be accepted by their peers. They might engage in substance abuse, illegal behaviors and other actions in order to find acceptance. These acts can, in turn, lead to destructive behaviors that can cause problems for the family, as well as for the teenager. In some cases, out of control teens develop violent tendencies that can threaten younger family members.

Helping to head off an out of control or defiant teen

There are some different things you can try in order to attempt to head off an out of control teen. You want to be able to help your struggling teenager cope with the challenges being presented, if possible. Some of the things that can help keep a teenager away from out of control behavior include:

  • Family counseling. (Individual counseling may be needed as well.)
  • Learning techniques for providing consistent parenting.
  • Creating a loving home environment.
  • Showing interest in your child’s activities.
  • Talking about your expectations of ethical and moral behavior.
  • Listening to your teen and communicating regularly with him or her.
  • Encouraging teenagers to participate in healthy extracurricular activities.
  • Meeting your kids’ friends, and their parents.
  • Remaining the adult – and the parent – even when sometimes you’d rather be “cool.”
  • Avoiding arguments and trying to reason with your teenager when she or he is upset. Acknowledge a teen’s position without condoning it.
  • Pick your battles. Don’t judge everything your teen says, does or listens to. Look for the important things, and don’t get too fussed about unimportant matters. 

In the end, your response to the situation can be important. If you show that you are supportive and want to help, this can be a way to rein in an out of control teen. However, there might times when nothing works, and you have no choice but to send a teen away for the good of the family. We have many options for these situations.