A Few Reasons Your Teenager May Be Acting Out
Defiant behavior happens when a person purposely opposes ruling or structure. When a child has defiant behavior, they are most likely opposing the structure a parent or adult has created. Parents often feel this behavior is their fault or they are failing as a parent to create the structure their child needs. This is not necessarily the case, There are many reasons a child may act out.
Disobedience, defiant behavior, and acting out basically means someone is trying to “act out” their feelings. The person can’t figure out a way to express their feelings so they use actions instead. If this type of behavior starts at a younger age it could come from a few different things. A child can act out when they are afraid or worried, sad or curious, angry, frustrated, or stressed. They can also act out when they are influenced by their friends and are witnessing bad behavior outside of the home. This can continue, though, inside the home when a child mirrors their parents behavior. They can act out when they don’t understand the logic behind the rules or if they don’t understand what exactly is expected of them. Often, they are usually acting out because they can’t find the words to express how they feel.
When this behavior continues as the child gets older and enters adolescence, that’s when it can really become a problem. When pre-teens and teenagers act defiantly it can usually stem from wanting to prove they are no longer a child. For preteens especially because they really want to show they are grown up enough to be with the big kids or the adults. They may stop listening to their parents or stop “taking orders.” They want to show they will do what they want when they want. It’s important to realize this can easily be tackled simply by allowing the child the to be more involved with decision making. Maybe try setting a bedtime or dinnertime together, one that works for everyone, so the child feels included instead of being forced or made to do something.
As teenagers act defiantly it can be related to wanting to define themselves. They want to be different from their friends, peers, siblings, and different from what their parents want or expect them to be. They may also be acting out because or change or routine or change coming that they are afraid, worried, or stressed about. Fear of the unknown after high school can cause a lot of stress and can at times result in unexpected behavior from the teenager. It may seem like, as the parent, you want to enforce more rules and limits when your child acts out but sometimes letting them be defiant can be part of growing up.
Simply talking things through with your child when you notice behavior that is out of their norm can make all the difference. If the behavior continues or worsens and nothings seems to be working, try not to critique, let them know you are there and love them, try giving them space, and stay calm. Continue to work on building a close relationship with them and try to understand what they are going through. Remember you were a teenager once too and those times can be tough. For more help, get in contact with a local program for troubled teenagers and talk with them about what can be done.