THE DISEASE OF THE TEENAGER

They grow into it, and out of it. But the growth period can be harrowing to the parents/ teachers….

The Young Always Have The Same Problem – How To Rebel And Conform At The Same Time. They Have Now Solved This By Defying Their Parents And Copying One Another.

Quentin Crisp

Youngsters, those in the teenage years (from thirteen upwards) feel a strong need to be antagonistic to everything, go against “constituted authority”, to assert their newfound adolescence.

I Refuse, Therefore I Am,” is their motto!

Are young people just stubborn? Do they find this rebellious obstinacy justifiable?

A young (wo)/man wants to comport himself / herself as (s)he pleases. If he wants to go somewhere, he has to go. If he wants to pierce his ears and out an earring, nothing should stop him. He can not stand being repressed from engraving a tattoo on her forearms, if the fancy strikes her.

Many parents are puzzled by the recalcitrance or intransigence of their pubescent children. At the age of adolescence, young people do their best to resist and rebel​ against almost everything. Tenacious and obstinate, they pursue their own ideas and rebel against those who try to dissuade them from what they want to do. This allows them to stand out, make a statement, and feel important.

When pubertal physical transformations occur in a teenager, he believes that he has grown up and decides to put an end to parental and tutorial subjugation / domination.

And pursues independence of actions.

He is no longer willing to obey orders. What he seeks is to prove that he has become independent and has the faculty /facility to judge for himself. Gone are the days of subservience! Behold, old things have passed away.

A young man wants to express all his impulses that were hitherto suppressed / repressed by authority figures (like parents!), up till then. He wants to control things himself, to have an impact on his immediate environment, and to have the means to shape his existence – himself.

The problem, of course, is that this stubbornness is sometimes pushed to the extreme. It can even take an overly aggressive form.

Indeed, a young person is even more obstinate when he remembers all the times in the past when she had to yield to the authority of parents and adults in general.

Something he feels is unfair!.

Once he attains teenage years, he gives himself the right to break rules.

Audacity of impunity !

However, if some young people hold on, it is because they believe in the cause they are defending. Others, on the other hand, are obstinate in order to prove a point, to stand out, to attract attention, to prove that they are no longer juveniles.

Unfortunately, this unjustified obstinacy only highlights, immaturity, irresponsibility and an egotistical and capricious tendency among lots of young people.

Joseph, 16, admits to being a real pug-head. He never listens to those who give him orders and force his hand.

If others try to convince me gently, I yield without even realizing it. On the other hand, if we use the language of force, I am even more persistent. It becomes like a kind of challenge and I do not give in, even if it’s my parents.

Moreover, in my opinion, a person who is easily influenced, who always gives in to others, is a person who lacks character. Starting from my holding specific principles, beliefs and ideas, I am a human being in my own right and I have the right to have positions on issues.

No one has the right to interfere because he will touch on barriers that I guard jealousy. On the other hand, I can accept that the other person may have a different way of seeing things or behaving. This is a matter of individual freedom. But none has the right to impose his opinion on me. In that case, I am more persistent.

However, I can easily give in to my friends. First, they are my age, I (en)trust them with everything. If they tell me I am wrong, I listen because I trust them and their judgments. And above all, my friend generally correct me in a very subtle and delicate way.

For another teenager, Delilah, 15,positive stubbornness is proof that one has a lot of character.

First you have to distinguish between someone who stands up just to attract attention and another who holds on because she is convinced of what he is doing.

I have a rather “robust” character. I do not let go of my view and positions so easily. Generally, if I maintain a position it is because I am fully convinced that I am not in the wrong.

But I never behave in a childish or puerile way. If my colleague has the arguments to dissuade me or to convince me otherwise, I listen. It is possible that I may change my position or attitude if she succeeds in persuading me. However, I do not accept attempts to impose orders on me!

I do not like to be taken for a little child who must execute orders robotically, without even having the right to understand, and discuss issues.

Youngsters who persist without good reason do not even entertain persuasive arguments. They pretend to listen, but still go ahead to do what they want to do.

That is not the case for me. I am open-minded and accept criticism if done with tact. I sometimes change my opinion when I am truly persuaded.

I can not accept being forced to do something. This will be proof that I am judged incapable of reflecting and understanding.

With my friends, things are different. We discuss at length, and they get me to change my mind with gentle persuasions, like in the case of my parents.

Abdul, 15, is not stubborn. The young man always complies with the will of his parents. The stubbornness exhibited by teenagers is often a matter of past interaction – the manner. Discussions, or direct orders and instructions. If parents have always encouraged the child to discuss and express himself, he will be more receptive of dissenting opinions later on.

On the other hand, if it has been long under the control of domineering parents, who don’t allow the teenage have his way or express himself, a faulty foundation has already been laid over time.The child may turn out to be exceptionally stubborn to have his revenge.

I am only persuaded if I am convinced I am on the right track. There is no reason for me to give in if I am not in the wrong! It is a kind of challenge and I am not ready to give up if I am not convinced. On the other hand, with my parents, things differ. I always try to talk to them and they reason along with me.

I willingly give in to my parents because they hardly thwart me unless they are persuaded that it is for my own sake. So I rely entirely on their wisdom and forget my stubbornness and self-love.

I am comforted with the knowledge that no one will ever want the best for me like my parents

Ebube, 16, has always maintained a low profile in front of her mother. The young lady is persuaded that it is only for her good.

Every human being has a key. The most intelligent parent is the one who knows how to find the right key at the right time. Every human being can be lured and made to believe that she has had her way, and that the idea emanated from her originally, while in fact, she has been manipulated.

All this, while making the youngster believe believe that she is having her way This is the case with my mother. She’s an intelligent woman who knows how to lure me in the direction she wants. I know she seeks my interest. However, if the orders come from someone else, I rarely give in

In his book, How To Make Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie lists the following as a way to have a harmonious relationship with people.

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener.
5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely

Points 1,4,5 & 6 apply here, with Point 6 probably being the most vital point to note, in handling teenagers without rancor.

The book is highly recommended in dealing harmoniously with people generally, not just difficult teenagers.

Download How To Make Friends And Influence People here.

After going through the book, you may find problematic teenagers easier to ‘wipe into line’ _ the gentle way, the only way!

If You Want To Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over The Beehive

Despite all, don’t forget..

Spearing The Child May spoil The Rod

 

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