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July 3, 2015

Teenage Rebellion – I Want To be Different, Just Like You

As teenagers we are faced with the difficulties created by our dependency upon what others think about us at the very time we are seeking to create our own identity and become independent.

We begin to have our own ideas, often separate from our parents’ ideas about life—even though we are still substantially dependent upon our parents. This struggle between dependency and the feeling that our parents don’t know what they are talking about (or that they are impossible to please) leads us to look for likeminded individuals. We look to our peers to find someone who is different just like us. We look to these peers for support, even when it might not be good for us.

self esteem expert teeneage problems patricia nollSome of us are very selective about the particular person or group we choose to emulate and others of us will lower our standards to be different like our chosen group. For most of us though, the only way being different is safe is when being different isn’t really being different. As a result, our mantra during the teen years and beyond is “I want to be different JUST LIKE YOU.”

The struggles and tug-of-war between teens and parents often lead to teen rebellion. During this time of rebellion, the teen is essentially telling the parent, “I’ll show you; I’ll hurt me.”

In other words, “I’ll hurt you by hurting myself.” This rebellious attitude can often lead to some outrageous behaviors on the part of the teenager.

For many, this struggle continues into adulthood. Believe it or not, adults rebel too. Parents are replaced by any and all authority figures—even the establishment and the rules of society in general. Their motto is “no one is going to tell me what to do.” Their teenage rebellion against a parent’s controlling behavior has continued into adulthood and they are still saying “I’ll show you; I’ll hurt me.”

Have you ever admired a particular person or group of people who were different and chose to
be different just like them? See if you can identify who that was. What were the results?

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Patricia Noll


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