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Published September 30 2013

The Rebellion Cycle

E Early adolescence (ages 9-13):

Rebellion in early adolescence is about rejecting a childhood identity. Parents should use patient insistence to wear down resistance when kids don’t meet parents’ requests right away, said Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist, author and blogger.

Parents should also talk to their children and try to help them put their feelings into words, he said.

E Mid-adolescence (ages 13-15)

Rebellion in mid-adolescence is about experimenting with identity. Parents should repeatedly provide positive guidance and let natural consequences occur, Pickhardt said.

E Late adolescence (ages 15-18)

Rebellion in late adolescence occurs as a result of delayed adolescence, and the young person is dramatically rebelling to liberate himself from childhood dependency on parental approval.

Risk-taking can be more dangerous at this older age. Parents should allow more independence while expecting equal responsibility. Stay empathetic and provide calm and clear guidance, Pickhardt said.

E Trial independence (ages 18-23)

Rebellion in trial independence is about rebelling against self-interest. This is why young adults might skip college classes or drop out altogether, Pickhardt said.

Parents can offer advice if the child asks for it, but ultimately they must let the consequences of the young person’s choices play out, he said.

“How to end this rebellion against self-interest and accept their leadership authority in life is the last challenge of adolescence,” he writes in a blog post. “It must be met before young adulthood can truly begin.”

Source: Carl Pickhardt’s blog post, “Rebel with a Cause: Rebellion in Adolescence” on psychologytoday.com.