The Nature of Teen Rebellion

The rebellious nature of teens and young adults is common throughout human society. Reflecting a surge of hormones and an inborn drive for independence, this trait has surely been important throughout the evolution of our species, triggering the dispersal of clans and preventing the negative effects of inbreeding.

While teen rebellion is a source of strife and stress for many families, it can be mitigated and, in the end, may have many positive effects. Parents with rigid belief systems and an unwillingness to discuss other points of view are more likely to endure significant conflict with their teen-aged children. Though these young adults need guidance and clear boundaries, the rationale for such rules of behavior must be explained and the thoughts and ideas of the teen deserve attention and consideration. Of course, in the end, final decisions must fall to the responsible adult.

On the other hand, society benefits from the energy and fresh input of its youth. Many social rebellions, including the current Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements, are ignited and led by young adults. Having a longer time horizon and more to lose, they are the social group most likely to demand change when rights and opportunities are restricted. While teen rebellion often stems from selfish immaturity, young adults also serve as the conscience of human society.