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Writing Therapy For Rebellious Teenagers

October 4, 2018
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Teenage rebellion and defiance is not a new concept for us, especially for parents. Most of us correlate this with constant yelling, shoplifting, slamming doors, and coming home beyond curfew hours. Most teenagers undergo this phase. Hence, it is crucial to understand why your teen is acting this way to be able to address this issue properly fully.

 

Why Do Teenagers Rebel?

 All teenagers go through similar phases more or less. It’s part of growing up. This similar phase usually starts with the need for independence and freedom, understanding their own identity, and testing their authority. According to Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC, “Rebellion in teens can be secretive or obvious depending on the personality of the teenager and the circumstances.” Some of this defiance is also linked to brain developmental changes and social pressures. Here are some of the reasons why teenagers rebel:

 

  • Brain Developmental Changes

 As a person enters teenage years, a part of his or her brain called prefrontal cortex is developing. This part of the brain is a person’s judgment center and thinking cap. The prefrontal cortex is where each teenager develops his or her ideas and ideals. As the prefrontal cortex develops, it is more capable of synthesizing information into ideas – leading to more arguments and discussions.

 

  • Identity Crisis

 When children enter their adolescent years, they usually question their own identity. They typically retort to questioning themselves with their purpose in life, what they are supposed to be doing, who they really are, and more. They usually try new things in this phase to be able to find answers in the said questions. They even retort to unwanted actions as a way to establish their own identity. According to Dr. Clayton Lessor, Licensed Professional Counselor “the best way to deal with teenage rebellion is (employing) natural consequences.”

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  • Independence

 Struggling for their freedom and independence may be one of the underlying reasons for teenage rebellion. As they move into their adolescence stages, they expect more space from their family, especially with their parents. This demand is normal for every teenager. Bella Stitt, LMFT says “During adolescence, teens experience rapid physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, and social developmental changes. In addition, teens are often faced with a brand-new set of responsibilities and privileges, causing them to swing back and forth between dependence and independence.”

 

However, the rebellion starts when some parents unconsciously confuse rebellion with independence. For example, many parents do now allow their kids to hang out in malls since they are scared that their children might get into trouble. This move might eventually force your teenagers to sneak out without permission.

 

How Does Writing Therapy Help Rebellious Teenagers?

Writing therapy, also called journal therapy, is an approach utilized by various therapists to guide teenagers into verbalizing their feelings and emotions in written words. This exercise is usually used to open a conversation between therapists and their respective patients. Writing therapy includes creating the following:

 

  • Humorous stories
  • Poetry
  • Short stories
  • Narratives
  • Dialogues
  • Free space journals

 

This kind of treatment approach usually determines the teen’s recurring problems and work through these painful feelings. By knowing what the roots of their rebellious actions are, it would be easier for the therapist to come up with strategies that can help them overcome these challenges. In addition, writing therapy also helps relieve stress and make connections between their behaviors and their feelings.

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Examples Of Writing Therapy

 Any teenager facing life challenges can do try writing therapy. In this therapy, they are free to express whatever they are feeling or whatever comes into their minds. Listed below are some of the examples of writing therapy:

 

  • Write a story about your own life. It can be fictional but make sure that the character mirrors some part of you.
  • Create a letter to an individual that you feel angry at. It can help you to sort out your feelings towards them.
  • Write a poem that can help you express your negative emotions.
  • Start a daily diary where you can confide in your feelings. This practice can help you understand yourself more by reading your past entries.

 

There are several other ways to address a teenagers’ rebellion. Writing therapy can be a start. Take note, however, that journaling is not enough. It may help them express their emotions privately, but some teenagers may require extra help in interpreting and taking action on their journal entries through trained therapists. Hopefully, undergoing this process may help them deviate from their rebellious acts.