Why are teenagers rebellious?

Why are teenagers rebellious?

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Ricardo discusses every day with his parents. Well, despite having two alarm clocks, he says he “doesn't listen to them” and they materially tear him out of the room to go to school at six in the morning. Fernanda, ceased to be the tender girl and since joining her new friends of the institute does not obey or devote time to their responsibilities. Both young people and teenagers are starting to change their behavior.

Rodrigo is very creative and intelligent, but despite this, every morning he makes great efforts to pay attention to the classes and has had several notices to be distracted in the classroom. Pedro, "the squirrel," as his friends know him, ended up with a fractured arm while practicing "parkour," what he calls his discipline or philosophy of life. This mishap happened after jumping from one building to another from roof to roof.


  • 1 Teen behaviors, what's behind?
  • 2 Adolescents: passive and active rebellion
  • 3 A new vision of reality
  • 4 The new reality of teenagers
  • 5 The brains of teenagers
  • 6 The influence of chemical messengers
  • 7 The influence of time

Teen behaviors, what's behind?

Ricardo is not a lazy boy, but "he is not able to get up because his biological clock" (The internal clock, 2011) naturally asks you to rest longer. Fernanda, enjoy her main activity: social interaction with her friends. His levels of "oxytocin hormone are high and he has a strong attachment" for them (Dobbs, 2011). She feels accepted and identified in that group and living with them is her main activity, not the housework.

Rodrigo is not aware that the axons of his neurons in the brain They are myelinating to have better neuronal electrical conduction. Nor is he aware that lThe synapses of his neurons act in a chaotic way and that distracts him with different thoughts. Physically, he is in the classroom, but his head is elsewhere. Your brain sometimes thinks in a disorderly manner and cannot concentrate.

Possibly, this will continue to happen to Rodrigo until reach brain maturity after twenty-five years. In recent decades it has been discovered that the brain is capable throughout life to change its structure and configuration (Brain plasticity, 2011).

More cases

Esperanza is at maximum capacity in the production of oxytocin and this helps her feel in love and empathic with her boyfriend. The same goes for the dopamine; He feels a great attraction and pleasure to be with him. It also makes him act more emotionally and less rational.

Finally, Pedro, "the squirrel", is a boy with a lot of testosterone (it makes him more aggressive, defend his territory and challenge authority). It also generates high levels of adrenaline (someone's brain accelerates and the slower world is seen in a situation of high adrenaline) and norepinephrine (gives it excessive energy).

Dopamine is also present (allows you to quickly learn new and dangerous jumps). Feel the need to carry out risky behaviors like jumping from one rooftop to another. The pleasure experienced is greater than the costs if something goes wrong in the Parkour, its discipline or philosophy of life (The male brain, 2011), (Parkour, 2011), (Personal time 4th, 2011).

And all of them, teenagers who are considered by their parents and teachers as rebellious boys. Is it really true or is its behavior a product of a brain that is in the process of maturation?

Adolescents: passive and active rebellion

A few years ago, it used to be known as active rebellion to all that act where teenagers challenged authority and they did exactly the opposite of what he told them. In counterpart under the term of passive rebellion, it was identified as the relationship in which a boy received an order or suggestion, for example, “please, Enrique, finish your homework, and leave the videogames !, and the answer is: … In a bit!. Of course, you can spend more than an hour with the same verbal game between Enrique and his mother.

Returning to the approaches of Table (1999), “rebellion in adolescents is an opposition to authority; as well as a contradiction to the principles and to the paternal behavior ”. Of course, it crosses practically all the possibilities of social interaction of adolescents and their environment: home, school, meetings with their friends, football matches, going to the movies and more.

The importance of this analysis is not only that a misguided rebellion is destructive, but also in knowing the new paradigms related to the analysis of adolescents. The data that we now know strongly questions the approaches we have made from psychology and other sciences in relation to adolescence. And, they suggest abandoning old schemes and incorporating new forms, new models, new laws explaining the facts.

A new vision of reality

The ways of seeing or observing reality are surprisingly broken every time science allows us to observe the unobservable in our eyes. As a result, our paradigms are broken, our ways of seeing reality and when this happens, "reality returns to zero", as pointed out by futurist Joel Baker (Idea of ​​paradigm, 2011).

The new reality of teenagers

With the help of powerful microscopes, reality changes again when we analyze human behavior and “through neuroimaging techniques, the brain can be studied with great detail, both in terms of structure and brain function,” as indicated Richard Haier, Neuroscientist, Mind Research Network, Univ. New Mexico (We can read the mind, 2011).

Well, it could be that our knowledge related to adolescence could return to zero and if we are unable to learn what is going on in their brains, social interaction problems could have a more positive course.

As mentioned by futurist Joel Barker (2011), “if one is flexible in his paradigms what he will hear will be opportunities, otherwise we will hear threats " (Paradigms, 2011).

The teenagers brain

Metaphorically if we think of neurons as a tree, the trunk would be the axon and the branches would be dendrites. Teenagers' brains first need to thicken their trunk and have many branches. To reach the necessary maturity, the adolescents' brain undergoes substantial changes:

  1. The axons thicken with a fatty and insulating substance called myelin (it is the white matter of the brain) to improve electrical current and its transmission rate increases up to 100 times,
  2. The branches of the neuron heads that are used to establish communication with other neurons also grow, but as we grow, those branches (neuronal pruning) will be lost and only those truly important will remain to perform the learned behaviors,
  3. East change in brain structure part from the nape (the areas closest to the brain stem) to the forehead (frontal area) comprises in principle the most sensory areas such as vision (located in the occipital area, above the nape) passing through the areas related to movement , finally reaching the prefontal cortex a more evolved area,
  4. The same procedure of pruning and neuronal thickening it reaches the area that joins the two cerebral hemispheres, called hard body Y
  5. To close with a flourish, the conductor of the orchestra (hippocampus) is responsible for coordinating all memory processes with all areas of the brain involved in order to set behavioral goals and compare different plans; the result is that we become more skilled to integrate memory and experience into our decisions.

As brain development, maturity does not reach 20, or even 30 years. Sarah Jayne Blakemore, from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London (UCL) (Brain plasticity, 2011).

The influence of chemical messengers

In psychology we analyze structures (organs, tissues and systems including cells), processes (chemical messengers such as neuroconductors and hormones) and products (behavior itself as rebellion).

Within our body are organs and substances strategically located in order to help or support certain functions of our body, these function as messengers who are responsible for bringing and carrying orders: hormones and neurons.

They are chemical messengers: dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, testosterone, serotonin, vasopressin and others.

The influence of time

There is another internal experience that is lived directly in the brain: time. Time is invisible, time is untouchable and yet time controls our life. The most dysfunctional of biological watches is that of teenagers. At school in the morning, teenagers seem not to be at their best time to work. Parents and teachers struggle with teenagers every day to activate them during the day, but this is due to their biological clock.

Humans have their own internal timing mechanism or biological clock. When we sleep, drink, eat or exercise our internal clock directs these activities. Many people think that teenagers are lazy and surely some are, but it is a biological predisposition to go to bed late and get up late. This could lead to radical changes in education because the biology of adolescence could dictate the format of their school schedule.

The best time to study would be between eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon. Simply by paying attention to your biological clock, it may be possible to improve education and academic results across the country (Biological Clock, 2011).

Final thoughts

  • The changes to come, among others, would involve moving the schedules in secondary schools, high schools and universities, to make adolescents' learning more optimal.
  • Training and learning by parents and authorities in order to adjust again to our natural biological rhythms.
  • Teach teenagers the risks of not knowing how to manage their emotions.
  • As parents, guide our children with love, but with discipline.
  • Train in schools with alternative methods to reduce stress such as meditation classes.
  • Encourage sports tournaments to take out in a healthier way the aggressiveness of adolescents due to the mixture of neuroconductors and hormones.