One day, in joyous rebellion,
I drove the tractor 2 miles down country roads to the local store to get a treat. I had my younger brother in tow - standing precariously perched beside me while I rolled down the road grinning like I was in the Grand Prix. I was 13 or 14 years old at the time. My little freedom-foray was definitely a no-no (but a lot of fun - until the deed was discovered).
Children rebel because they want to feel independent and can't if parents believe parenting means being 'the boss' and managing the brood.
Nobody likes to be managed. It stifles our intelligence and independence.
Mostly we're 'the boss' because we want to keep our children safe and help make them be successful in life. If we think about that formula for safety and success, we can see it won't work much of the time.
Have you ever had a relationship with someone who was 'the boss'? If you have, you understand rebellion, even when it doesn't serve you.
Our bossiness along with the should’s and shouldn’ts and do’s and don’ts that come from cultural and societal prescriptions for success and happiness (that have never once, in the entire existence of this planet, produced success and happiness on a long-term basis - that’s an inside job) and you have a perfect recipe for raising a rebellious, defiant child.
While kids have to be guarded and guided, the best we can, against bad influences, we need to consider where we are bad influences and curb our impulse to raise a child using ‘My House, My Rules’ as the How to Raise a Child Manual.
The cure, then, for rebellion, is to start treating your child like an equal human being, be 100% honest with them when you don’t know, don’t try to make them into little you’s, and show them, by example that life is a mystery to be uncovered and that’s what you’re doing, too, trying your best to be a decent, loving human being. Let them use the wings they develop at every stage, right up until they fly from the nest. If you do, they'll often fly home for a visit!
I love what Sadhguru has to say about the issue:
“If we force our ideas upon a child, he will lose his sense of independence. If you bring up your child with a fierce sense of his own intelligence he will seek help because he will see his intelligence isn’t enough and he will ask for help. If you insist they take your advice, they will often to the reverse because they want to feel some independence.
Treat them as one more person. They came through you but are not yours. If you’re not ramming up nonsense in their head, they will naturally observe and that will bring up a lot of questions. If you show what you’re doing is of real worth, and you are willing to invest your life in that, why would your children not invest their lives in it.
Make yourself into a wonderful human being and it will reflect, it cannot go wrong.”
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