Why Teens Act Out – Exclusive Excerpt from the book Dear God, I Have Teenagers- Please Help!
By Barbara Rose, PhD
I remember my teenage years all too vividly, and, for the most part, I put my parents through a living hell.
I rebelled, acted out, stayed out all night, tried drugs, cut school, lost my virginity, and was deeply unhappy during that phase of my life.
You may wonder what triggered it all inside of me, so I will share this answer with you right off the bat.
I was truly not honored or accepted for who I was on the inside. Instead, I was abused. There were many days when I was not abused, but when I was, it hurt deeply and cut to the core of who I was. I remember being beaten with a belt and being called “dumb, stupid, dead from the neck up, a nothing, and a nobody” through all of my teenage years.
Of course as an adult I have forgiven my adoptive father for this treatment because I learned that he truly did the best job he knew how to do at that time. But it took me nearly all of my life to undo the emotional and psychological effects of such treatment.
I was taught to “look sexy” and “grow up to have a rich man take care of me.” It took many years to turn that around also, so that my self-esteem could come from the inside and my self-sufficiency could be earned by discovering my true life purpose, my passion, which I call my work.
The Beginning of the Downward Spiral
I have spoken with and helped parents from all walks of life, all countries, cultures, and backgrounds in my spiritual intensives and tele-seminars. A common thread that they all shared was that they were abused growing up, and whether the abuse was emotional, mental, or physical, the resulting damage clearly lasted well into their adult years. They all had low self-esteem, just as I did. Their teen years were largely spent walking on eggshells to go along and not rock the boat out of fear of punishment or disapproval from their parents. They also had parents who had gone through the same cycle. As a result, no one had yet taught them how to turn it all around, which is the purpose of this book.
Your Teenage Years
This book covers many bases that will bring much to your attention that you have either forgotten or were never taught. Additionally, there is a process in this book that will continue to help you no matter what situation you face with your teenager, whether small or massive in terms of how important you view it to be.
This process, receiving answers from God, as you personally understand Him or Her to be, will enable you to always receive answers when you cannot figure out the answers on your own and nothing seems to be working.
I will answer many questions throughout this book, questions that I have been given by God along with the answers for you, as well as questions sent to me by many of my subscribers in over one hundred countries before I wrote this book.
One thing is quite clear: parents from all cultures around the world share the same concerns. The themes are universal, and it is time that you had simple, understandable, and direct answers–answers that will make a significant difference in your life and in the life of your teenager.
I will also share much about my own teenage years, so you can understand from the perspective of a teenager why many act out in various ways and how to handle the acting out so it can be turned around.
Think back to your own teenage years, now, and remember how you were treated. This is important, because chances are great that if you are having difficulty with your teenager, you may have had difficulty during your teen years, too.
I know I certainly did, and I am clearly not the only one.
Communication with Teens
Unfortunately, what stands out in my mind when I remember my own teen years was a lack of loving, respectful, and courteous communication.
For example, when I was told what to do, I often asked why because I genuinely wanted to understand the reason why I was being told what to do. Much to my dismay, the answer was, “Because I said so.”
This did nothing to help me learn, grow, and understand the adult perspective, which I sincerely wanted to understand. Instead of receiving an explanation from the heart, to give me understanding, I was ordered around as if I were in drill camp. A harsh and threatening tone pervaded the communication I received, and this clearly did not help me at all.
Now, you would like genuine guidance to help you with your teenager. So I am going to begin by giving you the first of some healthy ground rules that will continue throughout this book.
Here is a ground rule for communicating with your teens:
Always speak to your teenager as if you were speaking to a highly respected friend, colleague, or member of society.
This is how I speak to my own teenagers, and we do not have any communication difficulties or communication battles. I speak to them with the same courtesy and respect with which I would speak to you.
© Copyright 2007, 2011 by Barbara Rose, PhD All Rights Reserved. Exclusive Book Excerpt republished with permission from the book Dear God, I Have Teenagers. Please Help! Published by The Rose Group (April 17, 2007) ISBN-13: 978-0974145778.