A certain amount of oppositional and obstinent behavior around the time of puberty is normal. Many parents, in fact, have observed that the same testing, provocative and tyrannical behavior that the child exhibited around the age of 5 years returns at puberty.
The child is undergoing physiological changes at this time that dramatically amplify his/her experience of emotions. What was slightly humorous becomes hilarious. Sadness becomes tragedy and irritation becomes rage. The teen frequently does not internally experience the emotions that they are expressing. Others around them react to the strength of the adolescent's emotions while the teen is often perplexed by this. Beyond this phenomenon, teenagers are making bids for independence and autonomy that bring them into clashes with authority. The tactics used by teens at this stage are usually the same tactics that were previously used by authority towards them at an earlier time. The authorities disciplinary tactics are being used by the teens and aimed at the authority. The teenager at this time is seeking to be the same as their peers. Sameness may involve drugs, alcohol, sex, criminal behavior, truancy, running away or simply disregarding their parents.
The behavior of the teen stems from a complicated interaction between their familiar history, developmental stress and relationship with peers. The severity of the behavior will determine whether professional intervention is warranted. Parents are always encouraged to contact a counselor if their son or daughter is causing them to be anxious, worried, or even unsure as to how to respond as parents. Referrals into counseling of teens are frequently made by parents, schools, physicians, State Welfare Agencies and courts to name a few. The counselor will initially evaluate the adolescent in reference to their psychological, maturational, social and familial development. A treatment plan will be developed that will includes work with both the teen and their parents. The goal of this treatment will be the stabilization of the adolescent, an improvement of family relationships, an improvement in school and or compliance with the expectations of the courts and/or probation.