Did your teenagers rebel, or conform? How about yourself?

I was going to make this a poll, but it’s probably too full of subjectivities for that to work. Anyway, what I have in mind is the broad stereotype of the rebelling teenager, who rejects almost everything his or her parents and upbringing taught them. I assumed that (like me-see below) that just about every teen goes through a phase where he or she skeptically evaluates the assumptions of their parents, teachers, clergy, and even society, but since I started teaching I actually don’t see much evidence of this. At best they might do some mild types of rebellion, like changing their hair color, while core values are left pretty much untouched.

So what’s your experience of this, and/or that of your offspring (or even nieces and nephews and other young acquaintances past & present)?

I’ll give my story when I get back from work.

I was a huge rebel. Never got along with my folks and still dont. My boys otoh are pretty easy going. We seem to have a good relationship and they virtually didnt rebel at all. Hmmm… where the hell did i go wrong!

I went with the flow until my parents separated (I was in college). Then I went through my “questiongin” phase which has evolved in to my independent phase.

My older brothers never really did the rebellious thing, but in a lot of ways I don’t think they are as happy and realistic as I am.

Most of my high school rebellion was against religion. I lived with my grandmother, who went to church every time the doors opened and insisted that I go too. Right about this time, I realized that I wasn’t getting any magic out of it and really didn’t enjoy going, so Grandma and I pretty much went to war. I even played at Satanism for a while.

I also smoked, drank, and skipped school. Is that rebellion or normal teenage behavior?

I can’t say that either of my kids has rebelled against me. My daughter claims to be a Christian and knows I am an atheist, but we don’t fight about it.

I was a tremendous nerd (well, still am, technically), and really never rebelled against my parents, at least not in high school. I didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, didn’t stay out late. I was boring.

I do remember a few instances when I got surly / sulky about participating in family activities, which got my father rather peeved, but it wasn’t anything that I think would legitimately be considered rebelling.

OTOH, when I went off to college, I started dating a 32-year-old. Though, that wasn’t a case of intentional rebellion so much as being a lonely, horny 18-year-old taking advantage of a situation that presented itself.

The deal I make with my kids is: Stay in school and make passing grades and I’ll pretty much let you do whatever the hell you want. (I do have my limits tho’)

The most “rebel” thing my oldest has done is die his hair two different colors and get his ears pierced. Did you old farts know that boys are getting BOTH ears pierced these days?

I have my suspicions that he’s experimented with the “wacky weed.” But I’m not going to get all up in arms about it unless his grades start to slip or his behaviour becomes problematic.

My youngest OTOH isn’t quite at that rebel age yet but I can feel a storm a brew’n. I hope I’m wrong.

Me, I was a total rebel. I was living on my own at fifteen. I paid a shady landlord $75 a week under the table for an apartment. The landlord would report the apartment as “vacant” to the home office and then pocket the $75 I gave him.

Still tho’. I got along pretty well with my parents. I only moved out because I was a cocky little bastard who felt he was ready to take on the world. I probably should have stayed at home. I’m lucky I didn’t get my ass killed or thrown in jail.

I could never figure out where teenagers met and dated 30-something adults. Although I suppose these days I’d be more interested in where 30-something adults find and meet teenagers.:wink:

I didn’t rebel–didn’t really see any need to, because I wasn’t interested in any of the typical “rebel” activities (smoking, drinking, having a boyfriend, staying out late, etc.) I spent most of my time during high school holed up in my room reading and/or writing, or hanging out with my equally nerdy friend.

I disagreed with some of my parents’ (particularly my mom’s) ideas–for example, she was more than a little bit religious, and I really wasn’t, and her ideas about what women should do were way too traditional for a raving tomboy like myself–but for the most part we got along fairly well. They never objected to anything I read, which was the important thing. The only thing we really clashed on was the few times when I did want to go out for something late (I was a straight-A student, more responsible than most adults, and never gave them any reason to think I would do anything stupid) and I wasn’t allowed to. I think my mom had some kind of internal template of “this is what a teenager is like,” and she tried to apply it to me even though I didn’t fit it at all.

When I was a teenager, my dad and his then-wife were engaged in a real estate scheme where they defrauded poor first-time home buyers, primarily minorities. By my late teens and college years, they had turned state’s evidence against their co-conspirators. So I’ve always said that I had a very rebellious teenage phase during which I refused to defraud any poor black people. Surprisingly the phase has continued well into adulthood. I guess I’m just having a hard time adapting to adulthood :frowning:

I conformed, but have changed a lot since I was a teen, which was only eight years ago. I sometimes wodner if maybe I’m not just going through a delayed rebellion stage.

I never did rebel in the traditional sense of the word, but I was so far left wing, it worried my mother. I never got into trouble and got good grades, in fact I was in college at age 15, but my views were scary liberal. I was a real product of the very liberal 70s.

When I was ten I was reading the Village Voice for the left wing articles. Mum was pretty modern but she was convinced “I’d grow up to be a Communist.”

I was going to expand on the definition of the term in the OP, but lost track of time before my next shift started. For example, in my case the rebellion was mostly covert, not overt: I didn’t, nor did I have any urge to, smoke, drink, or do drugs or screw dozens of girls, hang out with the “wrong” crowd, etc. But my parents were both very practically-minded people (extreme “S’s” on the Myers-Briggs you could say) living a very typical upper class style, while I was a imaginative bookworm who slowly became very skeptical of such values (was a liberal from c. age 13 onwards). I had come to realize, from a fairly early age, that I really didn’t have much in common with them at all (adopted as an infant BTW), and adolescence just made me want to distance myself from them and their values even more.

I rejected my Catholicism around this time too, tho my Dad did too (for vastly different reasons-he more out of acquired inertia, me because its truthclaims became too hard for me to swallow). We did have some pretty nasty shouting matches, where it was basically my anger erupting at what I perceived as a crappy upbringing (and not out of a desire to do this or that questionable activity-grounding me was pointless because you’d be doing me a favor). But I still played golf with him here and there, just so it’s clear that I wasn’t against everything they stood for.

My father was controlling. I rebelled my ass off.

As a father, I explain the choice in front of you and what you can expect either way. You are free to choose as you see fit. I offer guidance. If you screw it up, I offer help, not criticism. There is nothing for you to rebel against. I put my old man through hell and I feared my sons would devour me. They turned out great, but that’s to their credit, not mine.

It depends. My parents were so diametrically opposed in view and personality that if you asked my Dad, I was pretty much a conformist. And if you asked my mother, I was Satan’s and she never had anything to do with it.

In my case…Dungeons and Dragons. :smiley:

As a 17-year-old (HS senior), I joined a D&D group which otherwise consisted of people in their 20s and early 30s. One of them, a guy in his early 30s, eventually brought along his girlfriend, who was his age. The two of us became friends, and, then, well… :stuck_out_tongue:

I didn’t really rebel, but that may be because there was nothing to really rebel against. My mother died when I was 12 and my father and I never really talked to each other. I just kind of did my own thing and nobody cared. Hell, I don’t think anybody really even noticed me. Me and most of the other kids were more libertarian, live and let live kind of people, and I still am.

I conformed because that was what I was told to do. Srsly. Other than crap grades, I worked hard, saved my money and didn’t run around with a bad group ( we were/are dorks.) I didn’t ‘get’ religious stuff and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about politics unless it was making fun of it all. I didn’t say alot at school and had lip at home. Girl’s should have lip. Girls should be ladies and act like potted plants, or something. Girls shouldn’t be funny.
Now, feh, I’m the polar opposite of how I was raised and the person I knew was somewhere inside of me that I wasn’t suppose to be. ( and I hang out with a bunch of Good Eggs (that are all Black Sheep of their families as well) that accept me as I am and my propensity for saying FUCK when the kids aren’t around. and give me all I can eat hummus.) No God. No interest in politics and I knit. (If you went back in time and asked the Teen Age Shirley what she would be like 25 years from now and if you even mentioned knitting Young Shirley would have rolled her eyes and said, " That’s* so* gay."*

This was 80’s gay, as in retarded, not in the 00’s Gay as in Homosexual.

**This is 80’s retarded for being retarded, which was long before it was labeled a mentally challenged PC buzzworld. ***

We were all retarded gaywads back then. Yes, all of us. A big bunch of superspaztic dorkwads running around like monkeys* at an all you can eat banana buffet.

By monkey, I mean red butted baboons, flinging poo*

***** By poo, I mean ca-ca.

Well,* I *was a neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie.

Well, as for myself, I was sexually. . .adventurous; then again, it was a different time. Plus, I was sexually molested from approx age 8 until age 14. At some point, I figured, ‘you know what? I’m gonna have sex because I want to’, and I did.

Also, after Flashdance came out, I started cutting up my sweatshirts. It drove my Mom batshit, but since I bought the shirts with money I had earned, she couldn’t really say much about it. . .

My style of dress was all-around very. . .exploratory. It was strange.

But the other stuff? Drinking. . .well, yeah, when I had the opportunity. Drugs? Nah. Didn’t even try pot until I was 19.

My kids. . .well, lemme see. My oldest (22YO ThreadPirateRoberts) started to rebel at approx. age 5, which is when she would lie to me, repeatedly, about not having any homework. Continued to rebel. I’m not sure she’s done yet! :wink: (If you’re reading this, honey, I love you!)

My middle kid is 18, and pretty much a straight-arrow. She has no interest in drugs, won’t even date a guy who smokes cigarettes. Her fashion choices are. . .interesting, but not too different from what I would have worn at that age. She lives with her boy friend, so I know she’s gettin’ laid. But she knows that doesn’t bother me.

My youngest, 9YO mudgirl (who will be 10 in a couple of weeks. . .where does the time go??) is a very good kid, but she is also very much like her father, and I can foresee much clashing in their future because of it!

This is description fits my teenage years to a T, and my brother’s as well. Our parents were the epitome of staid, boring, bourgeois lifestyle and values. They lived in the suburbs, wore corduroys and wool sweaters, did not smoke drank one glass of wine at dinner, went to art museums, ate home-cooked meals (mashed potatoes were quite common in my youth), and spent evenings at home reading books. So, naturally, my brother and I had to rebel by watching MTV, wearing jeans and sweatshirts, eating fast food, and (in my brother’s case) dying his hair bleach-blond and briefly smoking. But while that happened, we had truly absorbed most of our parents’ core values.