Stubbornness in Teenagers

By Angeliki Coconi
Most teens have a natural desire to gain independence.
Most teens have a natural desire to gain independence.

Stubbornness is a common trait in teenagers. But teens can be a troubled and complicated species, so in order to deal with stubbornness in the best way possible, you need to understand some of the reasons why it crops up in the first place. Teens don’t simply get a kick out of doing the opposite of what you tell them, but in some cases the rebellious nature of your 15-year-old is inevitable.

Lack of Communicative Skills

According to speech and language therapist Mary Hartshorne in an article at, a child’s brain development really kicks off from his secondary school years into adulthood. Some teens suffer as a result of speech, language and communication difficulties during this period, while others excel at problem-solving, abstract thinking and negotiating. According to teen expert Christina Botto, author of “Help Me with My Teenager! A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents That Works,” because of this common communicative problem, a teen’s questions and efforts to express himself might be taken the wrong way by parents.

Desire to Be Independent

It is natural for a teenager to want to be independent and have some control over his life, according to Botto. It’s likely he will try and have his way, even when given the most reasonable request. Making decisions alone is an important part of pre-adulthood, and many teens see their parents as standing in the way of their independence. This is resolved by giving your teen choices. By presenting a few options, your teenager will feel more in charge of his own life.

Developing a Unique Personality

The psychosocial development that takes place during the teenage years will lead to the desire to establish an identity. Most teens still don’t really know who they are, according to British family therapist Dennis Neill in an article at Family Therapy UK. This will lead to several difficulties, including an increase in stubbornness. As teens attempt to become comfortable with their sexuality, their friends and their sense of autonomy, they might grow increasingly frustrated and argumentative. As teens move away from the family home, suggests Neill, they start to question their parents a lot more. During this period, try to stay open-minded, be welcoming to friends, and establish rituals to make them aware of their personal development.

The Desire to be Heard

According to the Better Health Channel, your teenager’s stubbornness will increase if he feels as though you're not listening to him. If a parent’s set of rules are so rigid that the teenager doesn’t have space to express himself, his increasingly developed brain will naturally stir up a fuss. In this instance, keep the lines of communication open. Parents should listen more than they speak.

About the Author

Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.