I’ve blogged a few times about the comments I hear as a mom. Grocery store clerks, bank tellers, and complete strangers count the kids around me and say, “Wow, you must be busy!” I get asked, “Are they twins?” or “Are you hoping for a boy next time?” But the comment I hate the most is more a warning: “Just wait until they’re teenagers!”
This is a comment that I’ve hated from the time I was a preteen, and other strangers tried to give my parents the same warning. Back then, I didn’t understand why it was assumed that once I hit a certain age, I’d turn into… a monster? a stranger? a moody, uncooperative child? I wasn’t sure exactly what the warning implied, but I didn’t like it. And I still don’t.
That’s why Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach’s book Why I Didn’t Rebel caught my eye. Now 22 and married, Rebecca looks back at her teen years and shares why she didn’t go through the “teenage rebellion” phase that our society seems to expect. But Why I Didn’t Rebel isn’t just Rebecca’s story… she also interviews twenty-five other teens who didn’t rebel and delves into social science research to find out what keeps kids on the straight and narrow. She discovered 8 common themes in all these stories.
As a teen who didn’t rebel myself, I was curious to read Why I Didn’t Rebel: A Twenty-Two-Year-Old Explains Why She Stayed on the Straight and Narrow—and How Your Kids Can Too and see what we had in common. I also thought that Rebecca has an interesting perspective on this topic as a sort of “middleman.” She’s just out of the teen years herself, but not yet a parent. She’s a bridge for us parents, reminding us what it was like to be a teenager, and how we can parent our own teens in a way that will keep our family together.
In the first chapter, Rebecca takes a look at what rebellion is. I thought this definition is handy, because a teen who doesn’t rebel isn’t necessarily a teen who is easygoing. Rebecca is honest about the hormonal ups and downs most teens experience, but reminds parents this is just biology, not rebellion. Other things that aren’t rebellion include honest mistakes and personality clashes. In fact, Rebecca shares something she did rebel against—for a good reason!
Chapters two through nine share the eight reasons that teens don’t rebel. I found myself nodding along with Rebecca’s stories and analysis. For example, in chapter 2, Rebecca discusses rules vs. reasons. Here, she uses some terms I’ve come across in parenting books: authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive. She provides examples for each of these parenting styles, using her memories and those of two friends. Here, I could see that my parents were, for the most part, authoritarian. The rules they gave my brothers and I were usually backed by reasons—like the rule that we had to be home from a friend’s place by 5 pm so that our family could have supper together.
Why I Didn’t Rebel is a refreshing, encouraging book for parents. Whether you’re in the teenage stage now, or just getting warnings about it like I am, Rebecca’s book provides plenty of food for thought. I appreciated her honesty about her own teenage years, as well as the research she put into the “why” of her memories.
Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach is a reluctant author and Sheila Wray Gregoire‘s oldest daughter. A homeschooling graduate, she has a B.A. in Psychology. She and her husband Connor have been married for two years and live in Ottawa, Canada. She’s also collaborated with her mom and sister to create The Whole Story, a fun and easy way to give your daughter “the talk.” You can find her on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. Why I Didn’t Rebel is available at Amazon is and your favourite bookstores.
I received a copy of Why I Didn’t Rebel for this review; all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.