Why rebels buck

From Alain de Botton's fantastic Book of Life:

"Rebels, at heart, are people who had to obey too much too early."

I would add, "too capriciously". I don't want to speak for anyone else, but in my experience, it's not having to obey certain rules that make you rebel. It's having to obey capricious rules by needlessly authoritarian figures. It's healthy to want to rebel; it helps you find your feet and grow into who you are. I didn't rebel healthy. I broke everything along with my chains, and to this day refuse to go anywhere near anything that looks like a cage. Some stuff, once you break it, it stays broken.

I grew up in a very emotionally unhealthy place. It wasn't just authoritarian. It was tyrannical. Order and rules were there not because they made sense, but to give the order-givers (I refuse to call them parents; en français je dis qu'on m'a dressée, pas élevée) a sense of purpose and importance they otherwise never had. They didn't have real authority. Tyrants never do. That's why they're so damned bossy.

That was always my goal as a parent, and as a teacher to other people's kids. To have real authority, the kind that makes kids want to make you proud. I have rules, of course. Kids do need limits and guidance. But I always make sure I explain my rules. And yes, sometimes, I break my own rules. That's healthy, too.

Begin in the middle

The necessity of pain