WELCOME TO A NEW TAKE ON ADOLESCENT OPPOSITION!
First, please view the video below and then read my welcome page to learn more about my study and how to navigate this site.
A website dedicated to changing the conversation on opposition in adolescence.
Oppositionality in adolescence has become synonymous with oppositional defiant disorder. Caregivers, authority figures, and institutions of authority in our society show little to no tolerance for an adolescent who opposes existing norms, rules, expectations, and the status quo without granting them this label. The message from those in authority is clear to the adolescent: you must comply and conform to our wishes, demands, and definition of who you are and what you can do. When adolescents do not agree with this message and communicate their disagreement through words and actions in a manner the adult or institution in power disagrees with, most are penalized. If the behavior and attitude does not stop within the timeframe set by the adult, the adolescent is seen as the problem and must be fixed. In today’s world, many adults turn to the Internet for answers. I searched oppositional behaviors in adolescence and the majority of links focused on oppositional defiant disorder, which shapes and reinforces how adults interpret oppositional behaviors exhibited by adolescents—as a disorder. This view of oppositionality as a disorder is limiting and puts adults in conflict with youth.
This website will serve as a forum for discussing and learning about the value of opposition. In addition, it will assist parents, adults, and adolescents with developing a balanced and constructive view of opposition as advocacy and understanding opposition’s connection to power in relationships with self and with others.
Opposition needs to be seen on a continuum, with healthy and constructive degrees of opposition as a part of typical development at one end of the continuum and opposition as a disorder at the other end. This idea of opposition as a continuum is important because without healthy degrees of opposition in adolescence, youth will not come into their own and will not develop a separate sense of self, purpose, and identity that serves them in their transition into a healthy, productive, responsible, and satisfying adulthood.
My goal is to change the way opposition in adolescence is seen and the adolescent is treated. It is a healthy part of human development, and not all opposition is a disorder.
Opposition in adolescence is experienced and constructed relationally. It presents as a relational challenge and needs relational interventions.
You will find on this site mini-articles, engaging research-informed and practice-informed discussions, podcasts, resources, photo essays, videos, and much more, all of which focuses on exploring the value of oppositionality in adolescence. In addition, this site will explore why opposition is seen as a threat to some adults and institutions of authority (e.g., family, school, juvenile justice, child welfare, religion, media) and what we can do about it as families, communities, a profession, and a society.
I invite you to journey with me as I seek to explore the value of adolescent opposition. A few helpful tips in navigating my site: when you read the blog posts, please start with the first post, “Why not opposition in adolescence—who really has a problem with it?” The post at the top of the blog page is an overview of my study. The link to my overview post is listed below. You can click on the topic under “tags” on each page, and it will take you directly to the post in that category.
Please utilize my website as a source to increase your knowledge and understanding of how to engage and build relationships with adolescents, as well as how to parent effectively around power dynamics in the adolescent–caregiver relationship and identify strategies and resources for caregivers, clinical social workers, mental/behavioral health professionals, policymakers, mentors, and adolescents.