Do Rebel Toddlers Become Rebel Teens?

What 35,000 Parents Said about Their Children

All right, class.  I'm ready to distribute your mid-term examination.  We will soon see how well you understand the differences between very strong-willed and very compliant children.

Question 7:  What happens to the rebellious nature of very strong-willed children as they move through the years?

Answer:  Approximately 40 percent rebel in toddlerhood, and the percentages rise in every age category through adolescence, reaching a peak of 74 percent in the teen years.

The data clearly reveal that the percentage of very strong-willed children who rebel begins high in toddlerhood, (40 percent), and never lets up until adulthood.  There is no lull of any significance between toddlerhood and adolescence.  This is important information, even though somewhat unpleasant, for parents who want to predict the patterns of behavior from their tough-minded kids.

I hope this information will not be discouraging to parents of strong-willed children.  It is true that a significant percent age will be in rebellion at any one time, (from 40 to 74 percent) while the percentage who cooperate ranges from 23 percent to a low of 11 percent in adolescence.  It is encouraging, however, to see the rapid decline of rebellion in young adulthood, dropping precipitously from 74 to 36 percent.  In fact, the lines cross slightly at that point, with more strong-willed children cooperating than rebelling.  The battles are still in progress for about a third of the individuals, but most of the fire is spent.  They'll soon join the human race again.

By James Dobson

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