They say your teenage years are when you really start to find yourself and push boundaries. Looking back, I was no exception. As an awkward, angsty teen trying to figure out who I was, I found myself drawn to all kinds of minor rebellions and risky behavior.
My parents were pretty strict, so even little things felt exciting and taboo. Staying out past curfew, sneaking out late to hang with friends, petty shoplifting – it all gave me such a rush at the time. Of course, I don’t recommend any illegal activities, but I’d be lying if I said I regretted those wild years.
One particularly crazy thing I did was sneak into an R-rated movie with my buddies when I was just 15. We bought tickets to something PG, then snuck into the theater next door to see an action movie.
Our hearts raced the whole time, terrified we’d get caught. But we didn’t! It felt amazing to break the rules and do something “just for adults.”
Other tamer hijinks included prank calls from pay phones, mixing weird concoctions like pickle juice and milk just to gross people out, and purposefully giving wrong directions to strangers who asked us on the street.
While I don’t suggest going as far as I did, looking back I think it’s normal to test limits and rebel a little as a teen. It’s all part of growing up and figuring out who you are.
For me, it meant some wild stories I can now laugh about! Stick around for more tales of my misspent youth…
Do Something Against The Rules (But Not Too Bad)
As a teenager, you are expected to follow a lot of rules set by your parents, teachers, and other authority figures. While it’s generally a good idea to follow most rules, a little bit of rebelliousness can be healthy. Doing something mildly against the rules helps you develop your independent identity.
Some ideas for harmless rebellion:
- Sneak out past curfew – As long as you don’t stay out too late and check in with your friends, sneaking out once in a while can make you feel independent and adventurous. Just be safe.
- Get a bold haircut or color – Express yourself with some pink streaks or a buzzcut without asking for permission first. It’s just hair, it will grow back!
- Pierce something – Piercings are a classic teen rebellion. Just make sure to go to a professional and take care of the piercing to avoid infection.
- Break minor school rules – As long as it doesn’t harm yourself or others, a little rebellion like eating in class or decorating your locker in a banned way can be thrilling.
The key is to choose a rebellion that asserts your independence without causing real trouble for yourself or others down the line.
Pull An All Nighter
Staying up all night feels rebellious and grown up. When else in your life are you going to have the chance to pull an all-nighter, just for fun?
Get together with a few friends and make a night of it:
- Stock up on junk food, candy, soda, and other fuel.
- Pick some fun activities like games, prank calls, scary stories, and sneaking out.
- Watch movies back to back all night long. Have a film marathon of all your favorites.
- If you can, go out and explore the town at night when everyone else is asleep.
- Stay up until the sun rises then watch it together – it’ll feel worth it.
Just make sure to limit it to special occasions so you don’t mess up your sleep schedule too much.
Talk Back To Authority Figures
Part of being a teen is learning to think for yourself and challenge authority when needed. Talking back to a teacher, parent, or other authority figure can feel like a major act of defiance.
Choose your battles wisely, though. There are some key times when it’s wise to speak up against unfair rules or hypocrisy:
- Point out double standards – If there’s one rule for you and another for an authority figure, call them out on it!
- Question illogical rules – If a rule makes no sense, ask for an explanation. You might change their mind.
- Stand up for yourself – Don’t let yourself get pushed around. Respond confidently.
However, be strategic. Only talk back when you can express yourself calmly and logically. Screaming obscenities probably won’t get you very far.
Lie When Necessary
Let’s be honest – sometimes it’s necessary to lie a little as a teen. Little white lies can help you get some more freedom and independence.
Some ways to twist the truth:
- Tell your parents you’re sleeping at a friend’s house, but sneak out to go to a concert instead.
- Say you’re going to study at the library, but meet up with a crush instead.
- Claim you’re going shopping with friends when you’re really going on a secret date!
Just be careful not to get tangled up in your lies. Keep some details the same and stick to trusted friends who will cover for you.
Try An Experimental Look
Fashion and style are one of the best ways for teenagers to express their individuality and rebellion. Try taking your look to the next level by experimenting with unique styles:
- Go Goth – Dye your hair black, get some dark lipstick, and break out the band t-shirts.
- Try Cosplay – Dress up as your favorite anime, video game, or other character.
- Go Punk – Get a spiky leather jacket and some ripped fishnets. Safety pin everything!
- Explore Androgyny – Play with both traditionally masculine and feminine looks just for fun.
- Dare To DIY – Customize your own clothes with paint, patches, glitter, whatever you want!
It may feel scary to stand out from the crowd at first. But audacious style experiments can really boost your confidence.
Learn To Do Your Makeup Dramatically
For most teens, makeup shifts from playful to serious during their rebellious years. Learn to apply eyeliner, eyeshadow, contour, and highlight to transform your facial features.
Some edgy makeup looks to try:
- Gothic vampire lips – Dark lipstick with lighter highlights in the center of the lips gives a spooky yet glamorous look.
- Cat eyes – Practice drawing the perfect winged eyeliner to get bold feline eyes.
- Smokey eyes – Blend dark eyeshadow for a sultry, smoldering smoky eye.
- Glitter – Add some sparkle anywhere – on your eyes, cheekbones, and lips, or go all out with glitter body paint!
Following edgy makeup artists on YouTube or TikTok will provide all the inspiration you need to break out of your everyday look.
Dye Or Cut Your Own Hair
You can absolutely go to a salon for a stylish cut or color – but for the full rebellious teen experience, do it yourself!
- Apply chunky highlights using an at-home bleach kit from the drugstore.
- Use sharp scissors and slice into an edgy, uneven pixie cut.
- Shave off most of your hair for a buzzcut when your parents are away for the weekend!
- Dye your whole head neon green or bright pink with semi-permanent dye.
Just be prepared to get some pushback from parents or teachers. But hair grows back – so go for it!
Break The Dress Code
School dress codes can be totally unfair and sexist. Breaking the dress code is a protest against ridiculous rules about girls’ bodies and clothing.
Some ways to challenge the code:
- Wear spaghetti straps and tube tops if sleeveless shirts are banned.
- Show off those shoulders in an off-the-shoulder top if your shoulders must be covered.
- Wear leggings or tight jeans if loose clothing is enforced.
- Go sleeveless to show off your tattoos!
- Rock a short skirt over opaque tights.
- Wear visible bras or sports bras in protest of codes banning them.
Be prepared for consequences – but making an active statement against unjust rules can be very empowering.
Get A Fake ID
A fake ID feels like the holy grail for underage rebellion. With a decent fake ID, you can:
- Get into 18+ music venues to see edgy bands or DJs.
- Buy alcohol like sophisticated European teens.
- Sneak into R-rated movies.
- Party at college bars and clubs.
Find an older friend, sibling, or sketchy acquaintance to help you make or acquire a fake ID. Some tips to make it believable:
- Put your actual birthday for the year – you need to be able to remember it!
- Use a name similar to your own in case you slip up.
- Find someone who looks vaguely like you to use for the photo.
- Get an ID from a state far away that strangers won’t be familiar with.
Be smart while using it – bouncers can often spot even good fakes!
Shoplift On A Dare
Playing truth or dare is a classic teenage pastime. Up the stakes by daring someone to shoplift something small from a drugstore or cheap clothing store.
Start small – a candy bar, lip gloss, keychain, or other tiny item that can slip into a purse or pocket unnoticed. Many teens get a rush from this seemingly huge risk that will actually go unnoticed most of the time.
However, don’t make a habit of this! The potential criminal charges if you do get caught are the opposite of cool.
Cheat On A Test Or Assignment
Between packed schedules, strict teachers, and pressure to get perfect grades, cheating can feel like the easiest way out for teens. Plus, it feels like you’re really getting away with something naughty!
Some sneaky ways students cheat:
- Write formulas, facts, or important dates on your arm or desk to reference
- Hide a cheat sheet paper in your sleeve, under your lunch bag, or in your calculator case
- Use a smartwatch to look up answers or notes
- Take pics of the test questions and send them to a friend who already took it
- Switch tests with a friend when the teacher isn’t looking
- Copy chunks of material straight from Wikipedia into papers
While cheating does take some skill, don’t do it too often! You don’t want to get through high school without actually learning anything.
Pull Senior Pranks
Pulling pranks your senior year of high school is a revered and notorious tradition. Take advantage of your last year by pranking students and teachers.
Some legendary ideas:
- Release mice or crickets into the halls right before class
- Saran wrapped all the toilet seats shut
- Fill the hallways with cups full of water
- Cover the floors with sticky fly paper to make walking hilarious
- Switch directional signs throughout the school
- Set an alarm to go off at random times all-day
- Place Solo cups full of jello in random spots to be discovered later
Make your prank memorable, but not so destructive that you end up in serious trouble! You want to be remembered as a brilliant prankster, not a vandal.
Skipping a day of school here and there can seem like no big deal. You can sleep in, goof off with friends, and have time to just chill and be yourself instead of keeping up the responsible student act all day.
Some tips for the perfect ditch day:
- Don’t skip alone – find a friend to join you for more fun.
- Leave home with your backpack on like normal so parents don’t suspect.
- Pick a day when you won’t miss a big test or event at school.
- Drive your car out of town and go on an adventure somewhere new!
- Turn your phone off so the school can’t call looking for you.
- Spend the day at the movies marathoning new releases.
- Crash college parties – you can blend in when school’s in session!
Just don’t make skipping school a habit, or your parents and teachers will definitely crackdown.
Run Away From Home Briefly
The teen years are full of big emotions, family conflicts, and arguments. When it all becomes too much, running away from home briefly can feel like your only choice.
Of course, living on your own as a teen rarely goes well. Instead:
- Pack a bag and stay with a friend’s family for a few days.
- Plan to camp out in a nearby park overnight to cool off.
- Drive a few towns away and get a motel room for yourself.
- Hop on a bus or train and adventure somewhere new for just 24 hours.
Taking time away from your ordinary pressures at home can give you a reset. Just pick trusted friends to stay with and always let your parents know you’re safe – even if you’re still mad!
Get A Rebellious Tattoo Or Piercing
Nothing better expresses teenage rebellion than getting inked or pierced without your parents’ permission. With so many options, you can pick something cool but easily hidden:
- Small ankle or wrist tattoos – Subtle and easily covered with a watch or socks.
- Behind the ear – Mostly hidden by hair and easy to show off when you want.
- Shoulder blade – Out of sight with most shirts.
- Finger – Just a tiny, fine-line tattoo on the side of a finger.
- Hip – Low enough to hide in a swimsuit.
- Nose – Classic choice. Get a simple stud to start.
- Cartilage – Lots of hidden areas to pierce along the upper ear.
- Belly button – Just be prepared for some pain!
- Tongue – You might need to hide this from parents and teachers.
- Nipples – Keep them under your shirt for instant rebellion.
No matter what you choose, just go to an experienced professional and take good care while healing.
Get A Secret Boyfriend Or Girlfriend
Part of gaining independence in your teens is experiencing romance and relationships. But not all parents are ready to let you date yet! Getting a secret significant other can let you explore love while still keeping your parents happy.
- Date someone who goes to a different school across town. Your paths will never have to cross!
- Meet up at friends’ houses or public places instead of going to each other’s homes.
- Keep it offline – no posting about your relationship on social media.
- Come up with a code name to call each other if you need to talk on the phone.
- Claim you’re hanging out in a group if you go on dates.
- Never mention them to your family until you’re ready for the big reveal!
Just beware – secret relationships rarely stay secret forever. And dishonesty can undermine trust. But it’s one way to gain some freedom as a teen.
Vent To Your Online Friends
Teens today have whole online communities full of peers who “get it”. Venting your rebellious thoughts online is a safer outlet than acting out in real life.
Some ways to find your people:
- Join Discord servers for specific interests or lifestyles.
- Find like-minded teens on Reddit – there’s a subreddit for everyone!
- Make TikToks expressing your real thoughts and see who relates.
- Connect with teens worldwide on multiplayer games.
- Find online friends through Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.
Having a healthy outlet to vent about parents, teachers, homework and your rebellious feelings can help you avoid making big mistakes in real life. Just be safe and keep your private details private!
Break Traditional Gender Roles
Feeling constrained by the gender roles and expectations placed on you? Rebelling against them can be empowering!
- Guys – try on makeup and skirts just because you want to.
- Girls – learn “masculine” skills like auto repair or woodworking.
- Date whoever you want, regardless of gender.
- Try out new gender-neutral pronouns.
- Chop off your hair. Grow out your hair. Do whatever you want with your hair!
- Blast music by artists who also rebel against gender norms.
- Surround yourself with friends who support you. Cut out the ones who don’t get it.
Expressing your true identity is the opposite of rebellion. But it can feel rebellious when your family or community wants you to conform. Stay strong!
Skip Family Holidays And Events
As the rebellious teen, skipping out on tiresome family gatherings is a good way to assert your independence. Would you rather suffer through Thanksgiving dinner or have fun with friends? Exactly.
Some tips for ditching:
- Make very solid plans ahead of time so you have an excuse locked in.
- On the day of, leave the house saying you’re on the way then just don’t show up.
- If confronted later, insist you truly thought the plans were on a different day. Apologize.
- Claim you were feeling suddenly, severely ill. Hard to argue with that!
- Say you couldn’t get off work at the last minute – parents rarely call to verify.
- Text that your ride bailed last minute if you need to vanish.
Your family will assume it’s just a rebellious phase. Refusing to play the dutiful son or daughter is pretty classic teen behavior after all.
Purposefully Flunk A Class
Flunking a class seems totally counterproductive, but it can be an act of rebellion against the pressure of school and expectations to excel at everything. Struggling with a certain subject can feel liberating – like you’re succeeding at failing.
Some ways students intentionally flunk:
- Skip that class as much as possible first. Can’t pass if you’re never there!
- Don’t do any homework, ever. Make your refusal to try obvious.
- Bomb tests and quizzes. Fill in random answers or just turn them in blank.
- Stop participating in discussions. Sit silently even when called on.
- Act very interested and engaged in all your other classes to really underline how this one doesn’t matter to you.
- If you get concerned looks, insist you’re just more passionate about your other subjects.
Just be prepared for serious consequences if you take it too far. Find the line between making a point and actually threatening your graduation.
The college admissions machine wants to shape you into the perfect applicant. Rebelling just a little bit keeps your identity intact.