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In his fascinating book, "Born to Rebel" (1997), Frank Sulloway posits that later born children tend to rebel more than first born.Some of his reasoning is because they identify less with parents, do not want to be clones of the older child or children who went before, and give themselves more latitude to grow in nontraditional ways.
Each time they do so, they provide the young person a fresh choice point to cooperate with them.
Stage by adolescent stage, then, here is how rebellion seems to function. Serious rebellion typically begins at the outset of adolescence, and when it does many parents think this opposition is against them. Rebellion is not against them; it is only acted out against them.
Rebellion at this age is primarily a process through which the young person rejects the old child identity that he or she now wants to shed to clear the way for more grown up redefinition ahead.
Although the young person thinks rebellion is an act of independence, it actually never is. Rebellion causes the young person to depend self-definition and personal conduct on doing the opposite of what other people want.
That's why the antidote for rebellion is the true independence offered by creating and accepting a challenge - the young person deciding to do something hard with themselves for themselves in order to grow themselves.
Two common types of rebellion are against socially fitting in (rebellion of non-conformity) and against adult authority (rebellion of non-compliance.) In both types, rebellion attracts adult attention by offending it.