Yes, a complex question that deserves an in depth response. There are numerous reasons why adolescent youths rebel in various forms from talking back to criminal activity.
All adults – having been teens themselves – have experienced this but in varying ways, and one’s child may go through the same time of life similarly or vastly differently. It’s the difference that concerns people, but it certainly doesn’t mean it’s bad or permanent.
Teens have an independent mind, and rightly so. They are beginning to internalize the world and make sense of it, and they may, which is certainly not uncommon but probably the opposite, disagree on a number of fronts with their parents. Questioning parental belief systems is a highly effective way of better understanding one’s parents along with the issue being discussed.
As a parent, it’s important to not allow a child - who is playing the devil’s advocate or not - to stifle debate by a parent giving in and playing the parent card. It’s always important to treat teenagers as equals (within reason) and talk through whatever topic is being broached.
Teens take risks that adults most likely wouldn’t, and the reasons for that is that teens are finding themselves and trying to fit in. Popularity is rewarded to those who fight against an unpopular rule and, in so doing, kids discover what is and isn’t important to them – what is worth fighting for.
There is also the matter of a still developing brain. In teens’ brains, the emotional regions develop ahead of the region that deals with rational thought, and this could be why teens are more likely to take risks adults would never take.
And, what can never be overlooked, since teens are rather familiar with parents and authority figures in general and they have nearly no power in a world ruled by power, which they by now understand, adolescent youths may simply want to piss you off, and because they are familiar with you, they know how.