Apparently Teens Want ‘Potted Plant Parents’ and It’s Not As Exciting As It Sounds

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I’ve officially reached it – the dreaded teenage years.

I’ll admit, I never expected to be going through the teen years yet. After all, my oldest is only 11. I truly thought I had a few more years with out it.

But my suspicions were confirmed when our Pediatrician told me, “Yeah, he is in puberty”.

So, here we are. Full blown teenager. And honestly, age is just a number, right?

I think I tried to prepare myself for this day but what people don’t tell you is, just how HARD it is to be on the other side of the teenage stage of life.

I mean, I too was once a teenager but I was a teen girl. I haven’t got a clue what is going on through the teenage boys mind (I mean I do to an extent, some things are obvious like girls).

But communication with a teen boy is truly my downfall. I’ve tried to talk to my teen son and I’ve tried to help him but somehow I still feel like some days we are living in two different worlds.

I’ve truly struggled with communication.

Me: How was your day?
Him: Fine.
Me: What are you doing today?
Him: I don’t know.

If you have a teen, this conversation is probably all too familiar for you.

The thing is, I’m a fixer. So naturally, I try to fix things even if they aren’t meant to be “fixed”.

I want my son to be okay. I want him to talk to me. But a lot of time I feel pushed away and left with “I just want to be alone right now”.

Okay, fair enough. I mean, I do often pretend to take a nap just so I can have some alone time to browse TikTok. So I get it, we all need alone time.

I just struggle with the aspect that my teenage son, the one that was born so tiny at 3 pounds 4 oz no longer NEEDS me. There was a time where his very life depended on me.

So, what the hell do I do now?

Well, apparently some experts may have the answer… Teens just want a “planted pot parent”.

What is a potted plant parent?

Essentially, teens just want to know that their parents are present in their life but silent. Ya know, like a potted plant.

A potted plant that just sits in the window of sunshine all day waiting until they are watered. Just waiting.

So in this case, we as parents are the potted plant who sit quietly, soak up the sun and wait until our teens decide they need us.

Teens want that. They don’t want parents hounding them about their day or trying to fix things. They just want to know they are loved and that their parents are there if they need them.

And get this, it’s actually good for their development.

A study from Australia confirmed the importance of a parent’s physical presence on adolescent health. They found that those teens with even just one parent present during certain times of the day such as before and after school, at dinner and at bedtime improved psychological health in adolescents.

While normally developing teenagers seek new levels of emotional and physical distance from their parents perhaps they, like toddlers, feel most at ease when their folks balance active engagement with detached availability.


So, they want us there but not THERE like all up in their face. Got it.

It’ll totally take some getting use to but if my son really just needs me there without being too smothering, I’ll do it. It’s just not a very fun or exciting as a mom.

The bottom line is, if you have a teen, it’s likely they just want you to be a potted plant. Present but silent.

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