"My mom and dad just don't get me!"
Mar 26, 2021
I know *technically* we're not supposed to read our children's diaries, and some would say we should stop checking their phones at some point too. But let's say, 100% hypothetically, a parent should somehow stumble unsnoopingly upon something like the phrase above, would there be a tinge of guilt? A stab of pain?
Even the most distracted or disconnected mom knows deep down, and not nearly far enough into the back of her mind, that she is supposed to be the first parent ever to elicit a coveted claim from her teen's lips: "Nobody understands me better than my mom does." And yet, here most of us moms are - guessing, reading between the sighs and the shrugs, interpreting the Whatever! and the Not now, Mom! like a hostage negotiator. Because it seems like lives could depend on us getting into their heads, doesn't it?
I know that mothers of teens often resort to the interrogation of their teen's best friend, their teen's teachers, their teen's coach, the youth pastor, or any other person willing to help them figure out what makes their particular teens tick. But there is something sneaky at best and creepy at worst about us doing that behind their backs.
What if there were a way to ask them without actually asking them?
Teens are in an identity clarification phase. They are their own favorite topic even if they are not yet sure whether they like themselves very much. Not convinced that this is true? You have either 1. not ever been on a teen's social media or 2. never unsnoopingly stumbled on a teen's phone messages, or 3. never noticed the main reason they do most things that they do around the house combined with the main reason they avoid the rest.
That is why the trees. Teens are wired for novelty, gradual independence, and self-discovery. They love finding out their tree-type personality style, and when they do, the by-product is that we can know too! And we will know so much more than just one line about them - we'll know pages and pages about what motivates or drains them; what tasks and situations elicit their leadership traits; what strengths they possess unique to them; and even where they may be vulnerable and in need op patient coaching. It even gives us an idea of the dialect they speak in. Cracking the tree talk code is tremendously helpful when you have a teen that often hears what is NOT said.
Let's say your child discovers he is a combination of Pine and Palm! When you know the trees, you'll know forever that relationship with you will be an eternally superior motivator than any punishment or reward could ever be; you'd know that one of the biggest traps you could step into is to criticize a friend of his and that the greatest reward for raising him well and lovingly will be that he'll bring joy, humor, harmony, loyalty, and many new people (and/or pets) home with him one day when you are far past these days of struggle. And of all the moms, those raising Pine-Palms are the most likely to be called their best friend someday. Lucky you!
by Hettie Brittz