Blogger and father of three Bert Fulks has come up with a clever way to get kids out of tough situations.
In a recent blog post, Fulks, who lives with his wife and three kids in West Virginia, introduced the “X-plan,” which serves as a “lifeline” for kids in uncomfortable scenarios.
Should they find themselves in a situation they’d rather not be in, all his children need do is text a letter X to a family member.
The one who receives the text has a very basic script to follow. Within a few minutes, they call Danny’s phone. When he answers, the conversation goes like this:
“Danny, something’s come up and I have to come get you right now.”
“I’ll tell you when I get there. Be ready to leave in five minutes. I’m on my way.”
At that point, Danny tells his host that something’s happened and that he has to leave.
In other words, it means that kids know that they have a way out and there’s no pressure to explain anything to the people they’re around. That gives them the freedom to choose what they do.
There’s only one catch for parents.
Once home, there should be no pressure for teens to open up about what it was about the situation that made them feel uncomfortable. It’s completely up to them how much they divulge.
“The X-plan comes with the agreement that we will pass no judgment and ask no questions,” Fulks explains.
“This can be a hard thing for some parents… but I promise it might not only save them, but it will go a long way in building trust between you and your kid.”
It also means accepting smartphones as part and parcel of the parenting experience – whether parents like it or not.
“For many of us parents, we lament the intrusion of technology into our relationships. I hate seeing people sit down to dinner together and then proceed to stare into their phones. It drives me nuts when my kids text me from another room in our house. However, cell phones aren’t going away, so we need to find ways to use this technology to help our kids in any way we can,” says Burt.
“I urge you to use some form of our X-plan in your home. If you honour it, your kids will thank you for it. You never know when something so simple could be the difference between your kid laughing with you at the dinner table or spending six months in a recovery centre … or (God forbid) something far worse.”