Even the most well-behaved teens can sometimes give their parents a run for their money. And though it’s important to guide kids in the right direction, there comes a time when they need to start making their own social decisions. But, as they’re learning, we think it’s key to their well-being to keep the line of communication open, especially in emergency situations.
One of our absolute favorite ways of doing this is illustrated by minister/blogger/father Bert Fulks. He has a “no-questions-asked” approach to helping his teens when they find themselves in situations that they feel they need to get out of quickly.
The blogger calls it the “X-Plan”, and since he published a post outlining the method, major publications like TODAY and The Huffington Post have picked it up. This technique has really struck a chord with parents!
Here, in Fulks’ own words, is how it works:
Let’s say that my youngest, Danny, gets dropped off at a party. If anything about the situation makes him uncomfortable, all he has to do is text the letter “X” to any of us (his mother, me, his older brother or sister).
He goes on to explain that, once the family member receives the text, the youngster will immediately receive a call to his phone and will have a canned conversation with the adult basically saying that something has come up and they are on their way to retrieve him. Simple, but brilliant, huh?
According to the blogger, though, the plan isn’t as easy as telling your kid to send an “X” anytime he or she wants to get out of a situation because, as any mom or dad out there knows, most youngsters will never do this if they feel they could face repercussions.
Fulk advises parents to present this to their teens as a plan that comes with absolutely no judgment. He even says that there should be no questions asked as to why they wanted to leave in the first place. Though the minister-turned-blogger admits that can be a tall order, he says that “it will go a long way in building trust between you and your kid.”
Fulks explains that the “X Plan” has given his kids the confidence to make the right decisions without having to deal with the added layer of peer pressure. He writes,
In short, Danny knows he has a way out; at the same time, there’s no pressure on him to open himself to any social ridicule. He has the freedom to protect himself while continuing to grow and learn to navigate his world.
To see an example of this father’s brilliant parenting plan in action, be sure to read LittleThings’ article here. Yet another helpful way to connect with your teen and make sure they stay clear of danger!
What do you think of Bert Fulks’ “X Plan”? Have you tried something similar yourself with your teenager? What techniques do you use to keep your kids out of trouble? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!