One dad has figured out the ultimate way to keep his tween and teens safe by giving them an “out” in virtually any situation that could put them in danger. It’s called the “X Plan” and it is truly brilliant.
It’s a pretty simple concept. Say you’ve agreed to let your kid go out with friends. And while your kid is out, if anything happens that makes them feel uncomfortable or that he or she might be in a dangerous situation, then they can text designated family members the letter ‘X’. Once a family member gets that text, they immediately call that text sender and both engage in a predetermined script. The script, according to its creator, author Bert Fulks, 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 oeave in five minutes. I’m on my way.”
Pretty brilliant, right? This way, the kid has an out that he or she doesn’t have to explain at the risk of being mocked or pressured by his friends. Once family swoops in and removes your kid from the situation there is the next phase to this brilliant protocol. Not all parents will be able to stomach it, but it has the potential to build incredible trust between you and your kid.
The next phase is, your kid isn’t obligated to tell you what happened unless someone else is in serious trouble. Parents must pass zero judgment and ask zero questions other than to let their child know that they can share as much or as little as they feel comfortable sharing.
As scary as that advice may sound, it actually works to build up trust between kids and parents. Fulks describes on his website how he spends an hour a week with teens recovering from hardcore addiction issues. In an illuminating exchange, Fulks asked them if any of them ever found themselves in “situations where things started happening that you weren’t comfortable with, but you stuck around, mainly because you felt like you didn’t have a way out?” And guess what? Every single kid raised there hand.
Even if you think your kid is shielded from trouble because of where you live or the friends you keep, know that all teens are wild to some extent and that they almost never come into the teen years fully prepared to deal with the shocks and pressures that life will most certainly offer. That’s why the X Plan is so brilliant. It tells kids that their family trusts them, is there for them, and will help them to find solutions if a problem comes up.
Fulks’ book is called X-Plan Parenting and is available here.