Dad comes up with clever trick for helping his teen get out of uncomfortable situations
I got to admit – I literally cringe when people complain about how hard having young children is.
Seriously? Young children are a picnic. Sure you might have them in your bed and they might throw a little mid-Tesco tantrum here and there, but really, this isn't hard. Not really. Not compared to what comes next.
Just think about it: Your job as a parent is to keep your children safe. When they are little, it is so easy. You know where they are at all times. You know what they eat and what they drink and who they play with and what they are interested in and what time they go to bed.
You control their entire environment and can keep them totally safe at pretty much all times.
As they get older, this starts to get trickier. They spend long hours every day away from you. They become friends with people you don't know that well and they start navigating a more and more adult world. Peer pressure and trying to be cool and keep up can quickly escalate into some uncomfortable situations – and then it becomes our job to help them out of it.
To alleviate some of the stress that comes with these instances, one dad recently shared the code he uses with his own kids, which acts as an out for them during any awkward social situation — and we think it is actually pretty genius.
"As a teen, forcing down alcohol seemed a whole lot easier than offering myself up for punishment, endless nagging and interrogation, and the potential end of freedom as I knew it," Bert Fulks shared on his blog. "For these reasons, we now have something called the 'X-plan' in our family. This simple, but powerful tool is a lifeline that our kids are free to use at any time."
Curious? Here's 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). 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 friends that something's happened at home, someone is coming to get him, and he has to leave. 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."
Pretty clever, no?
Fulks continues his post, highlighting one important component to the plan. "Once he's been extracted from the trenches, Danny knows that he can tell us as much or as little as he wants . . . but it's completely up to him. The X-plan comes with the agreement that we will pass no judgments and ask no questions . . . This can be a hard thing for some parents (admit it, some of us are complete control-freaks); but I promise it might not only save them, but it will go a long way in building trust between you and your kid."
What do YOU think, parents? Would you consider using this plan with your own teens? Or have you another method you would like to share with us? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie