Being a teen is hard enough, and things like peer pressure — of any kind — don't make it any easier. That's why dad and blogger Bert Fulks came up with a way to get his kids out of any unsafe or pressured situation.
Fulks came up with what he calls the "X-plan," in which his kids can text him an x if they're in an awkward or unsafe situation and want an out. The x will then signal to Fulks to call them and tell them that there's been an emergency, and that he needs to come get them immediately.
Fulks, who spends time helping teens with addiction recovery, wrote in a blog post that he once asked them, "How many of you have found yourself 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?"
When every single one of them raised their hands, Fulks realized that he needed to come up with a way to keep kids from having to stick around in uncomfortable situations.
"Let’s say that my youngest, Danny, gets dropped off at a party," he explained in the post. "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."
The conversation will then go something 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.”
The child can then tell their friends that something has happened without going into specifics, and have a way out of an uncomfortable situation.
"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," Fulms wrote. "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."