X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)

(As seen on The Today Show, Good Housekeeping, HerViewFromHome, ScaryMommy, The Huffington Post, Mamamia, MomsEveryday, and numerous social and news media outlets. UPDATED – 3/3/2017)

Friends, as most of you know, I get to spend an hour each week with a group of young people going through addiction recovery.  Yes.  Young people.  I’m talking teenagers who are locked away for at least six months as they learn to overcome their addictions.  I’m always humbled and honored to get this time with these beautiful young souls that have been so incredibly assaulted by a world they have yet to understand.  This also comes with the bittersweet knowledge that these kids still have a fighting chance while several of my friends have already had to bury their own children.

Recently I asked these kids a simple question:  “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?”

They all raised their hands.

Every single one of them.

In the spirit of transparency … I get it.  Though in my mid-forties, I’m still in touch with that awkward boy who often felt trapped in the unpredictable currents of teenage experiences.  I can’t count the times sex, drugs, and alcohol came rushing into my young world; I wasn’t ready for any of it, but I didn’t know how to escape and, at the same time, not castrate myself socially.  I still recall my first time drinking beer at a friend’s house in junior high school—I hated it, but I felt cornered.  As an adult, that now seems silly, but it was my reality at the time.  “Peer pressure” was a frivolous term for an often silent, but very real thing; and I certainly couldn’t call my parents and ask them to rescue me.  I wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place.  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.

X-Plan

xplan-text1-2For 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.  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:

“Hello?”

“Danny, something’s come up and I have to come get you right now.”

“What happened?”

“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.

This is one of the most loving things we’ve ever given him, and it offers him a sense of security and confidence in a world that tends to beat our young people into submission.

xplan-text1However, there’s one critical component to the X-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 (even if he is 10 miles away from where he’s supposed to be).  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.

(One caveat here is that Danny knows if someone is in danger, he has a moral obligation to speak up for their protection, no matter what it may cost him personally.  That’s part of the lesson we try to teach our kids—we are our brother’s keeper, and sometimes we have to stand for those too weak to stand for themselves.  Beyond that, he doesn’t have to say a word to us.  Ever.)

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.

Since first publishing this piece, I’ve seen an incredible amount of discussion about the pros and cons. Here are some of the questions folks have had:

Doesn’t this encourage dishonesty?

Absolutely not. It actually presents an opportunity for you as a parent to teach your kids that they can be honest (something DID come up, and they DO have to leave), while learning that it’s okay to be guarded in what they reveal to others. They don’t owe anyone an explanation the next day, and if asked can give the honest answer, “It’s private and I don’t want to talk about it.” Boom! Another chance for a social skill life-lesson from Mom and Dad.

Does this cripple a kid socially instead of teaching them to stand up to others?

I know plenty of adults who struggle to stand up to others. This simply gives your kid a safe way out as you continue to nurture that valuable skill.

What if this becomes habitual?

If you’re regularly rescuing your kid, hopefully your family is having some conversations about that.

If you don’t talk about it or ask questions, how do they learn?

If you’re building a relationship of trust with your kids, they’ll probably be the ones to start the conversation. More importantly, most of these conversations need to take place on the FRONT-side of events. Ever taken a cruise? They all make you go through the safety briefing in case the boat sinks. They don’t wait until the ship’s on fire to start telling you about the lifeboats. Talk with them. Let your kids ask questions and give them frank answers.

If they’re not where they’re supposed to be, shouldn’t there be consequences?

Let’s be honest. A kid in fear of punishment is a lot less likely to reach out for help when the world comes at them. Admitting that they’re in over their heads is a pretty big life-lesson all by itself. However, don’t get so caught up in all of the details. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all scheme. Every parent, every kid, and every situation is unique. What it might look like in your family could be totally different from mine—and that’s okay.

I urge you to use some form of our X-plan in your home.  If you honor 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 center … or (God forbid) something far worse.

At the end of the day, however, the most important thing is that you’re having some open, honest discussions with your kids. Keep building a relationship of trust. This isn’t the same world we grew up in. It’s not like sneaking a beer at Billy’s house anymore. Our kids face things on a daily basis that—given one bad decision—can be fatal. Don’t believe me? I’ve been to funerals for great kids from awesome families.

Friends, it’s a dangerous world. And our kids are out in it everyday.

Prayers for strength and compassion to the parents out there as we all try to figure out this whole parenting gig—it never gets easy.

I beg you to share this piece.  Talk about it with your kids.  If this somehow gives just one kid a way out of a bad situation, we can all feel privileged to have been a part of that.

#xplan

Blessings, friends.

 

x-plan-parenting-cover

Release date from Simon & Schuster / Howard Books: June 11, 2019.

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775 thoughts on “X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)

  1. We had a similar plan for our girls and something else. “I’m going to ask you if I can go to ______’s house and the answer is no.” Some of their friends had rough situations. I could say no, that I needed them to be home for something, but that the friend should come here. It always worked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had this for our boys but they could call any adult in our friendship network. Any kid any adult and they would be picked up no questions asked. This worked because sometimes “aunts and uncles” are easier to talk to then parents. They all come home safe!! It’s all that matters.

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  4. Thank you so much for caring for these kids and being there for them I am grateful for you sharing this with me I have a 14 year old granddaughter that I will promise will have this information and please thanks again and god bless you, I am so glad to know there are still caring and loving parents. Out there

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    • I do believe it’s important to teach honesty. But 100% honesty in life (especially if you include little white lies) is not practical or even safe in some situations (like the party described in the blog post). Any happily married couple knows that there are times when a well-intentioned lie can go a long way in maintaining a strong bond. Back to the theme of this blog, your child would be weighing the value and impact of a lie used to keep him/her safe while maintaining friendships. Before you object and say honesty is more important that having friends or a social life as a teen, think long and hard about what the pain and devastation of social exlusion or being bullied may do to your child….depression, anxiety, and suicide are all very real experiences for teens who are ostracized and ridiclued. I think the better lesson to teach your kids is to be kind, be as honest as possible as often as possible, how to address conflict in a positive way, and to know their values and have their own X plan to come home safe. I think you can teach them that WHAT they lie about is very important, and in some cases lying may be the better option. Knowing how to discern these nuanced situations is the hard part to teach, and to learn….

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      • You missed the whole point of the article. It’s about giving your kids a way out of a situation. Why are you writing a book about why it’s OK to lie?

        Liked by 3 people

      • “think long and hard about what the pain and devastation of social exlusion or being bullied may do to your child….depression, anxiety, and suicide are all very real experiences for teens who are ostracized and ridiclued.” *

        *The first rule of statistics is that correlation is not necessarily an indication of causation. There is some value in the posted article, and some truth to what you say, but I can’t help but think there’s a bit missing in all of this.

        Now, I came here expecting to hate the #xplan. After reading, I have an unexpected appreciation for the concept. You have identified some points to discuss (themes of honesty, integrity, leadership, etc), and I think it shows there are some things missing from the conversation in general. I’m sure Bert would be the first to agree. And since this post is about one specific tiny slice of the discussion rather than all philosophical ideas ever, I’m sure many of the conversations that are happening as a result of this post are taking too many liberties in assumption.

        That said, I think it’s worth looking at the potential disadvantages of anything we claim is good, or healthy, or worthwhile. Everything is a tradeoff, even things we embrace wholeheartedly and fully aware of the downsides. In this case, there seems to be potential for kids to use this as a tool in places where they come up short on wise decision-making skills, forethought, self-confidence, leadership initiative, and even love and acceptance. After all, if someone is pressuring you to drink or smoke or snort or have sex with something or someone you’re not comfortable with, then social stigmatization really only works if you’re lacking the trust in your own self-worth. It also indicates you are likely prone to accept abusive behavior from others, which often means you’re unknowingly abusive to yourself (#selftalk). Mind you, it’s still highly favorable to have the xplan vs. nothing, as dicey situations are all but guaranteed to happen either way.

        The #xplan is neither good nor bad. It can serve as a productive tool in a tight spot or a crutch used to enable dependent behavior. The real question is why was it used? Since the hard rule is “pass no judgments and ask no questions”, (a well-considered rule imo) direct inquiry isn’t an option. So that leaves us parents with the task of doing the work to make sure our kids understands and accept their own personal value while they’re asking asking themselves what THEY want out of life, and helping them embrace the confidence to accept nothing less. Ensuring our kids (and ourselves) have the confidence to make choices and defend against any opposition is crucial in today’s world. Making sure that self-talk is gentle, accepting, non-judgemental, and kind will play a leading factor in whether or not we develop and maintain that self-confidence.

        Thanks for the article, and the chance to explore such important concepts, Bert!

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      • Jentallygirl is referring to the fact that the teen will tell his friends that he has to go because of an emergency at home which is not true. That is the lie that she is referring to, and saying that the author of the blog is basically saying that we should teach our kids to lie to save face in front of their friends.

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  5. What do you have your kids say to their friends later when they ask what happened at home? We teach them not to lie, so I’m not sure what we’d have them say in response to this question w/o having them make something up. And I have a couple of kids who would not be okay with a white lie. I love giving them an out. I think it’s super important! My uncle gave me this when I lived with them, but also as an escape if things got bad at home, I could call him and he’d come get me.

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      • You’re not getting it, the child sends the “x” to their parent, knowing they need to get to get out of a situation. Their parent calls and says something has happened (the child knows there wasn’t anything that happened) so the child can tell his friends an excuse to leave. It has nothing to do with lying.

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    • You say it’s a private matter but everything is fine now then change the subject, it’s not hard to change the subject.
      Personally , I don’t see the issue with lying if need be. They were in a situation that they needed to get out of. Period. Their safety is more important than lie if you ask me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not a lie.
        “Something has come up at home”.
        What just came up at home, with the X text, is that we have a teenager in a predicament and we need a family hug!
        If you can’t see that then you are not seeing the REALITY of the dire situation! And it doesn’t matter if the situation is really dire or not. If a teen isn’t completely confident that it is not dire – then it’s dire! Spoken from one who called mom, “come get me, I don’t want to be here anymore.”

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      • Sally Ono – I think what’s being expressed in the article is that the two are linked. Teens will put themselves into unsafe situations in order to be popular. That’s why you find a way to let them chose the safe option without losing face with their friends. Because unfortunately many teens if they have to choose between the two will take risks rather than look bad to their friends or peers.

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      • Sally Ono – I think what’s being expressed in the article is that the two are linked. Teens will put themselves into unsafe situations in order to be popular. That’s why you find a way to let them chose the safe option without losing face with their friends. Because unfortunately many teens if they have to choose between the two will take risks rather than look bad to their friends or peers.

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    • I think you just tell them “my mom needed me at home. It’s personal” and leave it at that. There is no lie. If you don’t feel comfortable being somewhere & u send your mom a signal to come get u, then there is something your mom needed you home for, your safety.

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    • Just say “I can’t talk about it” because it’s technically true. You can’t actually talk about it because nothing was actually wrong, but it makes it sound like it’s a private matter and any good decent friend won’t force you to talk about something you supposedly can’t talk about. It isn’t a lie because it’s true, they just don’t know what context it’s in. Just saying, kind of common sense and an easy solution.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Growing up, my mother always just told me, “Make me the bad guy.” So when someone wanted me to do something I didn’t want to do I’d always just roll my eyes and say something like, “Ugh, my mom won’t let me go out tonight. There’s no reason. She’s just a lunatic.” Always worked for me and I was always grateful for my mom for that.

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    • My favorite advice to my kids: DON’T Answer The Question!! Your child doesn’t owe anyone an explanation~ least of all to “friends” who put him/her in the situation in the first place. I suggest you rehearse some replies that don’t involve lies. “It’s hard for me to talk about” is our most honest response.

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    • I guarantee no one will ask them what happened, & if they do they can just say “family issues”. We have always talked to our kids and urged them to use us as an excuse or way out of any situation like this that they are uncomfortable in. We follow their lead, and it always works. No questions asked by us or the people left behind.

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    • I agree with one of the other posts that “it was a family situation that had been taken care of”. For the childs piece of mind so they don’t have to feel as though they have lied to friends, the “family situation” that has been taken care of is their safety and the fact that their family needed to share their love with the child- right then. Not a lie at all but a wonderful, loving expression of the ultimate truth😊

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    • My sister taught her boys to be an example to their friends. They left parties if there was drinking, drugs and smoking. Their friends knew they would do this, and only once left a friend behind because he wanted to stay. Later his friend apologized and said he regretted not leaving with them. Teach your children to be leaders and not followers. Teach them that their example will give others courage to follow a more noble path.
      Teach them courage, and they will be moral warriors.

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    • Technically the whole thing is a lie. The phone call is a lie, the emergency is a lie. The whole thing is a fabrication from the start, so if you’re so opposed to lying, don’t use this plan.
      I personally will teach my children that when it comes to their safety, if they need to lie to protect themselves, go right ahead. I’m ok with that.

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    • So you tailor it to your family or situation. Every kid and every family is different. Find a mechanism or a compromise that makes you kid feel safe turning to you when they make a bad choice and the situation gets out of hand.

      The idea is giving the kid a way to get out of a bad situation without having to commit “social suicide”, or fear walking into a (to them) worse situation at home.

      And to those that say “it won’t work”. It may not work for you as a parent, and it may not work as intended if your kid tries to “take advantage” of it – but those are specific situational problems that need to be addresse d for YOUR family. The principle itself is sound.

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    • I would say to just tell the friends simply “I really don’t want to talk about it” if they go on still your child can reply “it’s really personal I’ll talk about it if and when I’m ready just not now” then the if is there so they are not lying they don’t ever have to tell them n I’m sure within a week they will have other things to talk about and forget totally of the situation with your child.

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      • “it’s really personal I’ll talk about it if and when I’m ready just not now” may leave the listeners with a sense of intrigue, and the young person open to more questioning in the future. How about, “it was just private family business.” Period…(and it is)… to be repeated if necessary in the same way….every time.

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  6. Great comments…..its very important to communicate with your kids. I am adopting the X plan…..Awesome idea!
    My family eats at the table together….. not in front of the TV…….I ask them daily “what was your best and what was your worst ” everyday. You will find out so many things with your kids just by asking them questions at the table. My wife and I share our best and worst too….. 😉 my kidos are 13, 12 and 7……amazing lil buggers 😉

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    • How you handle situations can vary because each child is different. What works for one child doesn’t mean it will work for another. You will know how your child is and what you need to do. I believe in asking questions that means I care and I want to know. If you have a close enough relationship they won’t have a problem telling you and you will also know if there’s something that’s not right

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  7. Any ideas such as the X plan should be appreciated by any parent even if they choose not to use it. This does help parents understand or remember what worrying what your peers think was like then, so similar to now, although I dare say being a teen today n trying to do the right thing must be very challenging these days.

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  8. I don’t have any children but if I did I have always said *to my self of course* my child could call me if uncomfortable somewhere and I would be right there no questions asked.
    I also have always wished I had a parent that would have done it for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliant! I have always told my children to never drink/ take drugs and drive or accept a lift from a driver under the influence of either. I have told them i will collect them any time day or night from any area, NO QUESTIONS ASKED! Its all about keeping out children safe at all costs.

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    • The driver safety bit was made terribly real in the lane near our home 2 years ago, when three 16 year old boys died (including the drunk driver) crashing into a tree. My lads knew all three of them. Lesson learnt.

      With regard to the X-plan — its when they leave home to go to University that gets worrying. You cant operate an X-plan when you are 2 hours drive away! Peer pressure is worse at Uni, and of course, there are all those student bars……

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      • Actually, it does work. Your kids just need to modify the plan so that their pick-up person is a trusted person. It’s an excellent way to get out of (for example) a date that’s gone horribly wrong and you no longer feel safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Love this article! I moved out when I was 18. I was an hour away from “home (my parents)”. I had a buddy system with my girlfriends. We would call on each other when we got to our apartments, so that we knew everyone got home safely (before cell phones). Later when we had our own cars (lived in Munich – so we used the bus or subway to get everywhere), we would drive each other home (every time someone else was the designated driver). As a teenager, my older sister told me almost every time I went out how I should call if I felt that the designated driver was no longer capable of getting me home safely – no questions asked on where they (my parents, older brother or she) had to pick me up or at what time of the night. My own kids are still too young to go out on their own, but I have told them the story of how I handled different situations. By telling them in a story form, they may remember it when it happens to them and they know to call me. No questions asked.

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  10. So… just tell a little white lie. It’s for your safety, after all. OR… don’t hang out with folks or in places that have the potential of placing you in a compromising or uncomfortable situations. And if you happen to end up in a bad situation, despite your best intentions, have the guts to stand up for what you believe. If you can’t do that, maybe you shouldn’t be going out just yet. NBD. Just wait a couple more years until you’re ready.

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    • A person can’t always predict when they’ll need help getting out of a situation. What if your kid is on a date that goes wrong and they no longer feel safe? I’ve had that happen even as an adult.

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    • Sometimes though especially the first time your child might have no clue that their closest friend is bringing them on a surprisingly terrible adventure usually the first timeend up somewhere like this it’s because you are with a friend you trust who has made a bad choice and brought you along clueless and surprised of these actions and you then feel trapped. Sometimes you don’t always know who is good or bad to be around u til it happens.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this with other parents, I cannot imagine how differently my life would have been if I could have used this when I was growing up! I will definitely implement this in my home with my 2 sons ! You will definitely save some young kids with this I know it! Thank you from the bottoms of this mama’s heart!

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  12. I agree 100% with the comment that stated “what works for one child doesn’t necessarily work for another! I’ve raised 6 children into adults ( well almost, my last two at home are 16 and 17) and all were so different from one another. I think The comin denominator to all the morally successful decisions they each have made or somehow experienced through those so, so influential times, can be the result of knowing and feeling unconditional love and genuine concern at home. Not that consequences for poor decisions weren’t almost as frequent at times (with 4 teenagers- -and two young very impressionable little ones, everyday definitely kept me on my toes.
    Anyway what I’d like to say is there will always be that time or those times, where the child makes the wrong choice , and thats ok, and hopefully they learn from their own mistakes. Cause that’s life. ( EVEN THOUGH I’D RATHER THEM ALL JUST LEARN FROM MINE.) Thankyou for the remider how important communication is in a family, and when’s there’s honesty and security at home,. The odds are soooo much better for them to do and be the honest , helpful? Friend making smart choices,, thanks again,,

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  13. Great article i think this is a great approach to most young people. Some children (such as the ones you work with) may not have parents they can have that sort of relationship with so it could come down to someone they consider a mentor.
    Personally, for me, this would not have worked. While i did feel trapped in many way, I was the “quiet” type. So most of what i struggled with could not be heard (because i never spoke much), so I would in turn try to make sure that it could be seen. I needed someone to see that i was struggling big time and I didnt care how much i went through to make sure it could be seen. Unfortunately, people saw my struggle and put it down to rebellion. Which meant that most people didnt really care about my heartaches because my behaviour was simply ‘unacceptable’ and ‘intolerable’.
    I have come through most of my struggles now only by the Grace of God. He pursued me throughout the entire journey and He still is. In my heart I always knew He was there but i was mostly angry at how he could be there and let so much crap happen to me and people I love. Butl ike I said, He pursued me until I gave Him my heart and mind and I haven’t looked back since.
    Every journey is different. And if this approach isn’t working for one child, it doesn’t mean its the end. As long as we, as parents, have our child’s heart in mind at all times. We cannot try to force them to be what we think they should be. And we cannot treat them like they are “too hard” every time they do things that we dont understand. If we love our children we will always do our best to be honest with them and also to be loving even when it feels impossible.

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  14. Pingback: X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan) | Bert Fulks | ryanharnwell

    • You might turn into a taxi service, but how would it be used to hide a multitude of things? If your kids had never called you, whatever they’re hiding from you would have been hidden anyway.

      Besides, if a kid uses this several times, maybe it’s time to talk with them anyway – still honor the “You don’t have to tell me about the ‘X events’.” rule, but talk to them about why it’s coming up so much.

      Also, I’d rather be a taxi service and hopefully build trust with my kids, than have them succumb to peer-pressure.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. We didn’t have phones when we were kids and no means of calling Mom and Dad unless you were near a telephone kiosk. The best advice is to be places with a good friend and choose your friends very carefully. You generally know the ones likely to go astray. There is nothing wrong with the word NO to drink, drugs or anything else you do not want to do. If the so called friends criticise they are not the kind of people you would wish to be friends with anyway.

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  16. I agree with everything except the “no questions asked”. The relationship between parent and child needs to have enough love in it for the child to feel safe about being honest and enough mutual respect to ensure the child understands actions have consequences. I firmly believe that accountability for poor choices are so important in order for them to learn. Of course there’s things my 16 year old is exposed to and does without my knowledge, but she does it with the full understanding that any deceptive action on her part will be disciplined in our love for her and our job as her protector.

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    • I suppose it’s the way the questions are asked that matters. If a teenager feels pressured they might clam up and not use the x plan the next time to save being nagged or forced to answer questions and therefore truly get into a predicament the next time

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    • I never force my son to talk, but I ask him if he wants to. Whether its using our xplan (he types migraine, because he does get bad ones and none of his friends think its weird when ge does), or a bad day at school, or anything else. The answer is usually no, right then. But after the next few days, he has always came and talked to me. Because he trusts me, and trust my opinion. Hes just one of those kids that freezes up if he feels on the spot. But since he knows I trust him, he trusts me, and he comes to me as long as I don’t try to force it to be on my schedule

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  18. We had a few similar rules in my house too, but nothing as formal. In High School we didn’t have a curfew but the trade off was that we had to be completely honest about where we were. We also had an agreement that if we ever needed anything (in particular a sober ride), we could always call my Dad and he would pick us up no questions asked, because being safe was more important than the lecture. I am extremely grateful and humbled by their trust and I was a pretty good kid because of it.

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  19. Just use common sense…we had a plan with our teenagers….it worked.
    Now they have a plan with their teenagers. When I taught school, we
    Discussed as a class what they could set up with their parents. As years
    Passed, some parents expressed their gratitude. I taught fourth grade.
    Can’t wait….do it sooner…gives them peace of mind.

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  20. I think you will find that’ your child will pull away from those situations on their own and see the “friends” in a different light when they have the availability of a safe harbor if they find themselves in a stormy situation as well.

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  21. This is a great system and idea I fully support it and I hope and pray that it works for even one child out there.

    I’m the mother of a 27 year old young man who is married has two children and currently sits in jail due to drugs.

    The saddest thing about the situation is it’s the children that suffer and I was foolish enough to trust the mother of one of my son’s best friend’s to look out for them when he was in Middle School.

    She not only provided them with their first joint she also sexually molested my son and he never told me about it until he was 25 yrs old. I think he was embarrassed ashamed and very very confused.

    Now so many years later there is little legal recourse to hold her accountable for what she’s done so my son is the one that gets to pay the price because he turned to drugs to quash his emotions and find a way to deal with the pain he was feeling inside.

    This woman has basically not only abused my son but because of what she did my grandchildren are continuing to pay the price. the tears and pain in my heart for them and my son will never make it all better he’s got to find his way through this but I trust in God that he will.

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  22. Pingback: X-Plan – Sara Ralph, LPC

  23. nice that you do talk with younger ones Dave I know you been places that they haven’t seen yet so if your words keep them thinking, maybe they wont get there. Thank you and good luck David.

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  24. Another alternative to this is an app called ‘Circle of 6’ it will send a ‘get me out of here’ text to 6 different people with one push of a button.

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  25. You say that the child should be given the right to privacy unless there is a moral obligation to prevent harm.

    Can I ask.. What would you do if your children said “Thanks Dad, they’ve got hold of some heroin and they’re all going to take some”?

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  26. I love your article. It’s a great way for a tween or teen to save face and exit a potentially bad situation. When I was young my mom wouldn’t do anything like that as the bad situations were mainly instigated by my older sis who could do no wrong. Plus my mom was mentally ill and no dad in the picture.
    So I wonder if you have any suggestions for the youngster who need such support but doesn’t have a family to get it from.

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    • I called my Aunt, or a friends parent I knew I could trust. My parents were great, but my dad worked nights and my mom was going through a bad spell health wise and I didn’t want to add to her stress. So my advice would be make good friends whose parents can support, or reach out to extended family mbers first

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  27. I think a lot of commenters are coming from this through the lense of an adult. Teenagers have their own social language and subtext for dealing with these situations. It’s like when my mom told me that if anyone picked on me to say “That isn’t a nice comment and I didn’t like it. Please stop.” I mean really, how far do you think that got me? Giving them a safe, anonymous out that is non judgemental is imperative in that moment. You have the rest of the time to instill morality. In that moment it’s an emergency. If they got shot, would you be asking them if they had lied to their friends as you rode in the ambulance with them? There is a time for idealism and a time for realism.

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  28. And let’s make sure that we act to prevent many similar situations in the future. The next day be sure to praise your teen for their wise choice to call home. Perhaps the next day it would be wise to discuss limiting the time spent with these “friends” and to define the original attraction. This is going to take some uncomfortable effort and time—but that is parenting!

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  29. Pingback: Go Ask Mum This Dad's 'X Plan' Strategy Could Save Your Teen Getting Into a Bad Situation - Go Ask Mum

  30. I notice a lot about people saying that lying is an issue, and I think you’re brain dead. This “X plan” is a way for a kid to get out of an uncomfortable place or experience, in a comfortable way. The “family issue” is the fact that he’s uncomfortable, and you’re kids not lying if he says there was a private family matter and it’s been dealt with, because it has! And who gives a shit anyway, would you rather you’re kid drink lean or take acid, OR tell a white lie. Smh while I’m reading these comments. A mom said that her “two kids couldn’t bear to tell a white lie”. Pretty sure they can tell a white lie, and if you really think they couldn’t check their sock drawer.

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  31. Pingback: X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out - Worldwide Hippies

  32. Pingback: X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan) – Social Justice Exchange

  33. It’s a good idea, and one that I will try to remember to use when I have kids of my own, but I know that some people might abuse the system. My brother, for example. He is very manipulative and I can see him going out and when he gets bored just using this as a way of getting one of us to collect him, like a free taxi service with the promise that we wouldn’t ask questions. I’d expect it wouldn’t be abused if you’re brought up with it and made to know the important reason for it, but I think if it’s brought into a family with someone like my brother, it could be misused.

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  34. This is a great thing for our youngsters, just one concern! You showed text messages between you and your son / daughter, if you are in the same household why can’t you actually sit down and talk to them rather than text ‘homework done?’ Why don’t you go and check it in person ???
    You obviously do not communicate in person with your children which I find Really sad. And then you wonder why if they go off to parties without you knowing?!
    You are a joke, any decent parent would talk to their child, not communicate by social media in the same house!!
    I suggest you talk to your children rather than messaging them, it’s a no brainer isn’t it???

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    • Speaking of no brainers, why haven’t you realized there are a ton of other reasons to explain that text? Like, say, Dad was at work at the time, checking in on his kid at home? Especially given that the kid says the friend’s mom can pick him up when he’s asked how he’s getting there.

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      • Yeah, sorry I didn’t answer right away, I was just praying that you were a troll. Anyway, let’s go in order, shall we?

        1. You’ll answer to the parent who posted this, not me… but then you answered to me five times. Very logical of you.

        2. You realize you’re able to post more than one sentence at a time, right?

        3. Huh, it’s almost as if… I don’t know… my comment was pointing out that NEITHER of us know the man in question or the specific situation, and there’s more than one explanation that is possible? It’s too bad I didn’t say that. Like when I wrote “haven’t you realized there are a ton of other reasons to explain that text”. Too bad I didn’t explicitly say the thing you’re calling me dumb for not saying.

        God, I really hope you’re a bored twelve year old, or that English isn’t your native language. If you’re an actual native English speaking adult and you lack this level of reading comprehension, I’m not sure there’s help for you.

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      • Hi Lee,

        I am flattered that I am of that much interest to you!
        Yes shall we do points just so you understand?
        1) if my answer came to you 5 times that was not my doing, ask the website about that as I certainly wouldn’t have answered your silly message more than once 😂👍🏻
        2) did I ever in my message call you ‘dumb’??
        3) I must say I feel sorry for you as you must be either boring or weird tbh (that means to be honest btw) which means (by the way)
        4) you must be American (which therefore explains all my points above)
        Understand?

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    • Judgemental much? My son and I have a wonderful relationship and talk often…but when something is bothering him he prefers to start the conversation over text. Eventually he wanders in from his room to talk to me, always. But its easier for him to start communication with me like he does his friends, over text or email. And thats fine. I dont care how hes most comfortable communicating with me, just that he keeps communicating

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  35. Pingback: X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)

  36. Pingback: This Dad’s Brilliant ‘X-Plan’ Will Save Your Kids From A Bad Situation Read more at http://www.sunnyskyz.com/blog/2026/This-Dad-s-Brilliant-X-Plan-Will-Save-Your-Kids-From-A-Bad-Situation#A5dmwTP3Elut4V5Y.99

  37. Pingback: This Dad’s Brilliant ‘X-Plan’ Will Save Your Kids From A Bad Situation

  38. Pingback: The X-Plan: Give Your Teens a Life-Saving Way Out of a Dangerous Situation | For Every Mom

  39. My daughter and I had something similar going. First, her dad agreed to pick her up at any hour, day or night, if she called and needed it. No questions asked and no trouble would be dished out. Second, I told my daughter that if she needed to, she could depict me as a strict and terrible ogre and say that if she got in trouble for __________, that I would make her life a living hell so she could credibly back out of whatever the other kids were planning to do. She used that excuse too, and told me she was glad enough to do it when it was needed.

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