A parent will always worry about their child more so when they get into the teenage stage.
This is no different for dad Bert Fulks who innovated a tool he calls the “X Plan” to manage this anxiety that comes with parenting a wild teenager.
Bert, is a Minister and a father of three who works with kids struggling to overcome addictions. In his interactions with these kids he picks a number of lessons which he develops into insights and parenting tips shared on his blog, ‘Bert Fulks.’
From these kids’ support groups, Bert learnt that Kids need escape routes. Many participants voiced that often times, because they do not have an easy way out, they will stay in uncomfortable and possibly dangerous circumstances.
Bert decided to create a code word that his own kids could use to communicate to him in case they felt uneasy or threatened. He opted for a simple secret test message that could be sent out to signal the need to get out of a bad situation, all without any questions asked by the recipient.
Scroll down to learn more about Bert’s brilliant compassionate parenting tactic
Bert and his wife understand that as parents, you can do everything possible to raise your children to be conscientious, responsible citizens and yet as they grow older, at some point they will find themselves in rough situations.
As part of development and growth, it is essential that a child learns how to get around the uncomfortable situations in life.
Even though Bert appreciates this requirement for growth, he also feels that kids should have a back up escape route to help them get out of those bad situations when they feel they need to.
Most of the kids that Bert interacted with in the addiction support groups expressed that they would have benefited from an exit plan at one point in their lives if only they were given one.
“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.”
To this end, Bert created what he referred to as “X Plan” for his kids.
With this plan, his kids can use the special code “X” as a message seeking to be quickly pulled out of a situation that they wish to get out of at any time.
To demonstrate this, he uses a text exchange with Danny, his oldest son to demonstrate how it works.
It is clear that Bert keeps the line of communication with his son open, granting permission for a sleep over at a friend’s house while reminding him to be good and that he belongs somewhere. This way in case of any uncomfortable situation, Danny can easily signal his dad to come to his rescue with the X Plan.
The letter “X” Is the key to the escape plan in the Bert household.
Once this Bert received the message, he knew that his son needed to leave his friend’s house instantly.
According to Bert’s blog, the X plan has a lot more to it and he goes ahead to detail how it works.
“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.”
And then Danny indicates to his friends that someone is coming to get him because something happened at home and he has to leave. The perfect excuse for any kid looking for an exit.
What better way to communicate to your rescue without causing suspicion from those around you. Anonymous tests surely do the trick.
Bert stresses that kids need to trust the plan without fear of getting in trouble with mom and dad once used. It is meant to be a safety measure with non-disclosure clause should the kids not want to share details of a situation.
Put quite simply, the kid should feel comfortable to call mum or dad for assistance regardless of whether they put themselves in that situation say smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer while keeping the wrong company.
If the teenager fears to get into trouble with the parents then chances are they they will opt to stick it out which only makes the situation worse.
Bert’s X Plan is one of his creative ways to manage teenagers in his household while keeping some sanity as a parent. We hope this inspires more parents to tailor their own versions.
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