Ben Fulks is a dad and a youth minister who works with teenagers struggling with addiction issues in Huntington, West Virginia.
According to Scary Mommy, Fulks asked a room full of recovering teens if they’d ever found themselves in uncomfortable situations where they couldn’t find a way out. The teens’ reactions floored Fulks because every single one of them raised their hands. Since then, he wrote a blog post about how the teens’ reactions changed the way he interacts with his own children.
Fulks wrote, “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.”
He wanted to break the cycle of peer pressure for his own family and make sure his kids felt comfortable coming to him if they were ever in an uncomfortable situation. That’s when he developed what he calls the “X-Plan” for his teenage children.
For example, if his son Danny is dropped off at a party and wants to leave, all Danny needs to do is text the letter “X” to any member of the family. The family member will then call Danny and follow a simple script:
Danny can then remove himself from the situation without feeling embarrassed in front of his peers for leaving. “He has the freedom to protect himself while continuing to grow and learn to navigate his world,” says Fulks.
The most important part of the X-Plan is that the family member who comes to the rescue cannot ask questions or pass judgment. This may be hard for some parents and Fulks admits it’s easier said than done.
“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,” he says.
Although, Fulks writes, that there is one rule: Danny (or any other kid) must speak up if they know another friend is in trouble. “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.”
Have any parents out there tried anything like this with their kids? After reading this, would you try this with your child?
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[Featured Image Credit: bertfulks.com]