If we think hard enough, I’m sure we can all think of a moment in our history when we felt cornered or forced to do something we didn’t want to. We did those things we aren’t proud of because we were scared of the social consequences or maybe because as explained by psychologists, humans are natural conformists.
As adults, we have learnt ways to cope with the need to conform, but teenagers haven’t. Their social standings drive a vast majority of what they do. These seemingly insignificant pressures are deep, all-too-real struggles for them.
Bert Fulks, a minister in West Virginia USA, came up with a full proof exit strategy to protect children from peer pressure. With his method, kids can remove themselves from an uncomfortable or dangerous situation with their peers, and as a bonus, they get to avoid humiliation and ridicule. Thus increasing their trust in us their parents. He calls it the ‘the X Plan’.
Here’s how it works
The X plan is simple. If one of his children is away from home and finds himself in a difficult situation, he can easily text the letter “X” to any member of his family, who responds by calling and expressing an urgent need for the child to be home and that someone is coming to get them.
The child then has a very relatable excuse to leave: “my ‘uncool’ parents want me home”.
According to Fulks, the call ideally goes like this:
“Something has come up, and we need to come get you right away.”
“I’ll tell you when I get there, be ready to leave in 5 minutes. I’m on my way.”
However, trust is one condition absolutely necessary for this plan to effectively function
The plan comes with the agreement that no one will pass judgements. Your child has the right to tell you as much or as little as he wants, and that is entirely 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 difficult thing for a lot of parents to deal with, but Fulks assures us that it will play a fundamental role in building trust between yourself and your child.
An exception to this rule is that your child must know that if someone he knows is in danger, he has a moral obligation to speak up.
Remember no lecture, no pressure and no prying! This kind of plan only works if the parent does their part. If your child fears punishment, he is less likely to call (or in this case text) for help.