What is the X-Plan and how could it save your kid’s life

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HARTFORD — Parents all over the country are sharing the X-Plan on social media, an idea coined last week by a West Virginia speaker. The concept is simple: give your kids a way to escape peer pressure, without completely ruining their social status.

Bert Fulks’ post “X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)” lays out how he came up with the idea and how you can make it work for your teen.

Fulks works with teens going through addiction recovery. He learned almost all of them found themselves in situations that made them uncomfortable, but stuck around because they felt they didn’t have a clear way out.

You can imagine the situation: Your teen is offered his first beer. He doesn’t want to drink it, but also doesn’t want to seem uncool. He’d rather leave, but he’s afraid to call you because he wasn’t supposed to be at the party in the first place. As a teen, it seems much easier to stay and go along with it then try and get home.

So, Fulks developed the X-Plan. If anything makes his kids uncomfortable, all they have to do is text the letter X to him, their mother, or an older sibling. The person who receives the text, calls the teens phone and follows this script:


“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.”

Then, the teen can tell her friends she has to leave and it’s not her choice.

“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,” Fulks wrote.

But there is one more important piece to the X-Plan and for many parents, it can be the hardest part. When your teen texts you that X, she is under no obligation to spill the details and you will not pass judgement. Fulks said this goes a long way in building trust between you and your teen.

“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,” Fulks said. “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.”

What do you think? Will you make an X-Plan in your family?