Ben Fulks is a dad and youth minister who works with teenagers dealing with addiction issues in Huntington, West Virginia.
He recently asked a room full of recovering teens if they'd ever been in uncomfortable situations, and couldn't manage to get out of the situation gracefully. Every single person raised their hand.
Fulks noted in a blog post that the teens answer to his question changed the way that he interacts with his own children.
He says he reflected on his own adolescent days and remembered why he drank alcohol for the first time:
“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 decided to break the cycle of peer pressure to consume alcohol in his own family.
That's when Fulks came up with the “X-Plan” for his teenage children to contact him or other family members if they find themselves in uncomfortable situations.
For example, if his son, Danny, is dropped off at a party and then wants to leave, all Danny has to do is text the letter “X” to any member of the family and they will come pick him up.
The most important part of the X-Plan is that the family member who comes to the rescue cannot ask any questions or pass judgment. Fulks says this is the hardest part of the X-Plan.
“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.”
Fulks notes there is one exception to the no questions rule. The child requesting the ride has a responsibility to let an adult know if they believe another friend is in serious trouble.
The West Virginia dad remarks that the plan has worked very well in improving trust and communication in his home, and he hopes other families across the country will also try the X-Plan.
Source: Independent Journal Review
Photo: Ben Fulks via Independent Journal Review
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