‘X Plan’ Scenario
So here is the scenario laid out in many articles that describe the ‘x plan’. Your child goes out and is confronted with a situation that they deem as dangerous or compromising. They feel stuck, helpless, and alone. That is, until they remember the ‘x plan’ that the family had discussed a few weeks earlier.
Text an ‘X’
All they have to do is discreetly text an ‘X’ and parents recognize that there is danger. A simple call from mom or dad allows the teenager to be ‘rescued’ from the situation without feeling embarrassment from their peers. “The concept is simple: give your kids a way to escape peer pressure, without completely ruining their social status.” –fox61
But that’s not all. “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 (or he) is under no obligation to spill the details and you will not pass judgement.” -fox61 In other words, a parent voluntarily relinquishes the right and privilege of asking any questions in order to come to the aid of their teenager or child. The article goes on to say that this aspect of the ‘x plan’ is a tool for building trust between parents and their teens.
Before I tell you why I think this plan of action is dangerous and undermines true parental trust, let me tell you what I do like about the idea. The concept of having a ‘special’ or ‘secret’ code that allows your child to communicate danger is a fantastic idea. I have read accounts of children that were afraid to tell their parents they were being held against their will because their captor was standing beside them.
Having a way to communicate danger is a great idea. I would add that promising that you will drop what you are doing to come to your child’s aid is such a basic concept of good parenting…I struggle why it is not foundational to every parent-child relationship. Why does it have to be linked to a gimmick! It’s simply good parenting.
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As far as the promise to ‘not ask questions’….where do I start.
1. To begin with, if you have to resort to a ‘x plan’ strategy to ‘build trust’, you have waited far too long to start that process. Trust is not earned through a ‘buddy pact’ where you promise a free pass to your child. True trust is built over years of patient and intentional parenting.
2. If your teen has to be lured into asking for your help so you can rescue them without ruining their “social status”, maybe you are focusing too much on social status and not enough on teaching discernment.
3. What happened to teaching your kids how to take a stand? If every time they are challenged you come to the rescue, you have taught them to depend on you as opposed to ever standing firm on God’s Truth.
4. If you are not allowed to ask questions, how will you be able to use this situation to help guide them?
5. If you are not allowed to ask questions, how will you ever help them develop proper discernment? Consider this. It was possibly their own choices that put them into the compromising situation. How can you impart wisdom if you have to sit and be quiet?
6. What if you suspect that there are other teenagers that are also in the same dangerous circumstance? Nope, you have to keep your questions to yourself.
7. Think on this. If they lacked the judgement to get into the situation, maybe they lack the judgment to really evaluate the dangers to others that are still there.
In the end, if you follow your God-given parental instincts and follow up with any questions in order to do your job as a parent, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO HAS VIOLATED THE TRUST OF THE AGREEMENT! Do you see what a compromising position that puts you in as a parent?
Build Trust, Don’t Promise Trust
In making this ‘x plan’ promise to your teenager, you have given up your rights to be the parent. Frankly, those are not rights and responsibilities that you have the authority to abdicate because they don’t originate with you, they originate in the pages of Scripture!
Please understand that I am not saying that every compromising circumstance that a teenager gets into is automatically his fault. Whether it is his fault or not is inconsequential to the need for parents to be able to shepherd their teens through tough circumstances.
Remember, trust is mutual, not one way!! Be a parent that your children trusts; when they get stuck in a jam they will trust you to help them through it!
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DJHarry Isaiah 64:8 We are the clay!