Dad Devises ‘Coded Text Message’ Plan To Help His Teen Son Leave Uncomfortable Situations

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Now this is a smart and awesome idea!

Your teenage child is at a friends house and you send a text or make a quick call to their phone to check on them. They sound a bit strange, but reassure you that everything is okay.

The next day you find out that your child had tried drinking and experimented with some sort of drugs. The environment they were in the night prior, wasn’t what they assured you it was. However, your child didn’t feel they had a way out of the situation, even thought they knew it wasn’t right.

This was the exact situation that happened to Bert Fulks and his son Danny. Fulks is a pastor, and as a former pastor’s kid, knows how difficult growing up in that environment can be. Fulks trusts his son, but wanted to make sure that his son trusted him to come to the rescue, without judgement, when needed. Fulks developed an ingenious text script that allows his son to send out an S.O.S. without being embarrassed in front of his friends.

Fulks got the idea after talking to teens in addiction clinics across the country. “Recently I asked these kids a simple question,” he writes. “‘How many of you have found yourself in situations where things started happening that you weren’t comfortable with, but you stuck around, mainly because you felt like you didn’t have a way out?’ They all raised their hands.”

The coded text message.

Bert Fulks

Fulks has an outline of the plan on his website. See below.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say that my youngest, Danny, gets dropped off at a party. If anything about the situation makes him uncomfortable, all he has to do is text the letter “X” to any of us (his mother, me, his older brother or sister). The one who receives the text has a very basic script to follow. Within a few minutes, they call Danny’s phone. When he answers, the conversation goes like this:


“Danny, 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.”

At that point, Danny tells his friends that something’s happened at home, someone is coming to get him, and he has to leave.”

However, the only way this plan truly works is, your children must realize that they will not be punished for utilizing this plan. Your children should not be penalized for asking for help in getting out of a bad situation. Fulks understand this may be a hard concept for parents to grasp, but mutual respect between parent and teenage child, is a big deal. 

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