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'The X Plan' Parents Use Discreet Strategy To Help Teens Fight Peer Pressure

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Texting one letter could help teens get away from peer pressure or danger.

High school senior William Trapp said peer pressure can make it hard to leave a party, even if you feel uncomfortable because of underage drinking or drugs.

"You never want to look like the dud," Trapp said.

That's why blogger and father of three, Bert Fulks created what he calls 'the x plan' a discreet way to get his own kids out of tough situations so they don't feel trapped by what their friends might think.

It works like this -- if a child is in an uncomfortable situation they text the letter 'x' to a parent or guardian.

The person would then text or call back claiming there's a family emergency and they need to be picked up.

Once they're together the rule is no questions asked and no judgement.

"I think that's a good idea because if someone is embarrassed to tell their friends they're uncomfortable somewhere they can say, 'oh yeah, I forgot I have a family plan to go to,' nobody will think that they're uncomfortable," Hayley Korn said.

The concept isn't new. Before texts were the norm, parents like Amanda Khalil's mom had her use safewords during phone calls.

"Use a special safe word and I will come and pick you up, and you just tell your friends it was my fault," she said.

Child psychologist Dr. Susan Bartell said the unique aspect of the x plan is that children don't have to talk about what happened, and there's no punishment.

"If kids think they're going to get punished they'll find another way out of a situation which could be a much scarier way out," she said.

"It's a good thing. Especially because kids are always getting embarrassed when their parents are anywhere near where they are. They don't want you around. They don't want you to know what they're doing. They close their doors all the time, and like everything is a big secret," mother Lori Korn said.

Bartell said the x plan can create a stronger bond between a parents and a child. Khalil agreed.

"I always had somebody there for me in my corner. I never lied to her because I didn't need to," she said.

Kids said there's comfort in knowing a parent will be there to catch you if you fall.


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