Over the past few months a well-meaning article suggesting a way for parents to help their children escape peer pressure has become moderately popular. The article is called “X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan).”
The goal of the article is offer aid to the many teenagers who are faced with uncomfortable situations that they can’t see a way out of. They’re at a party, friends are offering them alcohol or drugs, and they don’t know how to respond without – as Mr. Fulks would say – castrating themselves socially. They want to keep their friends, but they don’t want to give in. This is the dilemma the X-Plan has been fashioned to resolve, a “simple, but powerful tool” that is a “lifeline” the author’s kids are free to use at any time.
The way it works is basically this: Brian (hypothetical name) is at a party and feels uncomfortable or pressured to do something he doesn’t want to do. All Brian has to do is text ‘X’ to a family member, and they will call him and pretend an emergency has come up. Brian can then tell his friends that he has to leave to tend to said emergency, and thereby gets to leave the party while at the same time saving face.
Win-win, everybody goes home happy. He can tell his parents what happened or not, no pressure, no judgement, no further questions.
Originally, that’s where the article left it. It received some criticism – rightfully so – and has since been edited to give cursory answers to those objections: doesn’t this teach the kid not to be able to stand up to others? what if it becomes habitual? if it isn’t talked about how are they to learn? shouldn’t there be consequences?