Our kids are everything we have, and all parents worry about their kids safety. It is our responsibility to make them feel safe, so they can grow into healthy adults. From my experience, there is nothing better than growing up knowing that you have someone you can rely on at anytime and anywhere. Someone who would love you no matter what, and would never judge you. Someone who would go above and beyond to save you from any situation. That’s how my parents made me feel.
Back in the eighties when my siblings and I were growing up, smart phones and mobile phones were not common. However, this never discouraged my parents from keeping us safe and making us feel safe. My mom gave us a secret code. It was “Cauliflower,” the only vegetable my siblings and I hated so much.
She explained to us, that the only people who are allowed to pick us up from school or anywhere, were herself and Dad. No one else, no matter how well we know them, should pick us up from anywhere at anytime–without the code. If anyone else attempted to pick us up, or said something along the lines of, ‘I’m your mom’s friend. Your mom (or Dad) told me to pick you up,’ we must ask the person what the code word was. If that person didn’t know the code word, we were to run back into the school and find a teacher immediately.
Similarly, if we were in an uncomfortable situation, we would call home and say something like, “Mom, can I stay longer at Mary’s or did you say I needed to be home because you were cooking cauliflower?” or “Mom, I think I have a tummy ache from all the cauliflower I ate at lunch.” She’d know that we had to be saved from an uncomfortable situation. Thankfully, we never had to use the code in any emergency, but the whole idea made us feel safe. It made us feel that we always had a backbone, no matter where we were, and at anytime.
Nowadays, I do the same thing with my kids, except of course with a different code.
My son knows that no one should attempt to pick him up from anywhere other than myself or his dad. If there is an emergency, and we need to send a friend to pick him up, he must ask them for the code. Even if he knows the person, he still needs to ask for the code. I explained to him that he could use the code in any context (or just plainly say the code) and I would just get him.
My friend, Betty, who is a mother of two teenage daughters, also implements the same system. If her daughters were in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation (like a date turning sketchy or peer pressure), they would just call or text a code. That way, she will get them right away. She also says that they have a whistle code for when they are outdoors. They wear whistles whenever they go to an amusement park, circus or zoo. If they got separated, they would blow their whistle in a certain way signalling that they need help. The other person would blow the whistle in the very same tune to answer that they are coming to get them. They continue to whistle until they find the person.
Last year, a father shared his clever plan of helping his kids get out of an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. Called the ‘X’ plan, this is how it goes:
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.”
“I’ll tell you when I get there. Be ready to leave in five minutes. I’m on my way.”
This is really smart because if you notice, it doesn’t require any explanation from the kid’s side. All it does, it acknowledges that the person has received this message and will come and get him. Smart right?
We use codes to access our valuables such as smartphones, bank accounts and even emails. Nothing is more valuable to a parent than one’s own children. They should not be accessible to anyone. If we assign codes to secure our valuables, then our top priority should be to secure and protect our kids.
What about you all? Do you have a system in place? Any thoughts? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts….
Photo credits: © Can Stock Photo / dolgachov