The eXit strategy is a pre-planned strategy that gives teens a way out of uncomfortable or unsafe situations without the fear of being made fun of for wanting to leave.
So what’s the plan?
If a teen is at a friend’s house, a party, or anywhere else, and wisely decides, for whatever reason, that she needs to not be there anymore, this prearranged agreement can help her exit the uncomfortable situation. When the teen realizes she needs to leave, she sends a text with a pre-planned code to a parent or trusted adult. This can be one word, number, or even just one letter (example: X).
When the parent or adult receives the “code word” text, they immediately call the teen and tell them there is an emergency at home and that the teen either needs to come home now or the adult will come get her right now.
Once the teen is safe at home, the parent or adult allows the teen some time to think over the situation. After a period of time, such as the next morning, the adult and teen sit down together to discuss the situation calmly. They discuss what happened, the teen’s good decision to leave the uncomfortable situation, and how to make good choices in the future.
And how does the plan work?
In order for this strategy to be effective, both you and the teen must commit to stick to the plan. When you and the teen discuss this strategy beforehand, you both must make agreements:
Parent/Adult Agrees To:
- Quickly call teen back with “emergency”
- Don’t ask questions on the phone
- Be calm when you pick them up or when they arrive home
- Validate the teen’s decision to use the exit strategy and text an adult
- Give teen time to think about situation and be ready to listen calmly during discussion
Teen Agrees To:
- Text adult as soon as you feel uncomfortable
- Answer your phone when they call back
- Listen and be honest during discussion
- Think about ways to better handle or avoid similar situations in the future
For a printable version of this, check out the Resources page.