"What I love about this book is that it teaches parents how to trust their children, how to partner with them, protect them, and be an advocate for them...Powerful, well-written, and moving. Highly recommended."
The creator of the viral parenting concept the “X-Plan” illuminates the importance of awakening your child’s unique strength—while also taking an introspective look at your own life story to become a better parent.
Last year, father and former teacher Bert Fulks’s simple parenting idea went viral: if your teenagers find themselves in a situation where they feel uncomfortable or trapped, they can text a family member an “X.” That family member will then call, giving the teen a way out, while still maintaining their freedom—and no questions will be asked.
Now in X-Plan Parenting, Fulks expands on the how and the why behind his plan, emphasizing the importance of developing trusting relationships with our kids. Drawing on biblical principles, Fulks’s approach illuminates how even though we want the very best for our children, we sometimes parent from a place of brokenness and a desire for control rather than support and encouragement. We focus on our mistakes and painful growing up moments and the things we wish we’d had when we were kids instead of what’s best for our own children right now. This dynamic can pit kids against their parents and create rifts in the relationship.
Fulks advocates for an alliance between children and parents instead of an “us vs. them” mentality. Rather than spending so much time coaxing or battling our kids, Fulks inspires us to work with our kids instead of against them. And rather than trying to right our own past wrongs vicariously through our children, he urges us to recognize where we need healing so we can provide authentic strength to support our kids’ unique journeys.
There is a tender art to disciplining our kids, and X-Plan Parenting serves up laughter and tears, hard questions, and plenty of grace to moms and dads who want their kids to love God and lead passionate, joyful lives in an unpredictable world.
The founder of a Christian nonprofit offers an innovative plan for circumventing the typical problems in parent-child communication.
Fulks draws on his nearly 30 years of experience working with kids in order to deploy a new vision of parenting. His plan was originally based on a simple concept: If children find themselves in a situation that gives them some concern, they can text the single letter X to a designated family member. That relative then follows an agreed-upon script of telling the kids that they’re needed back at home immediately. The children get a no-strings-attached escape plan for any sketchy situation, with the agreement that they can say as much or as little about the incident later as they want. The author views this strategy as the basis of a parenting view that navigates between overcontrolling and undercontrolling kids. “Ultimately,” he writes, “our kids need to know we’re in this together.” Featuring a clear design and engaging prose, with plenty of rich autobiographical details, the book elaborates on this idea of parenting. Unlike the simple stratagem, the guide puts a great deal of emphasis on the author’s Christian faith. “Understanding Jesus’s perilous mission for your own heart,” he writes, “is crucial to what kind of parent you will become.” Fulks is appealing and straightforward when discussing his version of the Christian promise as opposed to mere church attendance: “Jesus heals the broken. Religious posturing just does further damage.” But much of the parenting advice in these pages will be helpful to readers of any denomination. The author stresses that parents must live their lives right alongside their children. “If you’re not living some kind of adventure and inviting your kids up into that world of play,” he writes, “they will go off seeking it in other places.”
A valuable, devoutly Christian, and empathy-based concept of parenting in the digital era.
Former teacher and psychologist Fulks directs a nonprofit ministry for drug-addicted youth and is a stay-at-home dad and blogger. His blog entry on the "X-plan" was discovered by K-LOVE radio station and received millions of hits from around the country. The concept, the letter X being the thing we solve for, here representing the mystery of who each child is meant to become, emerged after Fulks asked a group of young people in addiction recovery if they'd ever found themselves in uncomfortable situations but ended up sticking around because they felt they didn't have a way out. All of the teens raised their hands. Fulks then designed a plan for his own children that involves texting an "X" to a family member who will give the teen a way out with no questions asked. Fulks here covers topics such as allowing your child to fail, trusting your child, and helping your child through painful situations. Rather than providing tips, each chapter poses questions for parents to ponder, ending with "how will your kids answer these questions in thirty years?" VERDICT Christian principles guide this work, but many of the ideas, such as the "X" plan, will likely resonate with a wider audience.
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