A Parent Reveals a Secret Code Our Kids Can Use to Leave an Uncomfortable Situation
Safety as a child can take many forms. It might mean hiding behind your mother’s legs, covering your face with her ruffled skirt, when surrounded by loud strangers. Or not complying when your grandma says, “Oh, come on, give your aunt a hug”. As toddlers mature and gain more experience, they become more aware of uneasy situations and learn how to handle them properly.
In today’s article, we explore a heartwarming story shared by a parent who reveals how their teenage kid uses a secret code to communicate the need for support and escape from uncomfortable events.
Psychologists believe having a code word can help families avoid bad situations.
One Reddit user shared that their kid was spending the night with a friend, having a classic sleepover. When out of the nowhere, the parent gets a simple, text from their son: 🌭. Yes, just the hot dog emoji and no further details. Initially, the parent had already gone to bed and seeing a text right at this time got them concerned.
The parent revealed that the hot dog emoji — or actually — any random emoji is their secret code that their kid uses when “I want to come home, but I want it to be your fault.” Just a few seconds after, being receptive to the coded message, the parent called their kid and said, “You were supposed to unload the dishwasher when you left, now you’ve lost your privilege of spending the night. I’ll pick you up in 5 minutes, have your stuff ready by then.”
Once the kid got in their parents’ car, he shared that his friends’ grandpa was making him feel uncomfortable, but he didn’t know how to let his friend know he wanted to leave. Then he thanked his parent for getting him out of there.
The parent shared their story in case anyone else would need ideas or tips on how to help kids escape situations they feel they can’t talk openly about.
The Reddit user’s story was praised by other parents, who shared their own similar experiences.
- “I love that you have this with your kid, and they feel comfortable using it. I have the same agreement with my kiddos, and it really helps them have that ’out’.” MommaG0614 / Reddit
- “My and my mom’s code was ‘red socks’. For example, I could give her a call and be like ’Forgot I needed red socks for my school event tomorrow’ and she’d be on her way. Any sentence with red socks meant come get me, call me, etc. I’m not comfortable. I’m 24 and my mom still remembers the words.” bfammerman / Reddit
- “If my kid texted me ’Can I spend the night at Kristin’s?’ it meant that she genuinely wanted to spend the night at Kristin’s. If she texted me ’Kristin wants me to spend the night,’ she wanted me to say no. It was very subtle, but this way, if Kristin happened to grab my daughter’s phone, she could read the texts and not suspect a thing.” chipdipper99 / Reddit
- “I remember the code for my family being that if we called our parents and asked for pizza, it meant that we felt uncomfortable and needed to be picked up, but we were not in imminent danger/in a situation that could escalate before we got there. If we called and asked for fish and chips, it meant that we needed someone to pick us up right away because something bad could potentially happen.” Solgatiger / Reddit
There are many reasons why using a code word can help your child be safe, especially when they’re home alone, or when a friendly man offers them a ride home, or why not — when they’re amongst unpleasant company, just like the situation we’ve shared above.