In a recent online conversation, parents discuss their children’s emergency text codes, prompted by a post on Reddit where a mother shared her child’s unique method of communicating their need for assistance by sending a hot dog emoji. The post resonated with other mothers, who chimed in with their own stories and expressed approval of the practice, highlighting the importance of establishing effective communication channels with their children.
Parents and adolescents frequently trade a rich trove of private jokes and slang terms that only the two groups of people understand. Therefore, some families have taken advantage of this to their benefit by establishing standard emojis and phrases that a teen can use if they are ever in a situation in which they require the assistance of the parent in order to get out of it and they want to maintain their discretion. One parent on Reddit explained the process in detail, writing in the Parenting subreddit that their child just sent them a text message with a hot dog emoji, which is a code for the message “Please make it so that my desire to return home is entirely your fault.” Another parent on Reddit provided a similar explanation.
The original author (OP) of the message stated, “any random emoji when we’re not texting each other will work.” This was written under the user handle u/jtboe79.
The statement went on to say, “Because I had already gone to bed when I received this text message, my initial reaction was one of concern because he was scheduled to spend the night with a friend. I gave him a call and explained that he would no longer be allowed to spend the night at my place because he had failed to unload the dishwasher before he left. Have all of your belongings organized since I’ll be there in just a few minutes.”
As soon as the young person got into the vehicle, the OP inquired about what was going on. “He thanked me for getting him out of there and admitted he didn’t know how to tell the friend he wanted to leave.” commented u/jtboe79 on reddit. “He felt uneasy with his friend’s grandpa, but he didn’t know how to express his discomfort to his friend.”
The OP continued by saying that they would chat further about the reasons why he felt awkward the next day. The user u/jtboe79 wrote on reddit: “But for tonight, I will be thankful that he recalled I would attend if he utilized emoji.” They said they wanted to “put it out there in case anyone needs ideas on how to get their children out of situations when they feel unable to talk.”
Other parents on Reddit expressed their approval of the teen’s action. Commenter u/Mannings4head revealed that in their household, they’d coined the phrase “Is grandpa okay?” to express their concern for an elderly relative. “They call their grandpa Pop-Pop so there is no confusion on our end, and asking about the health of a grandparent is normal enough that it wouldn’t be suspicious if another kid saw the text,” they pointed out. “They ask about the health of a grandparent on a regular enough basis that it wouldn’t be suspicious if another kid saw the text.”
Commenter u/getyourownthememusic shared their thoughts on the topic as follows: “Even though I didn’t get a cell phone until I was in high school, the code I used to use with my parents was to call them and ask, “Did you feed the fish?” I didn’t get a cell phone until I was in high school. There was never a fish in our house, and my parents were quite good at making excuses for why I needed to be picked up immediately. It is of the utmost significance to implement a system like that with one’s children.”
And u/joyluster revealed that the secret message their 13-year-old sends to them through text is, “I left something upstairs; can you get it for me?” They made the observation that “Our home does not have two stories.” “Therefore, my son and I are aware that if he sends me this while he is out, I will rush over to fetch him as soon as possible. This was something that helped me traverse the teenage years, especially with regard to my anxieties. I am grateful for its assistance.”
Some parents have even passed down a secret password from generation to generation. u/atelopuslimosus, a commenter, explained it like this: “The parents of my wife’s cousins have a beautiful tradition, which will be carried down to our child in the form of the fictitious sibling Phyllis. This tradition was passed down from my wife’s parents. It was as simple as my wife or one of her siblings picking up the phone and asking for Phyllis. The parents would pick them up without any questions being asked.”
In addition, parents who had not yet created a code word or phrase with their children reported that the thread provided them with ideas for such a term or phrase to use. According to what u/marsmither wrote, “This is fantastic. I am grateful that you shared this, and I will try to keep it in mind when my children are old enough to benefit from it. Genius. And I just wanted to say congratulations on having such a wonderful, trustworthy, and open relationship with your son. That is a genuinely precious moment, and it is the kind of time I hope to share with my child.”
Thanks to the original poster for providing this helpful tip. A good number of parents and their children will feel safer if they have their own emoji, code, or phrase that they can use in an emergency.
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