A parent shared their kid's secret code to covertly let them know about risky situations that they need to get out of.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 8, 2023. It has since been updated.
Today's world can be a dangerous place for a child. As parents, it is natural to worry about your child's safety and protection. If such a situation arises, children need to be able to communicate with their parents clearly but discreetly, employing secret signals or messages to alert them silently about the potential danger they face.
A Reddit user, u/jtboe79, shared a post addressing this subject in the r/Parenting forum where it gained significant attention as individuals commended the author for their ingenious approach to ensuring their child's safety in social situations without raising eyebrows. The post now has 8.2K upvotes on the platform and is titled, "My kid just texted me," with a hot-dog emoji at the end.
In the post, the author writes about how the emoji is essentially "code" for when their child wants to return home without alerting their companions that they are uncomfortable. The parent explained how the signal works: "It’s code for I want to come home, but I want it to be your fault. Any random emoji when we're not texting each other will work." The post then details how the boy sent them a hot dog emoji after they had decided to go to sleep.
Upon receiving the message, the individual called their son up and as per their unspoken agreement, asked him to return home on the premise of punishing him for not unloading the dishwasher the previous day. The call ends with the parent saying, "I'll be there in five minutes, have your stuff gathered up." They explained that they then went to pick up the boy and gently inquired why he felt the need to leave abruptly.
The boy replied that his friend's grandfather was making him feel "uncomfortable." However, he did not know how to present this concern to his friend, who might get offended, so he resorted to calling his parent to get out without creating a scene. The boy, however, did not disclose what exactly his friend's grandfather did that made him uncomfortable, only that he was acting strangely.
The author added that they would talk to their son about it the next day and expressed relief that the boy remembered their code language. They end the post by highlighting how parents could use something similar to communicate with their kids for emergencies and when they need to be escorted to safety. Such a code would especially be useful in scenarios where the child cannot talk openly, as doing so might cause a scene.
Many individuals who saw the post shared their own secret messaging tricks within their families. u/titorr115 commented, "Thank you for sharing. While I'm sorry that he was in an uncomfortable situation in the first place, I'm so glad that 1) You had a system in place beforehand and 2) He used his Spidey sense to tell him that it was time to get up out of that situation. Smart kid! My daughter is nine and we've told her that if she ever feels uncomfortable, she can say that she isn't feeling well and we will come to get her."
u/lsp2005 wrote, "I am so glad your child can rely on you. I have told mine that I am always willing to be the bad guy for them. If they need to blame me to get out of a situation do so before things go sideways. It is really important to learn to listen and trust your gut. My kids' best friends also know they can blame me and I will pick them up as well. One of them used it and I got them. Their parents were very thankful."