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My Son and I Have A Texting Code: Any Random Emoji When We Aren’t Texting Means “I Want to Go Home”

When raising children, it is crucial to let them know that you are the number one friend they can turn to if something is wrong. Healthy communication between a parent and a child can significantly influence the growth and development of the child as a person and set their roots on the right path. Some parents have also inserted hidden messages or languages in their upbringing that they can use with their children. Sometimes little things like these can even save a life.

We came across this Reddit post and wanted to share how this parent reacted at the right time and was able to figure out what was happening immediately.

Here’s the story:

Other Redditors also had stories to share:

  • “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 9, and we’ve told her that if she ever feels uncomfortable, she can say she isn’t feeling well, and we will come to get her.” © titorr115 / Reddit
  • “It has happened to me in the past that my kids ask to go somewhere that they do actually seem to want to go, and I say ‘no’ and insist, despite their pleas, and I can tell afterward that they’re relieved (though they don’t say it to me, their actions tell me that I made the right call). Isn’t that crazy?” © Cassie0peia / Reddit
  • “My mom did the same thing. I’d call and ask if I could spend the night, and she’d say, quietly enough not to be overheard on my end, ‘Do you want to spend the night?’ ‘No, Mom, I told you I’d do it later!’ ‘You come home right now then, young lady, and we’ll talk about your attitude!’ Worked like a charm. I can’t wait to do the same for my kids.” © m0untaingoat / Reddit


  • “Teaching your kid a code to help them escape potentially dangerous situations before they escalate is something many parents don’t teach often enough. I remember the code for my family is that if we called our parents and asked for pizza, we felt uncomfortable and needed to be picked up. Still, 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, we needed someone to pick us up immediately because something wrong could potentially happen. Luckily no one’s ever had to ask for fish and chips, but it was there if we needed to use it.” © Solgatiger / Reddit
  • “I love that you have a distinction between uncomfortable and in danger in your code. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it would be reassuring for the person receiving the code to know that they are just homesick, for example, as opposed to unsafe. I’ve used codes to get out of social occasions several times and plan to implement them when the time is right. She’s only 2 ATM, though, so we’ve got a while! It’s just now occurring to me that these could be used in situations where they’re with us too, e.g., at a family gathering and feeling uncomfortable.”
    © RaisingRoses / Reddit
  • “My dad and I had our own language. I could tell him I saw a buzzard catch a bee, and he would know I needed to leave. That phrase came from the old cartoon where the buzzard was singing ’I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee,’ and meant someone was being or had done something stupid. Implying someone was being stupid told him I was uncomfortable with either a person or a situation. Now I have kids of my own. They don’t go places without my wife or me yet, but we already have a few things with more profound meaning than is evident to others. One thing is a simple thumbs up, which is my sign to the kids that they are doing good or are safe to proceed with something. I also know something is bothering them if they give me a thumbs down. And it’s time to step in or talk to them one-on-one.” © throwrabrotherdrama / Reddit


  • “My son would shoot me a quick text and say call me in 5 and tell me to come home alone. I would wait the time and call. A lot of time, thankfully, he just wanted to leave his friends. Thank god you set this up, and your kid/son can reach out.” © ratz2000 / Reddit
  • “This is a brilliant idea. I can remember growing up. I would text my mom to tell her I needed to come home if I didn’t want to be somewhere and delete it. But this is quick and easy between the 2 of you. I was always lucky never to be in a situation that made me genuinely uncomfortable that I needed to get out of, but significant parenting props to you. I have a young child and will keep note of this idea for the future. Good on you for doing this and keeping a communication line open. And I hope it was nothing serious that made your son uncomfortable!” © nikkiceelol / Reddit
  • “My mom worked a lot, but my sister and I had a similar system since I’m the eldest. She’d text me and ask me if we had York peppermint patties at home (we didn’t, all of us hate mint), and that was my cue to call her and make up a reason for her to come home. I’d tell her to pack her stuff, and then I’d get her. Providing an easy exit kept her safe more times than I could count, and I never judged why she wanted to come home. A+ idea for those who don’t use this secret phrase yet.”
    © homespunhero / Reddit
  • “We picked up our kids and their friends on more than one occasion. It was a ‘talk’ we gave them all — wherever you are, if you want to leave, call us — period. We even picked up a friend or 2 when our kids weren’t with them. I have a friend now with a sixth grader — he is about to get ‘the talk’ from me too. Kids need a safety net that won’t backfire on them socially. I love your code!”
    © Unknown author / Reddit
  • “My wife’s parents had a great system passed on with her cousins and eventually to our child — the mythical sibling ‘Phyllis.’ All my wife or her sibling had to do was call and ask for Phyllis. Parents would come and pick up, no questions asked. They liked it because it could sound like a discussion where Phyllis could come and meet them for whatever uncomfortable shenanigans were happening. The cousins are teenagers and want to change the name, but they love the idea. We’ll probably change the name to something more modern when our LO is old enough to need it.” © atelopuslimosus / Reddit
  • “My mom always did this for me!! We had a code word when people were over & I wanted them to leave too! This is so important! Today, you should emphasize how proud you are of him that he was able to trust his gut & get out of a situation that made him uncomfortable.”
    © Unknown author / Reddit

Do you and your kids have any secret codes? Feel free to tell us in the comments.

Preview photo credit jtboe79 / Reddit
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