Finding out your child has been smoking cigarettes is a frightening experience. It will cause frustration, confusion, and even make you question your parenting skills.
However, it’s important to take a step back and logically handle this situation without overreacting. In general, the average parent will not handle this the right way and is going to worsen the situation. To avoid doing this, here’s a detailed look at what should happen when you’re presented with the unpleasant news that your child has been smoking.
Initiate the conversation
It’s important to start speaking to your child about smoking.
Too many parents adopt an accusatory tone and begin yelling without listening to their child. Yes, it may seem therapeutic to yell and scream but that’s not going to improve the situation!
The goal should be to sit down with your child and begin mapping a strategy to help them quit. Each child is going to provide different reasons for why they smoke (i.e. peer pressure, makes them feel cool), which is why it’s important to listen first. Take the time to learn more about your child and what is bothering them.
This can easily shed light on the root cause of their smoking habit. In a lot of cases, smoking is a reaction to something else that’s going on in their lives. This is why you want to listen to what they have to say, highlight the side effects of smoking, and then begin to map out a strategy to ween them off of cigarettes.
Don’t accuse them
This is one of the worst things a parent can do because it won’t work.
Let’s imagine you start yelling and screaming at your child without listening. What do you think is going to happen? Will they stop smoking? Will they steer clear of those peer-pressuring them into buying cigarettes?
No, they won’t!
The only thing that’s going to happen is, they will learn to hide it better next time.
Instead of accusing them and completely tarnishing the relationship, you have to be logical with your approach. This is why speaking to them and highlighting the side effects is a wonderful starting point.
Illustrate the side effects
Listing the side effects is great because it sheds light on what the cigarette is doing to their body. The average child won’t know about these side effects and will assume the issues won’t ruin their body because they’re young.
To educate your child, it’s never a bad idea to turn on the computer and start showing videos of the side effects. Those graphic descriptions and images can be a great way to get through to your child.
They will start to learn more about what happens to their lungs and other organs due to smoking.
Share your experiences
Do you have personal experiences with smoking?
Well, this is a great time to share them with your child! One of the best ways to get through to your child is to show them your vulnerabilities. In some cases, you may have dabbled with smoking in the past and learned it wasn’t good for you. If so, why not share this information with your child and show them what you went through?
You can even share experiences that happened around you (i.e. best friends, family members) that showed the negatives of smoking. This information can be useful while pushing your kid away from smoking cigarettes.
Control their allowance
While providing advice and information is great, you still have to take action.
This is why controlling their allowance is a wonderful starting point. This is going to make it harder for them to fund their smoking habit. Of course, they can still get their hands on a pack of cigarettes by asking their friends but the goal is to make things challenging. A young smoker may not try as hard when these types of hurdles get in their way.
Continue to map out a strategy with your child to figure out what will help them quit.
When you first learn that your teen is smoking, you mind may race toward all the myriad of ways to stop smoking such as cannabidiol pre-rolls, vaping and medicines but this is not what you need to focus on. The important thing is the relationship you have with your child and this a great opportunity to strengthen that bond while teaching the child more about what they’re doing wrong.
If you’ve just discovered your child has been smoking, we hope the advice mentioned here will help give you the tools you need to navigate past this all too common parenting challenge.