Every parent has a few things that scare them. We’re all worried about our children, particularly when they go through the troublesome teenage years. High school is an absolute whirlwind of emotions for your child, and they’re going to struggle with peer pressure. Some of their friends might start doing thigs, and they feel obliged to join in – or risk being left out and called names.
Smoking is amongst the many things that teenagers like to do. I’m not entirely sure why – the more I think about it, the less sense it makes. Many years ago, you could use the excuse that teenagers didn’t know the dangers of smoking. Nowadays, there’s no excuse! It’s a ‘coolness’ thing, in my opinion, kids think it’s ‘cool’ to smoke, so they do it.
Needless to say, one of your main fears is that your child starts smoking. It’s every parent’s nightmare, as you know the harm it will do to them. But, how do you approach them about this subject? You don’t want to seem like a controlling parent, but you also don’t want to sit back and watch them ruin their life.
In my opinion, this is a topic that needs to be discussed. So, here are a few ways you should approach the subject, along with some tips on how to tell if your child has started smoking:
Talk about the health dangers
Primarily, smoking is a health problem. I could go on all day about the dangers of smoking, and the severe health consequences it creates. As a child, I was warned about the hazardous effects of smoking from a young age, and it put me off for life. You don’t have to go through every single health concern with your kids, but make sure they know the key facts about smoking.
For example, it is proven to increase your chances of lung cancer. Even if you quit smoking, you will have a higher chance of getting lung cancer than regular people. Also, talk about how it increases the chances of cardiac arrest and other heart problems. If you have any examples of people who have suffered at the hands of smoking, then tell your kids about them. It’s pretty sad, but most of you might know someone or have a family member that was either seriously ill or died thanks to their smoking habits.
It sounds like a harsh thing to tell your kids, but it’s the best way to let them know what can happen if they start smoking. Talk about the addictive properties too – they might think that one cigarette every few days is fine, but let them know how this can quickly become an addiction that leads to multiple cigarettes every day.
Tell them about the alternatives
The thing about teenagers is that they love to go against the grain and do the opposite of what you tell them. Sometimes, even if you talk about the health dangers, they’ll see it as almost a challenge. So, they take up smoking anyway, thinking it’s twice as cool because you don’t want them to do it.
With that in mind, it’s good to talk to them about alternatives – like vaping and e-cigarettes. Both of these things are healthier alternatives as they don’t include tobacco or harmful chemicals. They’re also not as addictive, but they do have a similar feel to smoking. In this regard, your kids may still find it ‘cool’, but they can essentially ‘smoke’ without all the health dangers. If you suspect your child has taken up smoking, then think about looking for a vape mod sale online to buy them a product that could help them quit. Talk to them about the benefits of vaping compared to smoking, and it can encourage them to stay away from tobacco cigarettes.
Obviously, the ideal solution is that they don’t do either of these things. Vaping isn’t as dangerous as smoking, but it’s still not 100% healthy. However, if you had to choose between the two, then try and encourage your kids to vape if they’ve started smoking or are on the verge of giving in to peer pressure.
Teach them to not give in to peer pressure
Most of the time, your kids don’t actually want to smoke. But, they do it because of peer pressure and the fear of being left out. So, it’s beneficial to approach this topic and talk about peer pressure with them. Let them know that their friends will eventually stop pestering them if they’re firm about saying no. At worst, there could be a couple of weeks of awkwardness, but it will soon subside as they realise you’re not going to start smoking.
Also, tell them that any good friends won’t force you to do anything. If they stop being friends with them because they refuse to smoke, then your children shouldn’t want these friends anyway! No child likes hearing this as it feels like the friends they have in high school are going to be their friends for life.
Sometimes, they just need someone to explain that they’re peer pressured into things and that they can say no to their friends. They should think it over and realise that real friends will eventually not be bothered by their decision.
Signs that your teenager is smoking
Ideally, you will have the smoking talk with your kids before they get roped into trying it. However, you don’t always have that luxury. If you think your child has started smoking, then you should act fast to talk to them about the dangers, the alternatives, and how they can quit.
With that in mind, look out for these signs that your teenager is smoking:
- Their clothes smell of smoke
- You spot a lighter in their room
- They’ve started coughing more and more
- Their breath starts smelling bad
- They keep getting the cold or flu more often than usual
- They seem out of breath more frequently after short bursts of activity
- They act suspicious and go out on their own without telling you where they’re going
- Their teeth are stained and turning yellow
Smoking is a topic you need to talk to your children about. You may feel like you’re a harsh parent, but the fact is that we’re talking about their health. Smoking kills, so you can’t stand by and let your teenager fall victim to this horrible habit.