I Found My Kid’s Cigarettes, What To Do Next?
Unfortunately experimenting with cigarettes is common among children as young as 11 years old. Just because it is common does not make it right, but it is important to know that other parents are going through the same situation you are. Smoking is so prevalent in our society that there is no way to keep your child from being exposed to either direct cigarette smoking or from seeing it on television. As a parent you want to keep your child safe and healthy and finding out they are smoking may cause you to worry, but don’t get too excited or upset it is important to talk to your child and find out why they decided to try smoking. Yelling at your child or punishing them without talking to them will do little to curb their smoking habit it may cause them to increase their use or move on to other forbidden vices like alcohol or drugs. If you find out that your child is smoking cigarettes it is important to find out why and below are a list of some of the reasons children begin smoking:
“My friends smoke.”
One of the most common reasons children experiment with smoking is that their friends smoke. Peer pressure can have a lot do to with why children experiment with habits they know are not acceptable to their parents or may be bad for their health. Teaching your child, it is alright to say “no” is a life lesson that will serve them well. It is important that they know they can say no and if their friend does not want to hang with them anymore, then they were not a friend in the first place.
“It looks cool.”
Children are exposed to cigarette smoking by seeing older kids they look up to doing it or seeing their favorite stars on television smoking, and although they know it is bad for them and unacceptable in their household, they may try it anyway. While in their minds smoking makes them look older and “cool” it is important as a parent to discuss with them why it is not “cool” and how they look when they are smoking.
“Its to lose weight.”
Some children will begin smoking because nicotine is an appetite suppressant and they think it will help them lose weight. It is first important to address the main issue which is your child’s self-esteem and how they view themselves. If the child needs to lose weight, then it is important to discuss with them proper and healthy ways to lose weight as well as how addictive cigarette smoking can be and how it can adversely affect their health.
“I plan on quitting”
If your child’s response is “I plan on quitting” then you know they are smoking, and it is important to talk to them about the damaging effects smoking can have on their health and encourage them to stop smoking. While you may be disappointed or upset that your child is smoking it is important to be positive and encourage and help them quit smoking instead of yelling at them or punishing them. You want to send the right message of encouragement and help them instead of just making them angry and causing them to rebel.
“I don’t smoke.”
If you confront your child and they tell you they do not smoke it is important to believe them and then discuss with them why you were worried they are were smoking. If you want your child to be honest with you, you need to be honest with them. Let them know what your rules are regarding smoking and what the consequences will be if they choose to smoke.