No Tobacco Day. What to do if your child smokes?
Many people start smoking when they are teenagers. The reasons may be different: these are the peculiarities of the psychology of teenagers, the attractiveness of cigarettes in movies and TV shows, and the indiscriminate spread of this bad habit.
So how to properly conduct a dialogue with your child about smoking?
- What is your real attitude to smoking – negative or positive? If you are a smoker, you should consider quitting the habit. Otherwise, how do you convince your child of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle?
- Talk to your child about smoking. The conversations should be serious and calm. Pay attention to the harm that smoking can cause.
- Do not try to intimidate the child. Motivation based on fear is one of the most unstable. Systematic intimidation will only spoil your relationship, but it won’t prevent your kid from making unreasonable decisions.
- Don’t ignore the signs of smoking – the characteristic smell, a lighter that fell out of the pocket or a neighbor’s story. Talk to the child carefully. Explain that you are not going to scold or to punish him/her – you just want to understand.
- If a teenager confesses that he/she smokes, try to find out the most important – the reason. Was it an attempt to satisfy his curiosity or to gain the respect of his peers?
- Gently tell your child how you feel. For example, «When you tried to hide cigarettes from me, I was annoyed», «When we talked about it, I felt relieved and grateful».
- Think of a way to meet the needs that made a kid want to smoke. Respect for peers can be earned in other ways, protest can be expressed in words. Do you see signs of addictive behavior? Ask for advice from a professional psychologist.
Parents always have a choice: to combat the shortcomings of the child or to help him/her to bring up dignity. The second one is much more reliable and durable.
Calm and benevolent support will help the child to understand his needs and to learn new ways to meet them. In this way, he or she will take a significant step towards achieving personal maturity.