Teenagers are at that stage where they are most impressionable and prone to peer influence and pressure. They want to fit in. And if they see smoking as a way to do that, they would try it without a second thought. Unless you are a teacher who works at the same school your teen goes to, you cannot really keep an eye on him at all times and see what he’s up to. Even if you are, you cannot latch yourself onto your teen all the time since you also have things to do. If you are like most parents who only want the best for their child in terms of health and wellbeing, you probably want to prevent and stop your teen from smoking. Here’s how you can do it without resorting to nagging like a broken record:
1.Get proof before moving in on your kid.
As weird as it sounds, your teen may keep his smoking from you due to respect. Accusing him outright of smoking will only make him more secretive – who knows what other jinks he could get himself into? The best way to broach the topic is to get some proof. His clothes are likely to smell of smoke. You can also search for proof in his room under the pretext of cleaning up. Lighters and cigarettes are proof enough that he smokes. Do not be bothered about privacy issues, it’s your house; you pay the mortgage. Besides, his health is of higher value than privacy. If you get wind of a party and your kid goes, you can pass by the house and see if he’s smoking.
2.Set aside personal talk time with your teen.
Do not make the mistake of berating your teen in public. He’s more likely to be defensive and walk away. Set a time and date for both of you to talk. While it’s better if you talk at home, you can also set your talk at a place that’s special for both of you. Do not ask him if he smokes; both of you already know the answer to that. Tell him that you know about his smoking; that you saw him at the party, smelled his clothes, or found that pack and lighter in his room. Proceed to tell him that you want him to quit and that you’ll help him. Be firm but kind in getting his commitment.
3.Schedule a doctor visit.
You can cite statistics of smoking-related deaths or diseases, but your teen may dismiss these. He’s at that stage where he thinks that nothing bad is going to happen to him or is happening to him. For both of your benefits, schedule a visit to your family doctor. He or she is more equipped at handling issues of teen smoking and can competently explain to your teen the possible consequences of his actions. If your teen has been smoking for a several months or years, quitting the habit may not be easy. Talk to the doctor for possible smoking cessation aids that your teen may use.
4.Show your teen encouragement and support.
Simple things like reminding your teen to take his anti-smoking meds, watching his game, or attending his recital will show him that he has you on his side. Build your teen’s confidence by a show of encouragement and support. A confident teen is less likely to succumb to peer pressure about smoking.
5.Reiterate your trust in your teen.
Do not let teen smoking get in the way of your relationship with your kid. Everybody commits mistakes, so now it’s time for both of you to move on. Do not remind him often of his smoking. Instead, show him that you trust him to make the right choices this time around. If you are a smoker, now is the best time to quit. Nothing is better than leading by example.