A lot of people start smoking in their early teens. There can be several reasons behind it; stress, peer pressure and desire to look “cool” are among the most common. Whether you just caught your teen smoking, or you want to prevent the situation from arising, I hope this article can give you some insights on how to deal with the problem. This is often a very tricky subject to address and one which is particularly scary for any parent. The most significant way to handle such situations is by educating our children on the dangers of smoking.
Today, mostly all schools make an effort of teaching children that smoking is both harmful and addictive, yet a lot of times the message isn't heard well enough. With the current media telling us that everything is a potential health concern, some teens draw conclusion that it's just another tactic to scare them. Sadly this isn't the case and a great number of teens are taking up smoking on a regular basis.
Prevention is the best cure.
What we can do as parents is to provide excellent education to our kids on why smoking is injurious for them. It is recommended to approach them in a firm and a loving way. From a young age, we should start telling our children to 'never smoke'. But just telling them without giving them good reasons is more likely to fall on deaf ears.
Smoking is the most obvious reason for early deaths in the Western world. It can result in various diseases such as lung cancer, heart diseases, strokes, etc. Try sitting down with your kid and looking at websites such as the CDC website. There's a lot of information out there: make sure your child reads and understands it. Explain them that smoking is profoundly addictive and that as a smoker you are more likely to die young. Keep in mind to reinforce these thoughts from an early age. Make sure they are making the right decisions about leading a healthy life.
Let's say you caught your teen smoking? Regardless of the parents' best efforts, some teens do decide to try smoking. In such situations, parents should remain calm, sit down and talk to their child.
Try to figure out why they started smoking and if it is a onetime thing or they have been hiding it for a while. See it from their perspective. May be they were stressed about school or any other reason. Then make them see it from your perspective. You want your child to know that you are there to help and love them, but make sure they know that you are disappointed and angry. However, it is totally your discretion on how to punish your child. I suggest by taking something away from them that they value the most such as the gaming device, money or grounding them. There isn't just one way to deal with this, think of a solution that works for you as a family. Consult a professional if you feel the problem is getting serious. A health care advisor is well equipped to handle such situations and may help your child in quitting smoking.