Each age category carries with it a minefield of worries for us parents, and the ‘tween’ period raises one important topic: cigarettes.
We all know the health problems caused by smoking, and yet many of us still continue to experiment and develop a bad habit – leading many to question what chance our children have.
Well, there are many practical steps we can take to ensure our children stay away from cigarettes; here are just a few:
1. Set a good example
If you’re ready to really commit, then don’t smoke yourself – that is the strongest statement to make.
2. If you’re a smoker, don’t do it around them
No matter how hard we try, there are some of us who just can’t kick the habit. Don’t berate yourself over it, but do your very best not to smoke around your child – good example aside, the second-hand smoke is too damaging to their health.
3. Have an honest talk about the health implications
Once they hear about the health implications – chiefly heart and lung problems – they will question why anyone would ever smoke. Don’t frighten them, but don’t hold back, either.
4. Bust the ‘peer pressure’ aspect
Many of us started smoking to look ‘cool’ in front of our friends, so target the peer pressure element with an open and honest discussion. Assure your child that they don’t need to follow the crowd, and advise them to approach you or another trusted adult if they find themselves in a tricky social situation.
5. Discuss the pros and cons
They will soon find that that list is pretty one-sided! Keep going with as many cons as you can, then discuss each one and how it would affect their life.
6. Promote a love of exercise
Exercise is so important for everyone but especially our children, as their bodies are still developing. As many of us have come to realise, smoking can seriously impact our performance in certain sports or physical activities. Encouraging a love of exercise in your child is not only vital for their health and development, but it will turn them right off smoking.
7. Implement a ‘no smoking’ rule in your house
Imposing strict rules isn’t the best approach with anything in the home – as soon as kids know something is wrong, they just want to try it! However, it’s important that you share your own stance and let your feelings be known, standing as a kind of moral compass when they get confused or struck.