What if you found a packet of cigarette in your daughter’s purse or in your son’s jacket? How would you feel if you caught him or her lighting up? If your child belongs to one in four high school seniors who smoke, you should do something to help them quit. You really don’t want to see your child lying on the hospital bed and struggling to fight a chronic disease in the near future.
Yes, it would have been ideal if your teen didn’t start smoking in the first place. But you can’t do anything about it now. What you CAN do is help them quit.
Here are some tips for you:
Take a breather. It is natural to feel upset, angry or worried after finding out that your child is smoking. Your initial reaction might be to confront your child and nag, yell and scream at him or her. But like all stressful situations, it isn’t the best thing to do. You want to give yourself some time to think and breathe and plan about how you are going to approach your child. Go out for a walk. This will lower your stress and anxiety levels. You want to be calm and clear as you tell you your child that you don’t want him or her to continue smoking. You are more likely to encourage them to quit if you will talk to them nicely but seriously.
Set rules and limitations. “Your house, your rules” Make it very clear for your children that you do not tolerate smoking at home. When you say no one should smoke, even you or your friends should not smoke inside your house. Dictating where smoking is not allowed is a great way to discourage your teen’s friends from smoking. While you cannot parent someone’s child, you can set limits to his or her behavior around your child. Include other areas in your limitations, like your teen’s car, in the driveway, porch, deck, and even around the neighborhood.
Provide help and support. Tell your child that you are always there to provide him or her help and support. Simply telling them to quit is not enough. If your child has been smoking for a long time now, he or she may need professional help. Remember, nicotine is an addictive drug, withdrawing from it can be very difficult.
Don’t give up. Helping your child quit smoking is not easy. Keep following up and monitoring your child. Make his or her surrounding quit-friendly by removing items that can trigger your teen to smoke. Encourage him or her to exercise or engage in a sport activity. It can greatly help your child deal with withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings.
Lastly, spend more quality time with your children. When they are able to gain love, attention and support from you and your family, they are less likely to engage in unhealthy behavior and be flown away by negative peer influence.