Teen smoking has been a big concern not only for parents but for the government as well. After all, they are more likely to become adult smokers.
But as parents, how do we help our kids quit smoking?
Walk the talk. There is no best way to tell your kids not to smoke than setting yourself as a good example. As parents, you have the greatest influence in your teen’s life. If you’re a smoker – you don’t expect them to quit smoking, regardless how many times you tell them to stop smoking. Instead, try to quit smoking first, you can ask your doctor about smoking cessation aids to help you quit.
Meanwhile, avoid smoking around your home, in your car, or in the presence of your kids. Remove or discard all cigarettes and anything that is related to smoking.
Communicate with your teens. Threats, ultimatums, and commands are less likely to work. It will only draw them farther from you. Simply tell them to quit – try to be curious but supportive. Find out the reasons why they started smoking. Are they simply trying to fit in school, or is it an attempt to look cool or more matured? This will determine your next actions.
Talk in a language your teens can easily understand. You know that smoking can cause cancer, stroke, heart attack and other feared smoking-related illnesses. But, as of the moment, these are not your kid’s concern. Instead of giving a long and boring lecture on the long-term effects of smoking, ask them of what they think or consider the negative effects of cigarette smoking. Once they have given their views, try to offer your own list but appeal to their vanity.
- Bad breath,
- Stinky clothes and hair,
- Stained teeth and fingernails,
- Hacking cough, and
- Low energy.
Also, smoking is expensive. Encourage them to compute the money they spend for smoking on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Make a comparison of the cost of smoking with clothes, cellphones, other electronic devices, or other items they find important.
Device a plan together. Teens get easily addicted and contrary to their common beliefs – they can’t quit smoking that easy.
During your conversation with your teens, try to discover if they have a friend or if they know of someone who tried to quit smoking. Take into consideration the factors that contributed to their success or failure. Ask them which smoking cessation technique they think would be most helpful for them. Offer your ideas too.
Remain supportive. Be there. If your teen relapses, encourage him to continue with the quit plan and try to help him or her identify their pit falls and work on it together. Always be there to support them. Also, appreciate and celebrate every successful effort or progress they make.
As parents it is important for us to keep our children away from bad influences. It is not only our responsibility to guide them to become responsible citizens but it is also our responsibility to ensure their well-being.