Child of a smoker: how to prevent negative influences?
It’s very safe to say that smoking is regarded as one of the worst habits of the humankind nowadays. Not only is it extremely unhealthy for the smoker as it can lead to more serious diseases, it also opens the door to the possibility that their offspring will step on that train and become a smoker themselves. According to a study from a decade ago, children whose parents smoke are two times more likely to try their first cigarette between the ages 13 and 21. Why does this happen? And, if we really want our kids to have a healthier future, how is it possible for us to stop them knowing that perhaps we made the same mistakes?
The shaping years
Even though it’s practically impossible to know for sure if the tactics are going to work as you cannot control the actions of your teenager, it’s very important to start with explaining the harmful effects of smoking at an early age. The best time to do this is when your child is around the age of five – that is when they start to comprehend the environment, and thus can understand the smoking hazards. Since children start being rebellious and trying new things out at the age of 12 or 13, by that time, they will have become well aware of the consequences of smoking, and if you did a very good job explaining this to them, the wish to start smoking will be minimalized.
Experts claim that parents play a big part in the process of smoking. Namely, the children tend to follow in the steps of their role-models, most often parents. This means that the children of a smoker have higher chances to become smokers themselves, while children of non-smoking parents are less likely to develop that habit. What you, as a parent, could do is sit with your child and explain why you started smoking in the first place and how it affected you in the long run. Make sure that your children know that they can follow in your steps when positive things are concerned, and make them promise not to make the same mistakes that you did. It is crucial to make them understand why you wouldn’t light your first cigarette if you went back in time (even though this might not be the case – a good white lie here is justifiable for the sake of your children).
One of the ways to make sure (or at least try) your children don’t start smoking is by encouraging a smoke-free house. What does this mean? First of all, make sure you don’t encourage the presence of cigarette smoke in your house. In order to secure this, it would be best to find the best air purifier there is, so that the air in your house is always fresh. If you want to smoke, you can use the balcony or a similar area – this will restrict the presence of cigarette smoke in the house where your children live, you’ll always have a house that smells nice, and it could be a great opportunity for you to cut down on your cigarette intake.
However, even though you try your best to encourage a non-smoking policy in your home, there’s a high possibility that your teenager will try a cigarette only because of their friends. First of all, you have to know that this is completely normal – perhaps the first smoke is the trigger point for your child to never try a cigarette again. If the opposite happens, and you realize that your child is smoking, it’s very important to turn to other techniques. After all, teenagers are rebellious and smoking is a trend, so you have to be prepared for this scenario.
To sum up, controlling the (non) smoking life of your child is hard work, but definitely worth it. You will have to do a lot of explaining which you will have to prepare for. However, you should know that all the hard work you put into this matter is very important – you have to do what’s best for your child no matter the cost.