Featured in Pre-Teens & Teens
The peer pressure for smoking can be an issue that many teens and pre-teens may encounter, and unfortunately may succumb to. When a parent finds out his or her teen is smoking, it may be a parent’s first reaction to lose their temper but sometimes this can have an unwanted response in teens.
Methods of Discipline
There are many different methods of discipline that parents may use to deal with their teen’s smoking. It can be very easy to fly off the handle and ground your teen and make threats. It can be hard to not resort to this behavior and instead deal with the issue in a rational and calm manner.
1. One strategy is to sit down and talk to your pre-teen/teen. Really listen to what he or she tells you and remain relaxed so that tensions don’t escalate.
2. Try approaching the issue of smoking as a health concern, instead of focusing on smoking as bad behavior. If you object to smoking as bad behavior, you may make smoking more appealing, whereas discussing the health consequences of smoking is less objectionable. When discussing the health consequences, do not focus on the health concerns that could happen twenty or more years down the road but instead focus on short-term consequences like shortness of breath, lowered athletic ability, bad breath, stained teeth and so on.
3. Bring up the issue of the costly habit of smoking. Sit down and add up all the costs (including possible health costs) over the next year, 5 years and 10 years. Show your teen what could be bought with all of that money.
4. Regardless of how the discussions go, be sure to let your teen know that you are against smoking. Even if you don’t think your teen is listening to you, your disapproval may influence their decision as to whether to smoke the next time they are considering lighting up. If you keep repeating your disapproval for the behavior, it may eventually have some impact.
5. If these discussions do not help your teen to see why smoking is a bad habit, imposing other consequences might be necessary. Such consequences might be to limit your teen’s spending, imposing strict curfews and limiting access to certain friends (ie those who smoke).
Helping your child cope
Helping your teen or pre-teen cope with smoking may be difficult at first, especially if he or she is addicted to nicotine. This situation becomes even more complicated if one or both of the parents smoke. Children often model their parent’s behavior so if you smoke, it is more likely that your child will. Make a strong effort to quit smoking and be up front with your teen about why you are quitting. Perhaps even make a pact to quit smoking together.
Demonstrate understanding to towards your teen about smoking. Teens and pre-teens face many challenges every day and acknowledge these challenges with your teen. Show your teen that you understand the peer pressure he or she faces and tell them it is ok to say no to something that he or she doesn’t want to do. Be there to support your teen’s decisions. It may be very hard for him or her to quit smoking when they face the pressure every day.