Hypocritical as that may sound but even smoker parents do not want their children to take up the habit of smoking. Most children start with ‘smoking just for the heck of it’ and before you know it they are well on their way to becoming chain smokers. It is precisely why people find it difficult to quit later; 85% of people who had taken up smoking at an early age never quit.
How then can you ensure that your children completely stay away from smoking?
1. Kick the habit yourself- Children grow up mimicking elders, and especially their parents. If your kid has grown up seeing you smoke pack after pack, chances are he would too, and given the circumstance you are in no position to ask him to quit or not to start smoking in the first place.
2. Instill a sense of right and wrong-Among other morals that you drill in them, try to instill a clear sense of right and wrong. Once he grasps the negative effects smoking has on a person’s health in particular and life in general, he’d think twice before picking up his first stick.
Another important thing is to teach them to choose good friends. Most children are introduced to cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs by their friends. Although you cannot completely determine the kind of friends your kids hang around with, if you have done your part and taught them to differentiate between right and wrong, chances are they are better off when alone.
3. Lead them to associate a negative image with the concept of smoking- The brain is an extremely powerful and potent tool. It has been studied if you truly make a decision with full conviction to quit smoking, you will never once go back on your decision.
In the early years itself, try to make your children associate negative images and feelings with the term smoking. Show them pictures of patients suffering from smoking-related diseases, take them to rehab centers, and make them meet people who are trying to quit smoking and would give them a detailed account of the harmful effects of smoking. Once they learn to link a negative perception with smoking, they will never even think of ‘trying’ once.
Dos and Don’ts
Do not force or threaten them to quit smoking, they would rebel and smoke all the more.
If you catch your kid smoking, do not punish or yell at them. Instead explain why it is not a good idea to smoke. And if they are addicted, make a pact with them to quit smoking together, or promise that you would gift them something they have always wanted if they remain clean for six months.
Figure out what drove them to smoking? Are they going through a rough relationship phase, are they depressed, or maybe things are not fine at school? Smoking could be a sign of stress and the cause might be severe, talk to your kid and come to a solution together.
Calculate and show them how much money they would be spending on cigarettes if they don’t quit now. If they are still persistent, tell them you will not pay for the cigarettes and cut down on their pocket money a bit. But be careful, this might backfire as a lack of money could lead them to steal or engage in other petty crime. Be vigilant and keep an eye on them.
John Madden is a reviewer of healthier alternatives to smoking for Ecigarette Reviewed He is an avid blogger, jogger, and snowboarder who credits quitting smoking to increased athletic endurance and vastly improved overall health.