It"s Never Too Late To Talk To Your Kids About Smoking

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As parents, you strive to instill core values into the hearts and minds of your children each and every day.
You communicate as effectively as possible, practicing various techniques you have read about in books and picked up from other parents.
From the very beginning, you draw the line between right from wrong.
But what happens when you find that your child has disregarded those specific "dos" and "don'ts" you have repeated at the dinner table and during car rides to and from school? For example, what might you do if you discovered not only had your child tried a cigarette, but they were on their way to becoming a serious smoker? The disappointment, feeling of helplessness, and ultimate frustration of such a finding can be overwhelming, leaving parents with the question, "What can I do now?" The most valuable response I can offer is this: remember that it's not too late.
While you always want to talk to your child while they're young, so they won't ever try their first cigarette, it doesn't mean that parents should assume that their children will become regular smokers if they find out they have made this unhealthy decision.
If you discover that your child has been smoking, take these few steps to mitigate your worry and devise a logical consequence that will encourage future healthy behavior, not rebellion.
Do The Unexpected
Listen more and talk less.
Avoid beginning the conversation with the anticipated lecture on why smoking is bad.
Let them tell you why they did not follow the direction you provided.
Be The Leader
This is the time to be a firm and caring parent.
Let your child know that although you understand that teens sometimes want to experiment with things, smoking is too risky and that it is not acceptable.
Remove The Opportunity
This is where the logical consequence of a child's smoking comes in.
If you find that your child is smoking during peak times, such as in the car or when with certain friends, remove those opportunities for a period of time to save them from the temptation.
Communicate Why
It is unwise to take action without an explanation.
Once you decide on a consequence, explain to your child how it is connected to their smoking, and how it will help them avoid the temptation in the long run.
Remind your children that you love them and that your decisions are meant to keep them safe and healthy.
End the conversation on a positive note.
Through all of these steps, remain realistic.
You may not change your child's mind overnight, but with continual guidance and support, you can help your child grow into a sensible and strong individual with the confidence to say no to tobacco use and other harmful activities.
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