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How do I tactfully ask/demand this....?

My fiance and I are raising his daughter. Her real mom gets her 2 or 3 times a month, for a few hours. I hate sending her there, cuz she really doesn't know how to care for a child. But, she's trying to make some changes, so we're trying to give here the room to do so. She got a bigger apartment, so Willow will have her own room. I think she's wanting her to start spending the night, once in a while.
QUESTION- How do I ask (or rather, DEMAND) that she and her boyfriend don't smoke in the house AT ALL? Even when the kiddo isn't there. Even the residue left from old smoke irritates her skin and her sensitive little system. They don't seem to understand this. They think its fine as long as they don't smoke in front of her.
Tomorrow is the first time Willow's going to their new place. I'm sending over a bag of toys and some blankets and stuff. Should I use that as incentive? "I'll send stuff over if you dont smoke there!" LOL.

 
mama_moonsong

Asked by mama_moonsong at 10:12 AM on Apr. 13, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (30)
  • oh wow I have no idea. Though I know it's bad, esp since it's visibly hurting her, I don't know if you can do anything. It's so hard since they shouldn't but at the same time it's their place and they are grown adults and to be told that they cannot smoke in their own home, esp by you, will seem disrespectful to them even though it is not. Sending over her own stuff is a GREAT idea, because the stuff they have may smell like smoke anyway. I let my mom babysit my son once and he came home smelling like smoke, his whole diaper bag, clothes, blankets I sent because I knew all of her stuff smelled. I had to wash everything and now I can't let him go over there anymore because of it and it breaks my heart because I love my mom to death and I don't know how to tell her. I can't and wont tell her to quit smoking in her home though, it's already bad so it would be pointless. Well good luck! I hope you've gotten some great advice.
    thisloveofmine

    Answer by thisloveofmine at 12:35 PM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • i really dont think u can,. thats between her and ur fiance. she might think u r tryin to intrude and get angry. talk to ur df about it and have him talk to her about it. but not in an angry way. let her know u respect her for makin changes but the smoking is just unhealthy...
    xhellxfirex495

    Answer by xhellxfirex495 at 10:15 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • Thats a hard thing to do. I completely agree with you that it should be done, but it is hard to do. Maybe talk to her about the risks of it, sounds like she may not know how harmful it really is. You can definitely demand that she not smoke inside while she is there, but to ask her not to when she isnt there, how are you going to monitor that? Maybe suggest that she not smoke at all in rooms where Willow will be in, like the living room, and especially her bedroom. Maybe buy her an air purifier for her room when she is there. I would try taking with her about it though, asking if she knows how harmful it can be, instead of just saying hey dont do it (although I know I would be biting my tongue if it were me too) but that may be the best way and for it to get your popint across better that you want what's best for Willow and not just trying to fight with her.
    AK_aries

    Answer by AK_aries at 10:18 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • oh, i guess i meant "how do WE ask this".
    he doesn't know how to approach the situation either.
    im afraid there's just no way to mention it without sounding condescending. i dont want to her to feel like we're attacking her about it. i wish she was just smart enough to know better!
    biiiig wishful thinking there.
    mama_moonsong

    Answer by mama_moonsong at 10:18 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • As a stepmother, I can tell you, there is nothing you can do. Your fiance can talk to her, but that is about it. We are in a very similar situation. My stepson is much more my son that hers to be honest. She is really flaky and admits to him that when she has a behavior/discipline problem with him, she is going to bring it to me. I hate that he goes over to her house too because of multiple reasons. But as she is still in this one, I think you need to step back and ask your fiance to handle this one. Perhaps he can find some actual reports regarding second hand smoke and the fact that it does linger. I know it sucks watching your baby go to someone that you don't deem competent, but she has more right to that child than you do. I know exactly what you are fighting, and it can get easier. But until things are more stable in the whole situation, things will only get worse if she thinks you are interfering.
    Mom1Stepmom1

    Answer by Mom1Stepmom1 at 10:20 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • Sorry, but you don't have the right to ask or especially demand anything they do in their own home. Your fiance could say something to her, but it's her apartment and she can do as she sees fit.

    If you're sending stuff over, that's great!! But if you do so, it's in really poor taste to attach such a "string" to you helping them out.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:20 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • maybe if you told them the doctor reccommended that she not be around smoke...say she has allergies or something would be the only way you could even do it.
    busymamma503

    Answer by busymamma503 at 10:24 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • My recommendation would be to casually broach the subject with her. (Sorry, while I was typing your response about WE came up and I didn't see it until after I posted). Does she have any allergies or sensitive skin documented by a physician? I know that sounds extreme, but a friend of mine did this with her ex husband. Her daughter was allergic to dogs, but her ex husband had 3 violent dogs. It wasn't really the allergy she was concerned about, but more the nature of the dogs. She had her doctor write out a list of recommendations and avoiding prolonged contact with dogs on there. She gave it to her ex and he got rid of those dogs and got a short haired small dog. There was still a dog, but at least she felt her daughter was safer there. Maybe say something like, "So you smoke in the new house? I know a lot of people when they get a new house or car say no more smoking inside the car/house."
    Mom1Stepmom1

    Answer by Mom1Stepmom1 at 10:26 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • You wouldn’t just sound condescending, you would be condescending. It’s not illegal, and thousands of great parents smoke in the house with their kids. There is nothing you can do.
    Bear777

    Answer by Bear777 at 10:29 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • You say it irritates her skin and her sensitive system. Is this from a dr, or just your observations? If it's just your observations, there really isn't much you can do; you can't literally force someone to do what you want in their own home. If it's from a dr (claim it is; take her to the dr), that gives you more leverage. She may be more willing to accomodate if she thinks a dr has said that smoke is harming the child. If it comes from a dr, you can also get them to give you a written statement that you could then, if it came to it, take to court and request that a judge order that they not smoke indoors as it harms the child. Otherwise, you can't really do anything. As much as you hate it, and it's not fair to the child to have to breathe it, you can't make them stop smoking in their home.
    tropicalmama

    Answer by tropicalmama at 10:31 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

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