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Keeping kids from smoking.

Neither my husband nor I smoke, but most people in both our families do. My sister was visiting and she saw her smoking and then told us she was smoking her crayon :(

I would prefer to keep her from seeing it entirely, and for our own home, smokers will have to do it out of sight of the children from now on. But what about when we visit family? They live in other states, so it would be an extended stay for when we do visit, and my mom and siblings smoke in their home all the time, and last time we visited had very little respect for me trying to keep my kids from second hand smoke (they smoked in the room we were staying in any chance they got). it's THEIR home, after all, I have no right to tell them they have to smoke in the garage so my kid won't see :(

And what about strangers smoking? Obviously, my daughter is very suggestible, I worry that others are setting a bad example for her.

What do I do?


Asked by Ati_13 at 1:55 AM on Jun. 4, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 24 (21,184 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • I don't know how old your daughter is, but it sounds like she has already seen people smoke so she already has an idea what that is. As much as we would like to protect our children and keep all of the negative things in life away from them, it really is not possible to shelter them all of the time.
    So what we have to do as parents is try to be good examples/role models, and keep communication open. Let our children know our feelings/beliefs on things (like smoking) and pray that they listen and make the right choices. Talk to her about smoking. If she is still quite young you may want to keep it short and simple. Then as she gets older get into more of the health risks and downfalls to smoking.

    Answer by MizLee at 2:07 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • As she gets older explain the risks. Black lungs, less air for exercise. Give her facts later on (i.e. I did a persuasive speech once and I think it;s either over 3000 or 5000 different chemicals that are inhaled from one puff on a cigarette), emphasize the cost issue, etc. My child heard my dad hacking and asked about it, and I told him, it was from smoking for many years before finally quitting, so that was a good real-life example (sadly through my father's bad health) to show him how badly it can affect a person.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:53 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • As bad as it sounds, she will do whatever she wants when it comes to smoking when she gets older. High school will influence her SO much. Everyone goes through their stages

    Answer by campbellb3421 at 1:59 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • *sigh*... I know. I hate it. And I worry because I was such a good teenager... I won't even be able to say "I've been there" if she's a bad one lol.

    Comment by Ati_13 (original poster) at 2:00 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • trying to keep it from her may backfire as well

    Answer by sophistcatdfury at 2:14 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • You can not protect your daughter from seeing smoking, you might wish you could but if your realistic you cant. I would explain to your daughter age appropriately your beliefs on smoking and why you dont do it etc. Other people are not supposed to be examples for your children, you are, and how you instill values in them, they will see plenty of things growing up that you dont approve of, but you have to arm them for that instead of trying to sheild it from it and they need to know that its not acceptable in your home. When it comes to your relatives your right you can not tell your relatives when and where to smoke in their own house, but you can stay elsewhere, get a hotel or whatever it takes, because I can totally understand you not wanting to stay in a smoking house when your non smokers.

    Answer by Princess_s21 at 6:53 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • I agree with previous posters who point out that this isn't something you can control. However, I don't think that means "it's out of your control" in the sense that you are helpless & powerless (a victim.) I believe the greatest power parents have is to recognize that it's not about controlling their children or manipulating (driving) a perfect course to the "desired result," but that recognizing the autonomy & sovereignty of another IS powerful, especially when combined with taking yourself seriously (representing yourself authentically in the relationship.) Providing feedback & information about your values & concerns & desires (not "it is wrong" but personal statements reflecting your convictions & owning them as YOURS, rather than "truth" that someone MUST accept) combined with the knowledge that you don't control another person is the ideal "recipe" for influencing rather than controlling children.
    The other thing is

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:33 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • You can't control what other people do, and be prepared. This world is full of bad examples that you can't control and your kids are always going to see things you don't want them to see. All you can do is prepare them and talk to them about how bad smoking, or drugs, or anything else like that is for you. When it comes to your family, when they visit you, you do have control over what goes on inside your house. But when you visit them, there really isn't anything you can do, but voice your opposition. My suggestion is: When you visit out of town family members and they smoke in their home and you don't want to expose your children to the bad habit and the second hand smoke, then I would let them know your opposition to it if you haven't already, and make reservations at a hotel for yourself and your daughters. I have actually done that myself, and if they truly love you, they will not be offended. They will understand

    Answer by Lynda-Lou at 10:15 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • (cont)
    that resistance of (or feeling that there is something wrong or tragic about) a child's verbal expression or play manipulations, more than anything else, gives attention & power to those things.
    But avoiding that dynamic is not about "ignoring" or playing down the feelings in yourself (hiding it), because kids get through to our emotional level, even to our repressed emotions. (You can't truly hide that stuff.) It's about noticing that you are feeling the resistance, feeling the dismay, recognizing yourself feeling that it's (her imitative play) a problem and that it might suggest doom, so it gives you the feeling of something to work against. NOTICING this isn't the problem; living it without observing it is the problem. Noticing it lets you bring it into conscious awareness & make a choice about it. When you're feeling resistance, which is your simple displeasure & your wish that she wouldn't do that anymore, or that

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:26 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • (cont)
    she had never seen it in the first place, (all of which I can relate to!! I have felt those things, esp. when my kids were exposed to something I'd tried to protect them from as an influence), your unhappiness & concern send a message to your daughter that she is "wrong" for what she's doing. (Something about it is making mama sad or bothered or agitated, or angry at the aunt, or whatever.) When you ignore the behavior (in hopes of discouraging it), or distract her (so hopefully she'll drop & forget it), or show displeasure so that she knows smoking is something you don't like, or simply feel stressed/anxious and unhappy when you notice it, she gets the message on the emotional level, but the message is not about smoking, it's about HER. This is how the resistance thing works. Your sadness/displeasure about your daughter's "smoking" behavior sends a message of "wrongness" to her that stimulates counter-resistance on her

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:53 AM on Jun. 4, 2011