How To Talk About Cigarettes So Kids Will Listen
If you are able to get to your children before they start smoking, you certainly should do so. Many people wonder, however, how to impress upon their children the seriousness of smoking and the detrimental effects that it can have on their lives.
Statistics on Smoking & Kids
Smoking is no laughing matter with children. Ninety percent of adult smokers were addicted by the age of 18 and 60% were addicted by the age of 14. Every day 3000 teens become addicted to tobacco and almost one third of children possess some type of promotional gear from a tobacco company.
How To Talk To Kids?
With all of these scary statistics, it's certainly important to make an impression on your children. But, how should this be done? First of all, you need to act as a role model and make sure that you don't smoke - anything. Don't focus on the long term consequences of smoking with your children. They don't care what will happen in twenty or thirty years - they care about the short term. Focus on immediate issues such as shortness of breath, stained teeth and nails, etc. Be careful about objecting to smoking because your children may rebel just to do something that you don't want them doing. Rather, try to explain why it's such a health hazard and not why it reflects bad behavior. If you can start talking to kids about smoking while they are really young do so as this can help with the rebellion later.
Advertisements and other forms of communication are very powerful with children. Help your children to decode images they see in cigarette ads. Help them to see that cigarettes don't, as the ads imply, make people wealthier, sexier, smarter, etc. Try to help them to see how powerful cigarette addiction can be. Act out situations with them to help them to learn to say "no" and to feel comfortable saying no. Think of creative ways for them to say no and refuse tobacco from their peers. Finally, you may have to limit spending money, keep your children from certain peers, and impose curfews if you don't feel that they are heeding your efforts.
Speaking with your children about cigarette smoking and other smoking is very important. While your children may start to look up to their peers, they are still listening to you and looking to you for guidance. Stand strong with your opinions and give them the guidance that they crave - so that they won't, hopefully, crave something else in the future!