Psychological changes

My teenage son has started smoking tobacco and I don't know what to do


We know that alcohol and tobacco are the most consumed substances among adolescents between 14 and 16 years old in Spain. And although it may not seem like it - because of their social acceptance and because we can find them within everyone's reach - they are drugs and, as such, they produce strong dependence and addiction. An addiction that we can treat before it appears through different campaigns, strategies and with a lot of emotional education for your daughter or adolescent son know how to say no in time and don't get carried away by group pressure.

But knowing that preventive campaigns do not always work - for various reasons - and that in many cases we will not be able to prevent our children from starting their use, this time we will talk about what we can do, what strategies to use and which ones not if our daughter or son has started to smoke tobacco.

Knowing the reasons why adolescents start using tobacco is the starting point to try to convince them to stop this unhealthy habit as soon as possible. As always when it comes to teenagers, the best we can do is convince rather than ban, listen rather than preach and agree rather than impose. So let's see what factors influence them so that one day they will pick up a cigarette and start smoking.

We cannot give a single answer to this question. Each case will respond to different reasons because in the consumption of any drug, and tobacco is one of them, there are many factors that we will talk about below. It stands out so much that tobacco is a drug so that no adult underestimates its impact on the health of our children. Recall that tobacco causes about 52,000 deaths per year according to data from the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (semFYC).

But let's see what are some of the factors that influence the initiation of tobacco use among our youth and adolescents:

- Belonging to a family where some of its members smoke (parents or siblings).

- Having smoking friends.

- Have low self-esteem.

- Have few social skills, especially low assertiveness by not knowing how to say no.

- Need for social approval and group pressure.

It is undeniable that we live in a consumer society that encourages you to try everything. And although tobacco advertising is prohibited by law on billboards or television spots, the young and adolescent population is still being pushed to consume it with another type of more subtle and less explicit advertising, for example through the internet where it is very difficult to control it. everything. So that Smoking is still attractive to our youth and teens.

As I was already advancing at the beginning of this post, when we deal with adolescents the best we can do is convince rather than prohibit, listen rather than preach, and agree rather than impose.

So if we catch our son or daughter smoking or smelling cigarettes on their hair, clothes or breath let's try not to fall into the error of screaming throwing the saint to heaven and we are the parents that our children need so that they learn to make the decision for themselves to abandon this habit that is so harmful to their health.

For this it is important that:

1. Let's review our habits and ask ourselves the following questions

  • Do you set a good example from the family?
  • Do you smoke indoors?
  • How important is health within the family?

As you know parents are the main models to follow for our children. So if we smoke they will tend to imitate us believing that they are not doing anything bad or serious for their health, since we smoke without problem. If this is your case, this is the opportunity to leave it, inviting your son or daughter to accompany you on this path.

2. Let's talk about smoking: its risks and its important consequences

Speak without preaching, leaving space for our son or daughter to speak and express their opinion. Remember that sermons do not work because they do not give space for dialogue, so that children or adolescents close in band and stop listening to us.

So I urge you talk to him about the cost per month keep up this habit and what other things you might be interested in doing (concerts, music, clothes ...), the bad breath that tobacco leaves behind, the smell of smoke in your hair and clothes and how little non-smokers like to kiss to a smoker.

3. Reach agreements

If we have been able to speak calmly about the fact of smoking we can reach this point, in which it is a matter of agreeing where to smoke, when and how much to smoke. For example, one of the agreed rules could be no smoking inside the house, much less inside the room secretly.

But the most important pact that we should get is to agree on a date to definitely stop this habit.

Remember that knowing the reasons why our son or daughter has started smoking is essential to know how we can help him to quit. So that carefully observe your surroundings and theirs, because there you will find many answers.

If you need help to quit smoking, you can request it at your primary care medical center. That is where I went over a decade ago and today I can proudly tell my children that I no longer smoke, nor will I ever smoke again. Hope this inspires you if you are a smoker mom or dad, I won't tell you it's easy but you know it's not impossible.

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