Tobacco can be tempting for some kids, especially those trying to fit in or look mature. About 80 percent of teenagers choose not to smoke, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org website. If your child is in the minority and you catch her puffing, use careful discipline to teach the risks and help her make a wiser choice.
Teen Discipline Tips
When your child was a preschooler or grade-schooler and she disobeyed, your response was likely swift and decisive with a time-out or revocation of privileges. Although older children continue to need discipline, it’s important to modify disciplinary techniques to avoid a rebellious response, cautions psychologist Laura Markham, with the Aha! Parenting website. When you discover your child smoking, discipline respectfully and maintain a connection with your youngster. Resist the urge to punish your child for smoking. Instead express your displeasure in the smoking and tell your youngster that you don’t condone or support her choice.
Teach the Risks
The foundation of discipline involves teaching, according to the David O. McKay School of Education, Brigham Young University. When you find out that your child has been smoking, teach the risks of tobacco to help your youngster make a wiser decision. Talk about the addictive nicotine in cigarettes, which typically leads to more smoking as the addiction grows stronger. Explain the chemicals present in cigarette smoke that can harm his body and cause health issues such as cardiovascular disease, asthma and cancer. Warn your youngster that these issues can affect even young adult smokers, according to a report of the Surgeon General titled “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults.”
Discourage the Habit
After communicating your opinion about your child’s choice and teaching the risks of smoking, implement techniques to discourage her from smoking. Set limits for the smoking to show your adolescent that you don’t accept her choice. Tell your child that you won’t allow her to smoke in your home, in your vehicles or on your property. Explain that you do not want to see her harm herself by smoking, so you prefer that she does not do it in your presence. In the end, however, if your child chooses to smoke in places outside of your limits, there’s little you can do to prevent it.
Provide Positive Incentives
Encourage your adolescent with incentives. Offer a reward for nonsmoking, such as a gadget or an outing. If your child expresses frustration with trying to quit or being unable to, offer emotional support. Speak with a physician to get suggestions for quitting. Stay attuned to your child so you notice struggles or success and communicate openly about the issues. Notice and praise positive choices.
- HealthyChildren.org: Teens and Smoking
- Aha! Parenting: Beyond Discipline for Teens
- Brigham Young University: Discipline As Teaching
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults
- Lucile Packard Stanford Children's Hospital: General Principles of Discipline
- Photo Credit Highwaystarz-Photography/iStock/Getty Images
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