January 18, 2011,
D.L. asks from Chicago, IL on October 24, 2006
12-Year-old Son Caught Smoking
I recently found out that both my 12-year-old son and my niece (she is also 12) have been smoking with some of the other kids in my niece's neiborhood. This apparently has been going on for a couple months. Both my son and niece were grounded for a month after my sister and I found out. Yesterday I found out that my son was smoking again!!! I confronted him and he said he was sorry and wouldn't do it again. I don't believe him. What do I do? I am a single mom and I feel my son just walks all over me. Has anyone else had this problem????
T.S. answers from Chicago on October 24, 2006
Wow, that's so discouraging to read. I'm firmly against smoking, I've never even tried it (or any drugs) and neither has my husband. So, we both stand firm on it being unacceptable. That being said, we aren't idiots either and know it could very well happen when our son gets older. I have a 15 year old sister whom I am very close to, so I'm trying to think about how I would feel about that. First of all, I would have to ask where he and your niece were able to get the cigarettes? Then, I would explain to him in as graphic detail as possible the effects of such a bad habit to start. There are websites to help you gather information, I think one is www.thetruth.org. Not 100% sure though.
Do you smoke? Anyone close to your son smoke? If so, maybe his exposure to seeing that should be limited - very limited. It's hard to say, "don't do this" if you or someone close to him is doing it. One of those cases where do as I say and not as I do, really doesn't work. He could be looking for some attention by acting out. You mentioned that you're a single-mom...is Dad in the picture where you could team up and deal with this?
I think honest, direct communication with your son regarding this is very, very important. Talk to him, tell him why it's wrong (besides being illegal) and why it hurts you to see him do this.
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K.B. answers from Chicago on October 24, 2006
I would definately take a multi-pronged approach. First of all, if possible, try to keep him away from that group of kids. Get him busy in an afterschool group or a sport where he can find more positive friendships. Then I'd make him do a ton of internet research on the damages that smoking can do, the financial costs of smoking(it's amazing how much money a smoking habit can cost), etc. Have him write a couple of pages of paper on the facts about smoking. Then, I'd take away privileges to let him know that it is not acceptable. I have already made it clear to my daughters that their right to privacy is a right that is given by me. If I feel that they have lost my trust, I will have no problem snooping into their personal things to look for evidence that they are not towing the line. I think that sometimes, tough love is the only thing to do for our children.
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R.K. answers from Chicago on October 24, 2006
Scared straight is probably the best deterrent for any negative behavior. Find some of the most disgusting pictures and literature that shows just how nasty smoking is and I'll bet that it will scare his 12 year old behind into stopping. Many people now don't want to scare their children, ut believe me, sometimes as a parent, especially a single parent, it's the best way to manage your children. Also, take them to a doctor's office and ask them to speak to your son. See if that works.
V. answers from Chicago on October 25, 2006
good luck. You've gotten pretty good advice and I hope you can find a way to get through this. Be strong. Don't forget to be straight with your son. Yes, he's grounded, did you spell out why? I know he should know, but your words are powerful, even though they seem to go in one ear and out the other. Tell him straight out--I don't want you to smoke, EVER. Not once. and be strong and stick to your word. don't let him out if he's grounded. he is going to be a stubborn insensitive kid. but you know better and can stick it out. However you decide to deal with this, go all the way and be strong. I'm rooting for you.
D.S. answers from Chicago on October 24, 2006
HI! D. I HAVE NOT BUT BELIVIE ME YOU NEED TO HAVE HIM TALK WITH A MAN WHO HE DEEPLY CARES ABOUT AND LOOKS UP TO BECAUSE HE NEED A MALE FIGURE IN HIS LIFE IT IS IMPORTANT CAUSE WHEN HE NEEDS TO TALK AND WANT TALK TO YOU HE WILL TALK TO HIM AND HURRY UP DO NOT PUT IT OFF . PRAY ALSO AND ASK GOD TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR SON BECAUSE THE DEVIL IS REALLY BUSY AT THAT AGE IN A KID LIFE AND I WILL BE PRAYING ALSO MY SON DIED IN THE STREET BECAUSE HE DID NOT HAVE A MALE FIGURE TO TALK TO VERY SMART BUT I WAS NOT ENOUGH FOR HIM THERE ARE THINGS BOYS NEED TO TALK TO A MALE ABOUT AND NOT US WOMEN SO PRAY AND DO NOT OVER ACT TO MUCH BECAUSE THAT MAKES IT WORSER D. HE MITE BE LOOKING FOR SOME ATTECHEN FROM YOU TRY SPENDING MORE TIME GO TO THE MOVES OUT TO DINNER AND BOWLING PLAY POOL WITH HIM . GOD BLESS!
H.L. answers from Chicago on October 25, 2006
My oldest is about the same age as your son and I'm sorry to say that I'm not as shocked as many of the other parents. I know you are disappointed right now and you've made your opinion known to your son. I did notice that you are from the Crown Point area and am aware of a program that St. Anthony's Medical Center offers for smoking cessation.
http://www.stanthonymedicalcenter.com/DesktopDefault.aspx...= You'll have to contact them for class information, to see if they have a class specifically for his age group. That would be ideal since all the information would be geared to his developmental level. I do hope that this is helpful and I wish you the very best.
K.K. answers from Chicago on October 25, 2006
Just be careful about banning from seeing the group of smoker friends. Just like punishing him for smoking may push him to do it more, so may banning the friends. Try to be sly about it. Like...planning those activities or finding other things for him to do.
I know when my parents told me not to do something, I did the exact opposite! Be open and caring and talk to him as if he were an adult...I know he is not, but show respect. I taught middle school Learning and behavioral students for 9 years. Talking to them with respect always got me further than yelling. Be fair and consistent.
A.S. answers from Chicago on October 24, 2006
Your son probably cannot stop smoking on his own, so punishment alone just will not work. Because of his age, I would take him to the pediatrician for some help in quitting. (For example, I'm not sure if 12-yr-olds are able to buy or use Nicorette or the other otc stop smoking aids. Any doctor should be very interested in helping your son stop smoking.
I agree to get him away from those friends for awhile. I also agree that he probably will switch to something else like alcohol if you are able to prevent him from smoking. Get him professional help now, so that he can kick the habit. It will only help the both of you down the road.