I feel so bad. My eleven year old daughter is starting to smoke and
I dont know what to do. I dont even feel I can tell her not to. After all, I
started smoking when I was eleven and I cant stop smoking. So, how can I tell her
not to smoke? I would feel like such a hypocrite if I tried."
Im a smoker too and yet, I was appalled when I heard a close
friend of mine say these words. Friend,I know how hard it is to quit. Ive been to
the classes, used the patches, chewed the gum, been hypnotized and suffered the shame of
feeling like a person of weak character when all my self-control proved useless in kicking
the habit. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will always be a smoker but
that I am a good person anyhow.
But, like you I am still a mother and I still have the
responsibility of setting the standards for my child. Ill tell you what you can do.
Tell her not to smoke! Insist that you forbid her to do it and that if she does she will
be directly disobeying you. Tell her that you will not tolerate it and that if she does
there will be consequences. And, stick to it. You are still the mother no matter what your
faults are. Tell your child that you love her and dont want her to suffer as you
have. Tell her that you want her to have a better, cleaner, healthier life than you have
had. Explain to her what you missed out on socially and economically by smoking. Tell her
about your fears of a painful lingering death from cancer. Admit that it is too late for
you but that you want your grandchildren to breath clean air. Point out that in our
country parents have always hoped to see their children have a better life than they had
and that you do too. Ask your child to be the person who breaks the cycle and becomes,
perhaps, the first non-smoker in the history of your family.
Above all be a parent. Set the rules for children in your home.
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