What happens when young teenagers smoke

If children smoke, it mustn't smoke.

How Nicole M. helps her daughter to get rid of cigarettes.
What is usually not an issue in elementary school often becomes a problem from the fifth grade onwards: children who smoke. Up to the age of eleven to 13, many children find the smell of cigarette smoke repulsive - and they are right about it. It is the best time to reassure the children in their negative attitude and to talk carefully to them about health risks. But after that, an age of curiosity and experimentation begins. "I was really shocked when I noticed that my 14-year-old daughter was smoking with her friends," says Nicole M. and asks: "What can you do?"

How do I react if I catch my child smoking?

Nicole M. feels like many parents. When your own child is caught smoking, the excitement is great. It is all the more important now to remain calm. Lectures, bans, or accusations could make things worse. But parents have a good chance if they take their children seriously and convince them with lots of friendly conversations. Nicole M. follows the advice of Bianka Puppel, director of the Schloss Pretzsch children's and youth home: She allows a quiet moment and clearly expresses her wishes and her own opinion on the subject of smoking. The mother was prepared for her child to react negatively at first and try to play down the problem. But cautious sentences like "I wish ..." or "I'm afraid that ..." open many doors.
It is important to do your own research beforehand. In addition to factual arguments, understanding and empathy also help. The children should definitely have their say and be able to tell why they actually smoke.

What makes smoking interesting for young people

"Puberty is a process of cutting the cord and the time of rebellion," explains Bianka Puppel. But it is also a time for self-doubt. Trying to do something that your parents forbid is perfectly normal. Because mother and father are no longer considered role models, but rather friends and older young people who are admired. The desire for their recognition and belonging is great.
Anyone who smokes may want to appear mature, attractive and courageous. Smoking can be seen as a door opener in the search for new contacts. Others hold onto the cigarette when they feel insecure, or just pass the boredom away. Advertising also plays its part in seduction: it connects a cigarette brand with a certain lifestyle and its appearance particularly appeals to young people. The children are fully aware that smoking is harmful to health and can also be addictive.

Which arguments are young people open to?

While lung cancer and smokers' legs seem far away, teenagers are more likely to be impressed by the direct consequences. Bad breath, yellow teeth, and smelly clothes are worth talking about. Exercise can deteriorate and boys may have erectile dysfunction. Girls, on the other hand, may be refused the pill by the gynecologist: the risk of thrombosis is too great. And who doesn't want to have more money in their wallet in the nicest hangout?
Young people want to be free and self-determined. Dependency only causes frustration and could be interpreted as weakness by others. Anyone who is so strong to quit and quietly rebels against the tobacco companies can hope for admiration. Another important point is the sense of responsibility towards others: those who smoke unconsciously seduce younger people and also harm the people in their immediate vicinity who breathe the smoke with them.

Tips if the child cannot be convinced

When the teenagers are past the experimental phase and smoking becomes an addiction, it is more difficult. The younger the child, the greater the risk. And the more difficult it is to wean. Parents who don't smoke themselves or who do quit themselves can be good role models. “Support your child, keep talking to each other! Talk about small experiences of success and also about the difficulties on the way to becoming a non-smoker! ”Advises Bianka Puppel.
Overall, it is important that the child form their own opinion and decide for themselves not to smoke anymore. If he does not want to quit, the first thing to do is to make a decision to smoke less. Small rewards can motivate you to do this. It is also possible to conclude a contract - including a start date and an agreement on a large reward when the child is there. In this way, Nicole M. and her daughter now want to try - together. At the end of the day, a nice short trip is in prospect.



This article contains general information and does not claim to illuminate all facets of the complex subject.

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