Page:Your teenage children and smoking.djvu/14

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In family talk from time to time, ease in the idea that to be independent, to follow one's own private beliefs, and not "go with the herd" takes great strength.

And then there are the teenagers who say: "I really feel I'm 'in' when I smoke. Each puff sends rules of home and school to blazes."

And those who crow: "I do it for 'kicks'."

We all remember that "I'm in" feeling. Still, it asks for gentle handling. How, depends on how you have handled similar problems before.

The second one, the "kicks"—that's tough. Maybe the best thing to do, maybe the only thing to do, is to suggest less self-destructive "kicks" instead. What they will be depends on you, your child, the neighborhood. In truth, they depend on all that touches your child's life.


HELP THEM TO CHANGE


You can change your child's attitudes, beliefs, and behavior only if you give him good reasons why they should be changed. That means you have to convince him that the attitudes, beliefs, and behavior you offer are better.

So, again, be considerate and careful. You might humiliate, hurt, and insult him. That is the last thing in the world that you would want to do. Should you belittle his thoughts, you won't get to first base, and can't blame him if he hates and resists your ideas.

Always consider and discuss patiently with your child any opinion he has about smoking. Many parents have found that admitting that their pro-smoking son or daughter has a point—even to agreeing that to many smokers smoking is everything

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