Page:Your teenage children and smoking.djvu/15

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claimed for it—has proved a sound base from which to start again—calmly and rationally—to consider the problem.


WHEN SHOULD THIS TEACHING BEGIN?


When you start teaching your boy or girl rules to aid good health and protect life. Of course, that is long before he reaches the teens.

Make the nonsmoking policy one on your list of early teachings. The list may be something like this: Immunization against certain diseases, food of the right kind, enough sleep, outdoor exercise and sunshine, clean bodies, nonsmoking, regular checkups by the doctor, safety precautions inside and outside the home, the tenets of your faith, sex education, and so on, including the many, many things that parents are teaching their children from birth on.

Such efforts are more apt to produce good results with most children when they are not accompanied by tearing of the hair and pounding on the table, when we talk of them in a matter-of-fact way and as if they are nothing unusual.

The best time to start the "man to man" teaching about smoking may be about the seventh grade; that is, when the child is getting into the teens. Studies show that that is the time most children really begin to consider seriously taking up the habit. That is when you may want to knuckle down and start the "no doubt what I mean" teaching.

Your child, of course, may become "really interested" sooner than that or much later. Many parents have found that if they deliver a treatise or sermon on cigarette evils earlier, their young children (and even older ones) suspect smoking is "forbidden fruit" and decide to give it a try for their own education. It is best that such results be avoided.

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