Friday, August 6, 2010

The Truth About Smoking

Parenting dilemma:

Wil smokes. He wants to quit before the new baby is born, but in the meantime he smokes. He doesn't smoke in the apartment. He goes outside to the stoop of our building to smoke.

The problem is, when he leaves to go have a cigarette, Ari asks me:
"Where daddy go?"

And I don't know whether I should tell him "Daddy went to smoke," or not. So far I've been giving a generic response like:"Daddy went outside. He'll be right back. "

I don't know if it's the right thing to say. Should I be honest and tell Ari that his dad is out smoking? And how do I explain the contradiction that smoking is bad for you and his dad engages in it anyway?

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  1. Gosh, these are tough questions! I really hope Wil can kick the habit. My g-pa smoked a pack a day from age 12-65 and he quit cold turkey. Of course that's more hardcore than most people, but I think Wil can maybe do it if he uses all these fancy "quit smoking" things. There is actually a prescription that we used to give people (I used to work at a doc's office) and everyone LOVED it and said it help them quit. It's called Chantix.

    Personally (this is just me) I wouldn't tell Ari about it just yet, especially since at this age kids love copying their parents and want to do everything they do. Then again, I bet I would feel bad not being truthful about it. It's hard! Keeping my fingers crossed that Wil can kick it!

    Maybe have him read this? It's explains that even smoking outside can harm your baby, because the harmful toxins stick to skin and clothes and soak into babies' very absorbant skin.

  2. My Husband smokes too. He doesn't smoke inside, and I had the same dilemma when Jake was small. Hubs and I talked about it together, and Hubs talked to Jake about it. When he was really small I said the same thing you did. Kids figure things out though and when Jake did, Hubs explained what smoking is, how he would like to quit, but how hard it was. Like most things, keep it simple but age appropriate. I don't think it's much different than if Dad had a beer or two every day after work.

    Jake is now 14 and hasn't tried smoking, nor has any interest so far. He has asthma so he understands that it would be really hard on his lungs and to stay healthy he needs to stay away from it.

    As for Hubs, I leave the decision to quit up to him. He's a very considerate smoker, I've never been uncomfortable about how or where he smokes, and so it's ok for us (except the time he set my rosemary plant on fire....)

  3. I would keep up with the generic answers. He doesn't need to know yet, but if he sees it and asks you can say that its bad and stuff like that.

  4. Thanks Amanda! He was on Chantix and successfully quit for six months. I was so proud if him. Then he started again because he was stressed out at work. I forwarded him that article on babies and third hand smoke. Hopefully he will be able to quit.

    Scattered mom - That's a great point about giving age appropriate answers! That's great that Jake has shown no interest in smoking. Probably because you guys have been so open about it with him!

    Cordy -,Yeah. You're right. Keep it simple until he starts to become more inquisitive!

  5. Well not just open, but we did have a scare with his Dad. It wasn't smoking related-Hubs caught cryptoccoccal gatti, a tropical fungus in the trees on Vancouver Island. It was dormant for months but once he got sick, it was very fast and very serious.

    Jake happened to be home (5 yo) when I had to rush Hubs to the ER in respiratory distress, and was RIGHT THERE in the ER when all hell broke loose (he actually almost died the next day). At first, when they didn't know what it was, they said it was from smoking. It wasn't-didn't help, but had nothing to do with the illness.

    Sadly, it traumatized him quite badly-but on the other hand, I think that's what really keeps him from smoking.

  6. Wow! What a story! If if were a kid exposed to that I wouldn't want to smoke either!


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