Why Teenage Boys and Girls Smoke & How to Prevent Them From Smoking - Re-Creation Retreat


The sheer numbers of our children who have taken up the habit of tobacco is beyond belief.

How can it be that with the known dangerous effects of smoking so clearly defined, record numbers of young people are choosing smoking as an addiction?

Popular targets for culpability include the tobacco industry and its alleged manipulation of nicotine content, print advertising, and lack of government regulation. Although the aforementioned play a role in decision making in reality children smoke for two reasons.

The first reason teens smoke is because the people they admire smoke. In many American homes, they are simply modeling themselves after one or both parents, grandparents or other key people in the household. If they start smoking please get help from Re-Creation Retreat. Re- Creation Retreat is a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teen girls. For more information please contact there webiste.

One also need look no farther thanHollywood, where there has been a significant increase in instances of onscreen smoking that is also amplified by the current cigar craze. Adolescents, by definition, grasp at the trappings of adulthood and as smoking is an adult activity that is forbidden, its allure is further intensified.

The second reason ties in teen cravings for affirmation and acceptance. They will associate with the individuals or group that is the most powerfully affirming and accepting. They will adopt the standards and behaviors of that group, no matter how dangerous or unhealthy, as failure to do so could mean rejection, expulsion, ridicule or worst of all, loneliness.

Adolescents have an acute need for expressed, felt love. Paradoxically, they appear to be uncomfortable responding to that love, highlighting a mistake that many parents make as they begin an apparent retreat from their children once they reach adolescence.

The reasons having been delineated, a preventive response with teens is mandatory. This is essential because the addictive nature of tobacco use, once begun, is so profound. Surveys of teens have clearly indicated that they experimented with cigarettes because they assume they could easily stop at some time in the future, yet sadly they are no more successful in quitting than most adults.

Beyond prevention of smoking's dangers we also know that tobacco is a gateway drug to other drugs and unhealthy activities. Kids who smoke cigarettes are more likely to use marijuana and other drugs as well as engage in sexual intercourse.

There are two steps that you can take as the parent of an adolescent to prevent your teenage son or teenage daughter from becoming a smoker. The ideal time to begin these interventions is when your children are between the ages of 8 and 10, although it is never too late to start.

No. 1, if you are a smoker, QUIT. I cannot imagine a more powerful message than sitting down with your son or daughter and telling them that you realize what an unhealthy and dangerous habit your smoking has become and that your love for them is so deep that you are willing to take whatever steps necessary to stop. You already know that they are worried about you and the unhealthy effects of your smoking. Besides setting a good example for your struggling teen, you will also relieve them of some of the concerns they already have for you and your health.

The second step requires more effort and consideration. If parental support and love for one's children is perceived to be more important than that of friends, they will seek parental favor over that of their peers. In effect you can, by the power of parental love, transcend the negative influences of teen peer groups.

This can only be successful if you are prepared to make large investments of time and to set a higher priority for the emotional needs of your children than for yourself. Following a few of these suggestions is a start:


  1. Have one meal each day together as a family.
  2. Set aside one night per week for family-only activities.
  3. Adjust your play with your children as they age.
  4. Be there, wherever "there" is -- at a school play, a sporting event, a musical performance, etc.
  5. If you are married, honor your commitment to your spouse. If you are a single parent or noncustodial parent, work out a plan that allows for regular and loving participation in the life of your child.
  6. Resist the temptation to reduce your involvement in your child's life during adolescence.
  7. Do not leave teens in groups in unsupervised settings. As a parent, call ahead to see if there is anything you can do to help with a gathering and ask if there will be an adult present.

Be encouraged that adolescence means that you're almost finished with the active role of being a parent. Taking an involved role at this time will not only keep your child from the clutches of tobacco, but set the stage for a wonderful transition to adulthood and lifelong friendship with your children.

Sometimes struggling teenagers may need to be removed from their environment. For cases like this Zion Educational Service will be available to answer any question parents of smoking teenagers may have. Parents can call (888) 597-9495 to speak with a family restoration expert who will walk you through the process of seeking help for your troubled teenager.


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