|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Kids and Smoking

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: I found out that my 13-year-old daughter is smoking by reading a letter she wrote to her cousin. I know what I did is wrong, but she seems so sad lately and she doesn't want to talk to me about it. She tells me that nothing is wrong. I don't know how to tell her I know about her smoking without losing her trust.

A: Generally teens have a right to privacy, but wise parents who suspect something is wrong sometimes have to exercise their rights and obligations by invading that privacy. I would encourage you to sit down with your daughter and tell her what you did. Then talk about her sadness and how that worries you. Be specific about how her behavior tells you she's sad. Suggest other adults that she could talk to if she doesn't feel comfortable talking with you. Those adults might be the school counselor, an aunt, one of your family friends, her dad, or a grandparent.

You read the letter to understand why she is sad. So, don't talk about the smoking unless she brings it up. My guess is that she will. When she does, keep it short and encouraging. She probably knows your feelings about smoking anyway. You might gently mention that after the initial rush, smoking adds to depression or sadness because of its physical effect on the body.

Usually the best way to re-establish trust is to be open and honest. Teens often don't want to talk with their parents, but parents have to continue talking to their teens.

More on: Expert Advice

Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks