Help Your Kids Say No to Smoking

Peer pressure is perhaps the most common reason kids start to smoke. Over time, they learn to use smoking as a way to deal with stress and anxiety, and many go on to become addicted to the nicotine. How do you help prevent this chain of events from unfolding?

Stop it at the source. Help your kids deal with peer pressure by teaching them to become more comfortable saying no to pressures to smoke.

As an adult, that may sound easy. But for a kid who wants to be accepted, saying no to peers is tough. It is a skill that takes practice. Start by doing some role-playing. Here’s how:

Pretend you are someone trying to get your kid to smoke. Really put the pressure on.
Help your child develop a set of “no thanks” comments. The comments should fit the child’s personality and be in his or her own words.
Try to keep things light and fun.
Here are some other tips:

If your kid is shy, suggest that he or she simply say, “No thanks” and then quickly leave the area.
If your kid is more outgoing, maybe a statement such as, “No way! I don’t want to smell like an ashtray” will work.
Help your kid practice responses so that they become strong, sure and convincing.

Remember, just because your kid is comfortable saying no today, that doesn’t mean he or she will always remain that way. So, it’s a good idea to revisit the issue from time to time, making sure they always have the skills to turn down tobacco.

There are many other ways to help your kids not give in to peer pressure. Know that even though their peers have tremendous influence over what they do, you are also a powerful force in their lives.

While it may seem like they don’t listen to anything you say, realize that they still want to live up to the expectations you have for them.