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17 Year Old Smoking

by Sue

My 17 yr old son has good grades, a part time job and is generally compliant, although I feel he is on internet too much. He recently started smoking when away from the house. He claims it "calms him down" and relieves stress. We have told him the risks of smoking and asked him to stop, however he says he will not, and knows of all the risks involved. Should we start taking away privileges? We worry if we do, he will shut down , and cause a bigger reaction.

Comments for 17 Year Old Smoking

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Keep Communication Open With Teens
by: Annie Desantis

Dear Sue,
What a shame your son is choosing to do something to relieve stress that actually has more harmful effects on his body. It is so hard when our kids choose to do something we know is bad for them.

At Seventeen, it is pretty hard to do more than you already have. You have talked to him about risks and he is aware of them and yet is saying clearly, "I am choosing to continue smoking."

You have the right to have your home smoke free, and I believe it is perfectly reasonable to expect your home to be a no-smoking zone. However at Seventeen, I don't think there is much point in trying to punish him to stop him. It simply won't work. You will push him further into rebelling, and he will still continue to smoke elsewhere, but may be more devious in hiding it.

It is better to maintain your relationship with him, keep an open dialogue, and hope he grows out of it in the near future. I have to say, my son also became a smoker at 17, and it took him nearly 10 years to give it up. He knew the risks but chose to smoke anyway. I decided my relationship with him was more important than him participating in a behavior that I disliked. He respected that our home and car were smoke free zones, and he washed his own clothes, and never pushed those boundaries.

Stress Management For Teenagers

What you can do, is offer some other ideas for your son to learn to manage stress better. Then at least he has some other choices.

EFT Tapping is a very simple tapping technique that is fantastic with stress management, and I have taught many teenagers to use it for study and exam stress with excellent results.

Meditation is another great stress management tool, he may be a bit too cool for sitting cross legged chanting Omm, but even very simple breathing exercises have a huge impact on stress. When we are stressed we breathe more and more shallowly, and taking three very deep, very slow in and out breaths, oxygenates the blood, relaxes the muscles and can even lower high blood pressure.

Exercise is another great stress management tool - increases endorphins, oxygenates the blood, apart from the health benefits.

All you can do really is encourage him to respect his body and keep healthy, but at this age I am afraid you can't control very many of his decisions, you can only keep the communication open and hope you have some influence.

I'm sorry I don't have any brilliant ideas for you - hopefully he will grow out of it before too long.

all the best,
Annie D :)

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Do you have a question or want to send a submission to Annie? Simply click here to return to Parenting Questions About Teenagers.

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