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Welcome to my journal, a resource for parents to collaborate, share success stories, and learn new strategies for talking to their kids about not smoking. Through this forum, I hope to encourage and empower you to have open, ongoing dialogues with your kids. Each month, I'll investigate a different parenting topic and offer advice. Feel free to POST your questions and thoughts on the message board, and sign up for my e-mail newsletter to get a monthly reminder about new journal entries.

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Parents: Create a Special Moment to Talk About Not Smoking

Date Posted: 5/8/2006

As a parent, it's important to set up special times to talk to your kids about critical issues like not smoking. But some of you may find it difficult to start these vital conversations.

To help you take the first step, I've teamed with Talk Early, Talk Often, Lorillard Tobacco Company's Youth Smoking Prevention Program, to launch Pledge to Talk, a new initiative that provides parents with a ready-made opportunity to spend time with their kids talking about not smoking.

Starting this month, parents who Pledge to Talk at KeepKidsFromSmoking.com will get movie vouchers that can be redeemed at the box office for free admission. Each parent will receive a voucher good for one adult and one child admission while supplies last. Those interested should log-on early since quantities are limited.

Signing up for the program is easy. Log-on to KeepKidsFromSmoking.com, click the Pledge to Talk icon, and submit the pledge form. Those who Pledge to Talk will receive the movie vouchers as well as a special tip sheet with helpful conversation starters.

The vouchers aren't just a reward, they will help set the stage for an intimate conversation between you and your child. Parents often ask me what moment is best for talking to kids about not smoking. Although there are certainly things they can do (and avoid) to make talks more effective, any time is a good time to talk. Talks can happen on the way to school or a movie. They can happen at meal time or bed time. The important thing is that they happen - at an early age and often enough for the message to stick.

Even though there may be no perfect moment to start up a conversation, there is a stage in children's development when they are ready and willing to tune into discussions about smoking. From six to 11 years old, they are particularly receptive to adopting the values and attitudes of their parents. At these ages, kids have a desire to adhere to their parents' models and instructions.

Kids may be receptive to a no-smoking message, but don't make the mistake of constantly lecturing them. Frequent talks are necessary, but avoid a monotonous approach. It's important for parents to vary their methods using emotions, role playing, demonstrations and relevant examples. Here are some examples:

Get Emotional - Don't be afraid to express how you would feel if your child has tried cigarettes. Saying things like: "I can't imagine how sad I would be if you started smoking and couldn't stop," or: "I would feel like I wasn't doing my job as a parent if you hurt yourself by smoking," make a greater impression than merely telling a child not to smoke.

Play the Role - While it may feel awkward at first, role playing is one of the best ways to really arm children against the pressure to smoke. Acting like a peer offering a cigarette might help your child develop strategies and ways to say "no" to smoking.

Keep It Real - Kids get bored by words. Use demonstrations to help them see, touch and feel the problem. Smelling an ash tray or the clothes of a smoker can make a strong impression. Or try to catch your child at a point when they are out of breath from playing and point out that smokers feel that way all the time.

Make an Example - If you have a friend or relative who is suffering the health effects of smoking, ask them to talk to your child about why smoking was not worth it. Their experience could be one of the most powerful and relevant examples you can give your child.

Don't forget to Pledge to Talk in May. Members of my e-newsletter will receive a reminder. If you're not already a member, sign up today!

Best of Luck,

Dr. Michael H. Popkin @ 12:08:10 PM Post Reply

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My child is 3 years old. The other day she was asking about Tom (from Tom & Jerry) smoking a cigarette, using simple words I told her that can hurt me. It still concerns me that her favorite cartoon character is portraited smoking sometimes. Our smoking friends go and smoke outside and try to subttle about it but I know she notices they smoke. I wonder if since my best freind and Tom smoke could have an influence on her eventhough everytime I have a chance, I tell her that smoke and smoking hurt people.

Lilma @ 9:17:33 AM Post Reply

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I meant to say hurt him (Tom) not me. Sorry.

Lilma @ 9:18:52 AM Post Reply

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Since every one -including Tom and friends who smoke outside- smoke ĻaĻ cigarette in your child`s smoke environmental is hurtfull for them -your child, Tom, your friends, yourself. what if they smoke more than a cigarette? Smoking future of the child is secured too guilty as in every smoker. Been free is been able to say no.

Juan @ 9:42:03 AM Post Reply

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