One of the frustrations of raising teenagers @ 08:33 am
Current Mood: contemplative
I have an understanding with Alex and Justice. I won't give them a cigarette (and they don't ask me) and they don't smoke in my sight, because I do not want to witness that. But I know they smoke. I know they were smoking last night on my watch. They know I wish they wouldn't. And I don't lecture them about it.
Firstly, I'm absolutely positive they have heard all about the dangers of smoking. They know that anyone giving them a cigarette is breaking the law. It doesn't affect them, I guess, because most teens believe, subconsciously, that they are immortal.
Secondly, I'm a smoker, with no intentions of stopping. True, I smoke less than a half-pack a day, and I virtually never smoke when I'm with the girls, but still. Almost everyone around the girls - Elizabeth, Kathy, Chenelle, and "Papa" Jack, all smoke.
I don't want to be a "Do what I say, not what I do" parent. I can tell them smoking pot is stupid. I can lecture them about the damage alcohol does to the growing brain. (I drink, but never when I'm 'on deck' with the girls and seldom in front of them.) Justice has actually given up pot (at her boyfriend's request), but Elizabeth gives the girls alcohol pretty freely. (I've asked them not to drink in front of me, but to no avail.) I can harp on how stupid and dangerous it is to be having sex at 14 (though Justice doesn't listen, and Alex refuses to see the harm in having sex with other girls).
But if one or both of them say they're going outside to "get some fresh air, I can't bring myself to say, "No, you're aren't." I suppose there is peer pressure, although Jordan is trying to get Justice to stop. When they were younger they were all against smoking and swore they'd never do it.
I wonder if most teens experiment with smoking tobacco, and how many of them give it up as they get older and the dangers start to sink in.