Hi Mark, I've just subscribed to the e-book a couple of days ago so I haven't got very far. We've started assignment 1. I'm looking for advise on how to handle the issue of smoking in the bedroom. My 16 year old daughter, A has been smoking for probably a year and has always hidden it from us. Whenever I questioned her about smelling of smoke in the past, she would always say that it was because she was hanging around her friends who smoke. In the last 6 months, we've caught her with cigarettes in her bag and drawers and she has always made the excuse that she was hanging on to them for her friends who didn't want their parents to know to which we've said that that is their responsibility, not hers.
In the last month, she is doing it openly in the backyard and has told us that she has no intention of quitting and that we just have to accept it. The last straw was when she started smoking in her room. I wrote her a note (as I find it hard to talk to her these days as all I get back is profanity) explaining that her dad, brother and I do not smoke and do not appreciate the smell in our house so smoking in her room will not be tolerated and that if she had to do it then she needs to have some consideration for us and do it outside.
I think she's lashing out because we locked her window (she was sneaking out at night and during the day) so she couldn't blow the smoke out her window. We are a family who live a healthy lifestyle and the message to her is that we will never accept her smoking. I would like your advice on how to approach this situation or do you think that it's one of those things that should be ignored for now because there are other more challenging ones to deal with such as skipping school, disappearing and not returning till 3 am on a school night, wanting to move out, etc. Thanks for listening, J.
You do indeed have bigger fish to fry than her smoking. You will not be able to stop her. You haven’t so far. Pick your battles carefully - and this is not a battle you should fight. In fact, the more you worry about it or lecture her, the more she will smoke! You’re in a power struggle with her, which will provoke her to dig in her heels and fight you on this matter. But you can stop her from smoking on YOUR property. Here's what you can say to your daughter:
"I can't keep you from damaging your health by smoking. But it's your health - not mine! However, I don't want you smoking in my house or anywhere on my property. If you choose to smoke on my property, you'll choose the consequence, which is grounding for 3 days without any privileges (e.g., use of phone, T.V., computer, bedroom – except to sleep, etc.)."
If your daughter smokes on the property, follow through with the consequence. If YOU smoke, keep your cigarettes with you at all times.
CAUTION: The statement above is borrowed from the strategy entitled “When You Want Something From Your Kid” [Session #3 - Anger Management Chapter – Online Version of the eBook]. I strongly recommend you do NOT skip Sessions #1 and #2. Implementing a bunch of new changes too quickly WILL backfire.
As I stated earlier, I can see we have larger issues to address, which would be best saved for after your 4-week program. We must lay down a good foundation in order for the disciplinary techniques to be effective.
Mark Hutten, M.A.
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