Talking With Your Teen About Vaping
By Randi Morse
It seems like every generation has their addiction of choice. When I was growing up, I remember that it felt like every adult I knew smoked cigarettes. You could smoke cigarettes in cars, on the street, and there were even sectioned-off areas of restaurants that allowed people to smoke during their meal. The popularity of smoking cigarettes has dropped significantly, but this generation has a new addiction: vaping. Vaping seems fun, cool, and makes teenagers feel like they are more grown-up. The problem is that we don't know a lot about what happens when someone has been vaping for a long time. It's important to talk with your kids about vaping and about your concerns, even though the conversation may be a difficult one to start.
Talk About the Past
I don't mean to start a conversation with one of those "back in my day" statements, but it is important for kids to realize that they are not the first generation to find something addicting. Talk to your kids about what was considered "cool" and "adult" when you were younger. Explain to them that even though vaping may be the "cool" thing now, in 15 or 20 years their children will think that vaping was very "uncool."
Straight Out Ask
Teenagers want to be trusted, and parents want to trust them. Don't beat around the bush when it comes to talking about vaping, straight out ask your teenager if they are smoking a vape. If they say that they aren't, tell them that you trust them and believe them and that you hope they will feel comfortable enough to come to you if they find themselves interested in vaping. Ask what friends or other students are vaping around them. If your teenager says one of their good friends is vaping, you can then start a conversation about how your teenager should be an individual and not follow the crowd, especially when it comes to vaping.
One thing that today's teenagers have over their parents is that they are much more technologically savvy and knowledgeable. They can get information about just about anything at any point in time. Make sure you educate yourself about vaping. Look up the facts, look up what different vaping devices look like and educate yourself about how vape juice is made and what the ingredients are in it. It's a good idea to do this before you speak with your teenager so you can prove that you do know what you're not just getting your information from Facebook horror stories.
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