Hi, I wasnt sure whether to post this here or under one of the parenting forums. About 6 months ago I started dating a 31 year old single mom, who is absolutely great in every way; except that I find it rather unsetteling that she lets her 13 year old daughter smoke.
This strikes me as particularly strange, because she is a good mom in so many other respects, loving and supportive of her daughter and her interests, but still strict about curfew and keeping in touch, strict on making her keep good grades in school, and holds a firm zero tolerance policy on drinking or drugs. As far as I can tell the daughter seems to be a pretty good girl all around, and although she does occasionally exhibit typical 13 year old girl attitudes towards some things, she often times has a suprisingly level headed outlook for someone her age - a trait that she shares with her mother.
The girls father is not in the picture at all, and I dont think he has any custody or even sees the girl. Although I am getting more serious about my relationship with her mother, I still have no illusions about being a genuine father figure as Ive never had any children of my own; but I really am willing to be a participatory and supportive step parent should I be lucky enough for our relationship to get that far.
I just feel conflicted about the issue with her daughter's smoking and don't feel particularly credible as the voice of non-smoking as I am a reluctant lifetime smoker who was trying again (unsuccessfully) to quit smoking myself when her mother and I started dating and I resumed smoking, as she is also a longtime smoker herself. I've only been over to their apartment a few times the past couple of months when her dauther was home, but as far as I can tell she lets her daughter smoke just about anywhere in their apartment. She seems to have a very non-chalant attitude towards it, although she did ask her daughter to put her cigarette out while eating when I came over for dinner last Sunday evening. Her daughter politely complied, and her mother didnt have to snap at her, but then when dinner was done she asked to be excused, took her dishes to the sink to clean up, then lit a cigarette and went into her bedroom to give us some privacy. It was rather bizzare.
I havent raised any issue about this or discussed it with her mother, because she seems to be a great mother in every other way, and honestly, I dont feel its my place as the boyfriend to say anything about it. Also, I dont want to mess up the good thing I have going relationship wise over something that really has nothing to do with me. I do plan to resume my efforts to try to quit smoking in the near future, but I mostly see that as my business and if there is anything ive learned from a few previous relationships with single mothers is that they often times dont want their childless boyfriends commenting or offering unsolicited advice on their parenting decisions.
Im at a loss for how to approach this, and Im unsure whether or not I should just try to ignore it as none of my business or say something and risk interfering with an otherwise outstanding relationship with great potential.
I guess it is wisest to stay out of it. Although smoking at that age is particularly bad, both you and your girlfriend smoke, so it is difficult for either of you to advise or restrict the girl's habit. It is strange, though. My father was a heavy smoker, but none of my brothers or sisters, or I, smoked when we were young. This did not seem odd to me. It was just the way it was. Adults smoked. Children didn't. I wonder why your girlfriend didn't take that tack.
I remember once, when I was chaperoning a school dance, that someone took issue with me for smoking. She said the children weren't allowed to, so I shouldn't. I said I wasn't a child. I also noted that were children to be equated with adults then perhaps I should be seeking a sexual partner for my pubescent daughter, or give up sleeping with my husband. That stopped the conversation right there.
yea, i agree with allmymarbles, you should totally stay out of it. maybe if you were her actual step father, and youd like been her stepfather since before she started smoking then itd be different.
also just because she lets her teenage daughter smoke dont mean shes a bad mom. its good you can see the rest of her qualities, so try not to get too hung up on it. my mom also let me smoke at the house growing up and was way worse about it, like she gave me my first cigarette when i was about 9 years old and it wasnt long after that before I started becoming a regular smoker. im pretty sure i got like a carton of cigarettes for christmas when i was 12. maybe she thought she was being a cool mom or something letting me smoke when i was so young. i dunno, but i can say that she wasnt the only mom in our trailer park who let their teenager smoke.
looking back on it it was probably like a bad idea for my mom to buy me all those cartons of cigarettes when i was growing up, but i prolly was going to be a smoker anyways so maybe it didnt matter. i really cant blame my mom for it, afterall she was just doing something that i really wanted anyway. its probably the same deal with your girlfriends situation with her daughter; if the daughter really wants to smoke then maybe the mom just figured shed pass on this fight and save it up for when she really had to lay down the law when it really counted. cant say i completely agree with that thinking, but i can say that i do understand it. either way, unless its like virtual criminal activity, how she parents her child is not necessarily your business, so you may just not go out of your way to bring the issue up.
theres probably not alot you can do as the boyfriend. my stepdad let me start smoking at home when I was about that age, maybe 11 or 12, he even gave me cigarettes which probably why I got addicted so young. even though my mom also smoked it still made her mad at first, but even when we fought about it it still didnt stop me from smoking.
even when she divorcd my stepdad when I was 14 and started dating other guys, but none of my moms boyfriends could ever tell me what to do. one of them even tried to tell me I shouldnt be smoking and partying so young but I just ignored him. I figured hed just be gone in a few months. he was. But its maybe ok if youll feel better about telling her youre worried about her and just want to be sure shes ok, that will sound sweet (maybe) and not preachy.
I wish I could say that Im astonished in this day in age that someone would let their teenager smoke in the house, but maybe Im just out of sync with the times. But I guess it isnt exactly a new trend though, because my mother let us smoke in the house as teenagers, and now both my sister and I are still chain smokers to this day. Lately Ive been fighting with my 9 year old to get her to stop sneaking around and smoking cigarettes behind my back. Its been a battle for every inch, because its almost like shes trying to become a smoker just like me, which I cant stand. I can only imagine how hard thatd be with a 13 year old, probably makes a parent just want to give up. I cant believe Id say it, but Im about ready to throw in the towel on that issue myself. I guess kids are just going to smoke if they want to smoke, and theres not much we can ever do about it.
I'd suggest that as you let the relationship with the mother develop, keep an eye on the daughter. Perhaps you can speak with the mother regarding the health concerns, but you can potentially make a bigger impact by saying nothing at all. Do all you can to promote a healthier lifestyle for this young lady. Be involved in her daily life, but not intrusive.
You can also leave miscellaneous anti-smoking propoganda laying around, but that is rather passive-aggressive.
I don't know, man. You are in a pickle. I wonder if this can be seen as a form of abuse or neglect?
I'm new to the forum, so bear with me but I'd like to say that I agree with Becky. I think it's easier to make decisions on your own. My wife lets her daughter smoke because her daughter was interested in it and she let her try it. But if she didn't like it at first, she wouldn't do it. I'm perfectly fine with it.
Copyright 1994-2016 MedHelp International. All rights reserved.
MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.