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.