“Courage is daily, wellness is daily, greatness is daily.” Sir John Kirwan
This quote is brilliant and I’m adding another brilliant line myself: Parenting is daily.
Consistency is key. You can’t be, “Well, okay I’ll live with you vaping one day,” to, “There’s no way in hell you’re vaping,” the next day. It’s so much easier (for everyone) to set your boundaries and stick with them.
You know where you stand and you communicate that clearly.
They know where you stand and they organise themselves around you. They may not agree with your stand and that’s ok. It’s a learning opportunity for both of you and a chance to have robust discussions.
Let’s take vaping. Based on your knowledge of it, what are your thoughts/opinions/views? Do some research. Google it. Talk to your friends. Talk to your teenagers in a clearly stated, “I’m gathering research and I’m interested in your contribution to my knowledge,” mode of chat. Have well thought out questions like
- “How common is vaping?”
- “Why do you think people vape?”
- “How easy is it to buy?”
- “How do people get hold of it?”
- “What do you think the long term consequences of vaping will be?”
Be curious, open to answers and interested in what they have to say. It will pay to bribe your mumma bear to go eat some honey in another place so she doesn’t arrive suddenly screaming, ‘NO WAY. YOU LITTLE SHIT. WT???? YOU ARE GROUNDED FOREVER.” Sorry mumma bear, you can make your entrance later. Keeping your gut reaction to their answers aside for now: be nosey, be curious, be interested in their world. And remember to thank them for their honest answers. Some of you may be going, “Huh? How do I do that?” If that’s you, go and enrol in ‘TeenTalk’ and come back to this later.
You are their parent. Having a discussion with your teenager, or adolescent (that’s ages 9 – 25), about vaping doesn’t mean you are giving them the green light to go and vape. It simply means you’re open to an honest and upfront discussion about it.
Once you’ve done your research take the time to have another discussion. This time with a partner, trusted friend, or coach to work through your opinion. This is an adult only discussion. It’s also an opportunity to air out differences in your parenting opinions before you approach the topic officially with your teenagers. It’s a no-holds-barred-not-for-your-ears discussion that may need more than one sitting. You are looking for clarity and a reflection of your values in your opinions and beliefs. Gaining this clarity is priceless, it means you will be able to stand firm when you don’t see eye to eye with your teenager. Being challenged is hard work.
Having that clarity and alignment with your values will allow you to clearly state your position and stick with it.
Then be ready to do just that. To have your opinion and to stand behind it. There’s no right or wrong here. Parenting opinions on vaping can be found on any part of the continum and range from “What’s vaping?” right through to, “Let me buy that for you and your mates.” Your stance is your stance. It will never keep everyone happy. Just be prepared to stick with it. Vaping is a thing. It is enormous in the adolescent world. Hope is not a strategy here folks.
Let your opinion be known. If your teenager already owns a vape and you aren’t happy about it, be prepared to remove it. And to impose consequences. It’s ok. You are the parent. Be responsible for what you allow and don’t allow.
If your teenager kicks up a fuss then talk through the changes as much as possible. They may need help to change friend groups, or to deal with addiction issues. Get that help for them without any judgement, just with love. You may need to approach their school to get an official line on the standard policy. If you are vaping yourself you may need to stop.
Whatever your decision is, be consistent. Parenting is daily.
To book an exploratory session with Melanie follow this link, approaching parenting with clarity is priceless.