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Smoking infront of your kids


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  • 1 Post By alittlelost
  • 1 Post By IronMamma

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  #1  
April 21st, 2013, 08:30 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Canada
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How do you or would you handle this?

When we have to be in the City we stay at my MIL's house. She is single and when DH and I got married her house suddenly got pretty empty. She really loves having us stay with her. And it saves us a lot of money we just can't afford to spend on hotels.

Here's my biggest issue. She smokes. I understand that she is an adult, and that it is her home, and I respect her personal decision to do whatever she'd like. But up until recently she would always smoke outdoors when I would visit. For some reason since I've been pregnant, she's now stopped that, and will sit by an open window and light up. I think she thinks that the window is going to suck the smoke outside, but all it does is blow it in. It makes it worse.

I usually try to go outdoors myself, or go into the room I'm staying in, close the door and open the window to get away from the smoke/smell. I haven't felt like I could say anything because it is her house. And I'm an adult who can choose to remove myself from the situation.

She also would make a point to go outside, even in -50 weather when my nephew was over to not smoke in the house with him.... the last time I was there with him, however she again had changed and smoked by the kitchen window while he was eating his lunch. This irked me, but he's not my child, so I didn't say anything.

With my own baby I'm just NOT ok with this. I do want to say something about it, not only for the health implications, but also because I don't need him growing up seeing a cigarette hanging out of his grandmother's mouth. I'm not ok with it being normalized like that.
It's not really an option to not stay with her, when we need to be in the city, but I'd be open to other suggestions, or tips on how to deal. Do I bring this up now? (as in have DH bring this up now?) He thinks we should just drop it until the situation presents itself... I'm already cringing about baby sucking on the side of her couch, and on any toys that sit in her living room etc... I really don't think that smokers understand what it is like for non smokers to be in their homes. Maybe I'm just extra sensitive to it, but it causes a physical reaction.

help.
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  #2  
April 21st, 2013, 08:46 AM
Destiny
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Just tell her that it's been making you uncomfortable and could cause problems for the baby even though he's not born yet. She'll probably be just fine smoking outside if you aren't okay with it.
I don't think it's impolite to ask.
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  #3  
April 21st, 2013, 09:46 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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My husband was a smoker. (He quit 2 weeks ago!)

He just did NOT see how his smoking could endanger other people. He didn't even believe it endangered himself. I would often tell him not to smoke in the car, and he would listen for a while, then start doing it again (where am I supposed to run away to in that scenario? it realllllly bothered me). Anyway, it took finding the RIGHT article to get him to stop smoking around me, and once he stopped smoking around me, he quit within a month. I don't know that he was like "oh, so smoking is unhealthy" or if he was like "this really has my wife worried, she's not just being a nag" but either way, he quit smoking.

However, keep in mind he has been a smoker as long as I've known him, so my kids have known he is a smoker. And they know my brother in law and sister in law and father in law are smokers. BUT they know I'm not a smoker. And I would also point out to them that their aunt and both their grandmas and their other grandpa are all not smokers. We just talked very openly with them about smoking and about how some people do it but they don't have to and how lots of great people they know DON'T smoke. They are always telling people they shouldn't smoke, too.

I think the best things you can do are:
Stay away from it as much as possible.
Talk openly and honestly to smokers about how you feel.
Talk openly and honestly with your kids about smoking, even if you sometimes have to do that IN FRONT OF a smoker.

I wouldn't stress that someone in their life is a smoker and that "normalizing" it. there's nothing normal about smoking, and you can make that clear by talking about it. It's just like if you have a family member who is often rude. That doesn't mean it's normal, it just means they are rude, and you teach your kids that rude ISN'T normal and part of that is just teaching them about it when the opportunity arises and trying to do you best to expose them to the things you like more often than the things you don't like. Complete sheltering, however, isn't necessary (though I can understand completely sheltering your child from the toxins of smoke--I just mean to say that if they see someone else smoking that doesn't mean it's normal).

Good luck dealing with the smoking relative.
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  #4  
April 21st, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Yeah the normalizing it is the least of my concerns... although it is one I'm willing to point out, I will never have any issues informing my child of the realities of smoking, I just don't think a 3 yr old needs to pretend to 'smoke' their sucker stick because they see other adults doing it... I'd rather he pretend it's a gun. (hopefully you get where I'm going with that)

It's actually illegal to smoke with children under 16 in the car, and smoking is banned in all public buildings here as well. Smoking in your home is really the only place left indoors that you are allowed to do so.

I don't want my child breathing in the smoke being the biggest issue. I just wish smokers 'got it'... I have lost family members to lung cancer (some who smoked, and some who only breathed in second hand smoke) There is no denying that it is toxic and kills. My brothers are both severely asthmatic, and me, without medical issues, my eyes and throat burn. In addition, how gross they smell, their house smells, etc that I can't ignore. I come home and have to shower and wash all my clothes AND the bag they were in just to get rid of the scent. I've washed the walls of a smoker's home before (we bought my grandpa's house, he smoked a pipe for years) the water was dripping brown off the walls. Now imagine what's in the fabric of their furniture, beds, bedding etc.
It may be crazy of me (I seem to be obsessing over everything these days) but I just have images of my baby sucking on the arm of her couch... I want to puke!

My problem is really that I can't be nice about it, and I wouldn't be able to say much about it, because it isn't my home, and I do feel that she can do whatever she'd like. However I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place because we don't really have other options for lodging while in the city.

I may have Dh have a conversation with her before baby arrives, just to feel things out.. I just hope to avoid confrontation down the road, because I will be more assertive when it comes to what I feel is best for baby.

I really struggle finding the balance between being respectful and standing up for and protecting my kids.
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  #5  
April 21st, 2013, 11:45 AM
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I would not want my child to breathe in smoke either. My Mother is also a smoker and she does smoke outside but she stinks like it, and that really urks me. But, I would let her know how uncomfortable it makes you and that you just do not want smoke around your child, period. I would be blunt about it. I know it can be hard since she is family but smoke is a serious issue. I hope you can find a solution. And I know from experience, that for SOME reason when you ask a smoker to please not smoke around you they seem to always get offended.

Lost, that's so great to hear about your hubby! I hope he can quit for good! I wish him luck!!
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  #6  
April 21st, 2013, 12:13 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thanks I'm sure he is quit for good. He's stubborn like that. Now he's trying to get OTHER people to quit haha.

Crunchy, in your situation, it's really easy to stick to your guns and be respectful. Simply let her know you respect her right to smoke, but want to know if she plans to continue to do it in her home when you are visiting, because if so you will have to limit visits to her coming to your home or meeting in public, as you aren't okay with exposing your child to smoke. It's not "rude" to be assertive about these things!

And I do understand how you feel about your kids seeing it. It's the same reason I won't let my kids have play dates in homes where parents spank their children. I know I can't shelter my kids from finding out some people hit their kids, but that doesn't mean I want them to see it any more than I can help it. Then when they do see it, I deal with it on my end, but limiting exposure makes sense to me
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  #7  
April 21st, 2013, 05:10 PM
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I also will never allow my child to go to a persons house where spanking is "ok" because it is not ok to me and this family.

Crunchy, I agree with you. I also wish smokers would just get it and know that they chose to smoke, not everyone else around them, but sadly, they don't.
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  #8  
April 21st, 2013, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchywannabe View Post
I think she thinks that the window is going to suck the smoke outside, but all it does is blow it in. It makes it worse.
You could have taken the words out of my mouth on this one. That is exactly what I'm dealing with. BF and my mom are of identical mind in this and it is driving me insane.

My recommendation is to start saying something now. I can almost guarantee it won't be an easy fight to win; better to start it now than when the smoke is going in your baby's lungs. Especially since it isn't feasible to stay in hotels. Tell her the dangers of smoking around a pregnant woman - that it lowers your blood oxygen (therefore the baby's oxygen), that the toxins you breathe in are going to the baby too, that prenatal exposure activates a baby's nicotine receptors, that babies exposed to cigarette smoke in utero tend to be more irritable, have lower birth weight, etc. It's recently also been found to increase a childs risk for leukemia (correlational). Make sure she cannot ignore the reality of the damage she is doing. Point out to her that she can get up and walk outside, but a baby can't. If you think it would make a difference at all, maybe tell her you won't be in her house if she doesn't smoke outside. And make a big deal out of it if she does make the effort. Thank her for being considerate and helping you ensure the health of your child. I always make sure BF knows how proud I am of him when he's doing well. Definitely avoid words like lazy, rude, inconsiderate, etc. I've seen a lot of people take that route and it does not help.

I know that it isn't your house and you don't feel you have the right to tell her what to do, but when it comes to your child, you do. You absolutely have a right to protect him, even if it pisses someone off. My parents smoked around me my entire life and I was constantly sick because of it. Now I'm 25, have asthma, and am still constantly sick - and I've never smoked in my life!

I hate it but I have had to take things to extremes. I'm not shy about it. This is only my position on it of course, because being nice got me nowhere. Being nice got me ignored. Only you can know what will work best with your MIL. I hope she won't be the kind of person to make you go to such lengths.
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Last edited by NinjaCakes; April 23rd, 2013 at 10:12 AM.
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  #9  
April 21st, 2013, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaCakes View Post
My recommendation is to start saying something now. I can almost guarantee it won't be an easy fight to win; better to start it now than when the smoke is going in your baby's lungs.
I agree with this.

I hope she will stop for the babies sake. I wish all smokers would.

Like me neighbor I told you ladies about a couple of weeks ago that smokes like literally inside my living room, well we made an agreement that she will text me every time she goes out so I can close my windows but it's getting insane. She smokes ALL day and ALL night. I woke out of my sleep last night with heart burn because my room was full of smoke. It's disgusting.
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  #10  
April 22nd, 2013, 03:46 AM
Destiny
Join Date: Oct 2009
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One of the big reasons we moved into a new place was because our downstairs neighbor smoked so much that me and the kids were getting sick literally every few weeks. Even when I got the landlord to get her to take it outside it still just reeked. (I doubt she was actually smoking outside every time, ick)
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  #11  
April 23rd, 2013, 06:15 AM
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Thats a tough one. I would have your DH say something to her. Hopefully she will be respectful and understand. I just don't get how people think its ok to smoke in front of kids. If they want to smoke thats their business but don't endanger innocent kids. My dh smokes but only outside and never ever in front of the kids. if he is smoking and they come outside he puts the cigarette out right away. And he always washes his hands when he comes in and he has a smoking jacket that he keeps in his truck. Not that i like that he smokes but I can't tell him to quit (ive tried and it didn't work he was super cranky and irritable).

Sorry for the story! I hope that your MIL listens and can respect your wishes. Good Luck!
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  #12  
April 23rd, 2013, 10:24 AM
*Jennifer*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Honestly, the best you can do is tell her your concerns about the smoking. If she chooses not the smoke outside, you will need to make other arrangements on where to stay.
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  #13  
April 23rd, 2013, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breathing for two View Post
One of the big reasons we moved into a new place was because our downstairs neighbor smoked so much that me and the kids were getting sick literally every few weeks. Even when I got the landlord to get her to take it outside it still just reeked. (I doubt she was actually smoking outside every time, ick)
DH and I talk about this nightly. Our neighbor smokes all the time, and even though we have an agreement that she texts us so we can close our windows, it's a huge inconvience. Not to mention, she smokes ALL night. Our house is constantly filling with smoke. It's absolutely disgusting. I just think it's absolute crap that nothing can be done about it.
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Want to find a calmer way to parent? Please visit here HINTA Hitting Is Never The Answer
Gentle parenting is about guiding instead of controlling,
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It's about listening, understanding, responding and communicating.

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