When it’s time for the “teen vaping talk” parents should have with their teenagers curious about vaping, the biggest piece of advice is – DON’T PROCRASTINATE.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported a continuing spike in teen vaping, a trend over the past half-decade. The rate is staggering. About 38 percent of high school students and 13 percent of middle schoolers experienced e-cigarettes during 2017-18.
In an interview with bellinghamherald.com, Meghan Lever, a prevention intervention specialist for Sehome (Wash.) High School, pointed to social media as a major contributor for the rise in teen vaping.
“I hate to pick something to blame because there are a lot of factors, but I think social media had a huge influence,” Lever said. “I’ve had (kids) say just that, ‘Because it’s cool. It’s all over social media. I follow these people on Instagram (and) they do these cool vape tricks.’ “
There are legitimate concerns among Lever’s peers that social media and other influencers will fuel a steady increase this year – and beyond.
As a parent, that should be concerning.
Talk to your children. Don’t procrastinate. Engage in the teen vaping talk
Lever offered some suggestions:
Regarding parents probing to learn how “street smart” their children really are, she advised:
“My suggestion is to always ask them what they know. And to be really open to the fact that they might know more than you.”
When it comes to dealing with the situation of keeping children off e-cigarettes, parents need to “really, really clear about what is right for your family, and what you believe in a way that acknowledges behaviors and is not judgmental of character,” Lever said.
Once children admit to having experimented with vaping, Lever suggested,“it’s really important when your kid says that they’re doing something like that, not to go straight into, ‘Well you need to stop, this is how you’re going to do it, blah blah blah.’ But, ask why are they doing it? Because ‘why?’ is going to tell you what to do next.”
Lever summed up her message to parents by telling bellinghamherald.com: “If your kid is doing something for this feeling of rebelling, (it’s) totally normal adolescent behavior to want that rush, to want to rebel, to want to push the limits. I’m like, ‘Cool, let’s let them rebel because that’s what their brain wants to do. But how do we do that in a way that teaches them how to do that in a healthy, fun, safe way?’ “
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