Ask Rene:
I Caught My 14-Year Old Smoking In His Room!
Now What?


Dear Rene,

I consider myself a pretty hip mom. My kids and I have great open conversations and I’m happy to say my kids are not embarrassed to have their friends meet me. I feel like the “cool” mom on the block.

But, my “coolness” is being tested. In the last few weeks I’ve suspected that one of my kids is smoking. I’ve come home a few times and thought I smelled remnants of cigarette smoke covered up by the scent of air freshener. I didn’t want to accuse my kids of anything, but wonder if they are smoking.

Last week my suspicions were confirmed. I came home unexpectedly and walked into my 14-year-old son Josh’s room to find him and his friends smoking cigarettes while listening to music. Needless to say everyone was surprised. Me, for what I was seeing and the boys because they had been caught. I calmly asked Josh to wrap up the party and tell his friends to go home, which he did.

I haven’t spoken to Josh yet about his smoking and am not sure what’s the best way to approach it. Since kids are known to experiment I don’t want to make a big deal about it.

Rene, how can this “cool” mom have a conversation with her young son about his smoking?


Cynthia, Toronto



Oh, Cynthia:

Well I’m glad you wrote but I’m gonna have to be a bit of a hard ass with you. There are two components here, Josh and the smoking and you and your parenting. One has a relatively easy fix (at least with regard to it happening on your watch); the other is gonna take some work, including soul-searching on your part.

Here we go:


1. Josh Smoking In Your House

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Uh, hmm, how can I put this in a way you will understand. HELL NO! NO, NEVER, NUNCA, NIETE, NO!

You may have heard by now smoking is bad. Bad, bad, BAD! Smoking causes more deaths than car accidents, HIV, drug and alcohol use and murder and suicide COMBINED! It’s also gross and a helluva habit to kick once addicted. Did you know 90 percent of smokers today, started as children and nearly 4,000 kids become regular smokers EVERY DAY? That is stunning and you must do everything in your power to keep your son from becoming part of that statistic. So here's my advice.