Smoking, Kids watch. Kids learn

Leonny – Singapore

I’ve written quite a few blog posts on how ‘adults greatly influence little children’ over the years.

How kids observe and learn from what they see and hear. How they are great imitators. How they are like a huge sponge, especially in their early years, absorbing everything about their ‘world’.
 
Now.
 
Quite a few weekends ago, I was invited by Edelman Singapore to attend Health Promotion Board’s event for parent bloggers at Go Go Bambini (Dempsey Hill).
It was a Saturday morning and all four of us went.
 
We met up with the friendly Edelman PR team and quite a few other parent bloggers, like Angeline and Joe Agustine’s wife, Adele, and her kids (and while the kids played, the parents chatted and listened to the talk).
 
Anyway. So what’s the event about?
 
Well. HPB recently launched this new campaign – ‘Stop Smoking Before Your Child Starts’ and they hope to further spread the message on the huge impact parental behaviours have on children.
 
I totally agree with their views on this issue, and I gladly support their campaign.
First I’d like to share with you this study done by Dartmouth College that suggests :
– children are highly attentive to their parents’ smoking habits
– they’re more likely to regard smoking as appropriate and normal behaviour in social settings, thus resulting in a higher likelihood of them picking up the habit later on in life.
 
cigarret
 
And I thought I’d share my personal experience on this.
 
I remember when I was little, I saw my dad smoked a lot. He started smoking when he was 17 years old (I don’t know if his dad smoked too).
 
I remember the smell, the cigarette pack in his shirt’s front pocket, the Zippo lighters, and the cigarette butts that can be found rather easily around our home. Even one of my maids smoked rather heavily too!
 
I remember how, at 6 – 7 years old, I was curious about what smoking was like (and was really tempted to take a little puff from a lighted cigarette left standing on an ashtray at home)
 
I remember how at 17 years old (I was still studying in Perth at the time), I found a packet of cigarettes left by my housemate’s boyfriend and I gave it a try when I was home alone.
 
I remember how I puffed and held the cigarette like I was a cool smoker (you know, like how they do it in the movies!). I nearly finished the whole cigarette and no, I didn’t cough nor choke.
 
But you know what, THAT was my first and last attempt at smoking.
 
Basically I didn’t find anything special about the whole experience. And I’m sure the fact that my good friends during my study in Perth were not smokers themselves played a huge role too!
 
I mean, if my peers were mostly smokers, the chance of me picking up the habit would be much higher (since it’s just so common for teens to want to be ‘accepted’ socially)
 
cigarette 2
 
I remember how my dad tried SO many different ways to quit smoking, and he said it was just too hard.
 
Until one day, he just did it.
 
He suddenly quit and completely hated the smell of cigarettes ever since.
I was amazed!
 
I think I was around 19yo then, and I still haven’t quite asked him HOW he did it (I’d have to find out one day!)
 
And so if you ask me, did my dad’s smoking habit have an effect on me as his child. I’d say YES.
 
But I’m thankful to God that when I left my family in Jakarta to study in Perth when I was 14 years old, I had friends who gave positive influence during my 9 years stay there.
I’m thankful to God that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour when I was Perth, for I know THAT made a huge difference too in terms of how I wanted to live my life and what I wanted to do TO my body.
 
AND, I’m very thankful too that my dad had totally quit smoking, because I could only imagine how Anya and Vai would’ve been greatly influenced by their grandpa whom they adore and look up to!
 
Yup. Kids watch. Kids learn.
Let’s make our influence a positive one!

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