Would you like to help your teen overcome smoking? Are you unsure on how to go about in helping your teen overcome smoking? To help understand what may have influenced your teen to start smoking and how you can help your teen overcome smoking, I have interviewed therapist Wendy Becker, LCSW.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a licensed psychotherapist and divorce mediator with Front Range Counseling and Mediation, PC located in Fort Collins, Colorado. My agency provides individual, couples and family therapy, divorce mediation, parenting education and support, and supervised visitation services.”
“I have a Masters degree in Social Work from Saint Louis University and have received post graduate training in hypnosis from the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and the Colorado School of Counseling Hypnotherapy. I also have additional training in divorce mediation.”
What are common influences that start a teen to smoke?
“The first and most important influence on any child is their parents. If a parent smokes, they are essentially telling their children it is okay, even normal to smoke.”
“As children get older, their peers become the major influence in their lives. This is especially true for teenagers. If the peer group a teen belongs to or aspires to belong to smokes, the teen may feel pressure to smoke just to be part of the group.”
“The media is another important influence on teens; however, in recent years, smoking is glorified less in music, television, movies and advertisements. I believe this has had a positive influence on teenage tobacco use.”
What type of impact can smoking have on a teen’s overall life?
“Nicotine is a drug and is addictive in the same ways that heroin and methamphetamines are. Nicotine attaches to feel good receptors in the brain, and like other drugs, with continued use will cause the body to develop a tolerance so that more and more of it is needed to induce the same good feelings.”
“Smoking can cause a variety of serious health problems including cancer. Additionally, smoking causes bad breath and yellowing of the enamel on the teeth, both of which could have negative social effects. Smoking also decreases a person’s ability to smell and taste.”
How can a parent help their teen to overcome smoking?
“If a parent is smoking, it is important that he or she quit to model a healthier lifestyle and “practice what they preach” when encouraging their teen to quit. Educating their teen about the negative health effects of smoking can also help. Talking, not lecturing will increase the likelihood that their message will be heard.”
“Because nicotine is an addictive drug, withdrawals are likely to occur when a teen stops smoking. Withdrawals include irritability, restlessness, physical and psychological cravings, and difficulty concentrating. Parents can support their teen by being understanding as they go through withdrawals and providing a supportive environment so that it is a little bit easier to overcome them.”
What type of professional help is available for a teen that smokes?
“Hypnosis is an effective therapy to help in the process of quitting smoking, but make sure that the hypnotherapist is a licensed psychotherapist, too, so that the addiction and withdrawals are effectively addressed.”
“Certain vitamins and minerals help the body deal with stress so consulting with a dietitian can help you know what foods to incorporate into your diet to assist in dealing with some of the stress associated with quitting. Something as simple as increasing your intake of vitamin C can help because your body can deplete your store of this vitamin when dealing with stressors including withdrawals.”
“You can also talk with your doctor about medications and nicotine replacement products such as patches, gums and lozenges that may help with the withdrawals. Not all products are recommended for teens, so it is very important to consult with a physician before giving to teenagers.”
Thank you Wendy for doing the interview on how a parent can help their teen overcome smoking. For more information on Wendy Becker or her work check out her website on www.FRCMPC.com.
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