DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter and her friends got into a bit of trouble at a party this weekend. My husband and I discovered that they were vaping. I know that this activity is targeted to teens. I also remember that I tried smoking cigarettes when I was a teenager. That said, I feel like the stakes are much higher for teens today than they were back in my time. Cigarettes do kill, but usually over many years of repetitive use. News reports today show that teenagers have been dying suddenly after vaping. Death should be a good enough scare tactic, but I’m not sure. I know these kids want to experiment. How can I get them to be safe when I know they want to try things? — Anti-Vaping
DEAR ANTI-VAPING: As you likely remember, teenagers typically think of themselves as invincible and rarely consider fatal consequences to their actions. And yet, as parents and adults, we want to protect them more than anything. Restricting them from certain behaviors only works to a certain extent when they spend so much time on their own. Scaring them with real examples of their peers coming into harm’s way may help.
Turning on the news or looking at a newspaper will show that people are getting sick and sometimes dying from vaping. This goes for vaping nicotine products and marijuana products. Tell your daughter directly that you know she and her friends have tried vaping and that you are 100% against it. Lay out your reasons, emphasizing that young people have died recently as a result of vaping.
Be direct by stating that you believe there are some things that are better left untried, or at least not tried again. Recommend that they move past vaping, because it isn’t worth it. Here’s an article that breaks down what is happening with vaping these days: bit.ly/31lDpS0.
Encourage your daughter to make smart choices for herself — she is worth it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I usually go to my hometown for Thanksgiving, but we aren’t doing that this year. The cost of travel is too high, so we are staying at our home.
I have not ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner. It’s always a big thing that I attend. I am married with three teenage children. I know we should do something, but I’m not prepared to take on the whole meal. Would it be horrible for me to take the family to a favorite restaurant? — New Thanksgiving
DEAR NEW THANKSGIVING: Here’s your chance to make Thanksgiving special for your family, even though you aren’t traveling to be with your extended family. Going to a restaurant is a fine idea. And trust that you will not be alone. Many restaurants serve special Thanksgiving meals. You do need to make reservations.
Build the idea with your family as a treat for the five of you. Plan it so that everyone gets dressed up and makes it a special event. You may want to invite everyone to talk about what they are grateful for, even this year when you are celebrating in a different way.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.