Talking with Teenagers about Vaping
Teenagers are difficult animals to deal with. Full of new found hormones and levels of knowledge that during previous years was unobtainable to them, they’re difficult to talk to and can often be argumentative about nothing in particular. There’s no point being judgemental about it, we were all the same we just didn’t realise it at the time because we were full of hormones and previously impossible to achieve knowledge.
Of course this means that they are likely to try new things, just like we all did when we were teenagers. So how do you go about talking to them about vaping? It’s not an easy topic to address, especially as it is a relatively harmless pastime, so how do you address it?
Don’t Talk Down to Them
This may seem obvious, but if you talk down to your teenager, they’re not going to engage with you. It can lead to them lying to you, ignoring you or even flying into a rage. No-one likes being spoken down to, especially not people who are just discovering their ability to engage in adult conversations. Make sure that when you begin to talk to your teenager that you’re not just talking at them, have a conversation with them. It will make everything else a lot easier.
Ask About Their Opinions
How often do you feel like you’re just waiting for your turn to speak when you’re having a conversation with someone? Don’t make your teenager feel like this when you’re engaging with them. Start off by asking them what they think about vaping, they’ll surprise you with just how honest they’ll be with you if they can see you genuinely care what they have to say. Don’t just be waiting to speak, listen to what they have to say and take it on board.
Once you have found out their opinions on vaping and what they actually know about it, you can decide how to proceed.
Put Them Right, Without Putting Them Down
It’s not nice to be wrong about something, it’s even worse if someone makes you feel bad about it too. Don’t make that mistake when you’re talking to your teenager about vaping. If they have their facts wrong, don’t jump on it like a tiger on a deer. Be gentle when you correct them. It’s always better to say “that’s not quite right” than it is to say “nope, that’s wrong.” They’re both saying the same thing, but one doesn’t sound like an attack and that’s important when talking with your teenager, you don’t want them to feel like they’re being attacked.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should allow them to continue to believe false information. Always be prepared to back up what you’re saying with studies too, teenagers in general won’t believe the words of their parents, it’s just a default response. You may need to prove what you’re saying is right.
Warn Them of the Dangers
Vaping is significantly safer than smoking. We all know this. However, there is one area where it can affect teenagers in a more adverse way than it can anyone else. Nicotine. Nicotine on its own is addictive, but to an adult it’s not a substance that is overly harmful. However, in teenagers this isn’t the case. Nicotine can damage undeveloped brains which is why you should warn your teenager of the effects of using an e-liquid with a nicotine content.
This doesn’t mean you should go biblical on them and attempt to guilt them into staying away. Teenagers tend to be quite hard headed and stubborn, rather just tell them of the damage nicotine can do to a developing brain and let them know you’d prefer it if they used a nicotine free e-liquid if they intend on vaping. The show of respect is more likely to get a positive reaction than forbidding them to do something.
Help Them to Buy the Best Products
You will find that if your teenager has set their mind of vaping then it doesn’t matter if you approve or disapprove, they’re going to keep doing it. So if this is the case it makes sense to provide them with the best quality equipment to do so. You don’t want them to buy a vapourizer from a disreputable source that might not be up to the requisite safety requirements. You will want them to have the best vapourizer possible, for safety reasons at the very least.
Of course if you purchase their e-liquid for them then you can either ensure you get nicotine free liquids or at least keep the levels as low as possible to shield them from it. By taking an active part in their vaping you can help them to trust you more and it will improve your relationship with them in the long term.
Support Their Decision
Whatever they choose to do you should support them. Of course if they are below the legal age to smoke and they are using nicotine e-liquids you should definitely endeavour to help them move away from them. This is best done by offering support though, not by making demands and attempting to force them to stop. This will just lead to them digging in their heels and clinging to their nicotine e-liquids. This will make kicking the addiction even harder for them.
If you offer your teenager support then they are more likely to trust you in the future about other subjects they need to talk about.
The easiest way to achieve all of this is to be approachable. If you’re not approachable and are liable to overreact to things then your teenager is unlikely to come to you when they need to talk. Stay calm and make sure you listen to what your teenager has to say, they are more mature than you think and you might just be surprised at their reasoning behind the decisions they make. Remember, respect is a two way street and if you don’t give it to them they are unlikely to give it back.
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