smoking and 13 year old ds

(61 Posts)

I caught him smoking, in his room angry. I went nuts (as you would) he started crying and when we we both calmed down we had a talk about why he was doing it.

It turns out he has been smoking for a while and a lot of his mates smoke, Ive put consequences in, grounding, given him a lecture about how dangerous it is

He was very honest with me and said he feels anxious and stressed a lot (he has asd and adhd) and his relationship with his dad has hit an all time low and he is very upset about that. He has problems at school which are not helped by the schools attitude and lack of support and ds says smoking helps calm him down sad

I can't be angry with him, I just can't. I'm disapointed and upset that he has started to smoke but he has been through so much. He has struggled to accept his diagnosis of asd and its either his way or the highway.

All I can do is put in boundaries around the smoking, he never ever does it in front of me or the other dc, I will not be providing him with money to smoke and just hope he sees the light.

So come on I'm a fool aren't I? But Ive been through so much with ds, violence, aggression, truanting, asd diagnosis and so on that I just can't get worked up about the smoking (although it worries me yes) and he's only 13.

Anyone?

Maryz Mon 06-May-13 08:24:55

I can't tell you how to stop him, but this rings alarm bells for me.

ds started smoking at 12/13 - he has Asperger's and says he started because it helped calm his anxiety hmm. He very swiftly moved on to cannabis and other forms of self-medication and has struggled with addiction since.

Don't underestimate the damage cannabis can do, and don't underestimate the chances of a smoker trying dope - it is rife in most teenage groups at the moment.

Looking back, I wish I had insisted the doctor took ds more seriously and prescribed him an anxiolytic/antidepressants. They don't like medicating children - but in my case ds medicating himself caused and is still causing a lot of damage.

Put simply, if smoking makes your son feel more able to manage life, why wouldn't he smoke? And unless you keep him locked up you probably can't stop him. So maybe you need to be proactive and offer an alternative?

I will probably be slated for this opinion, but that's how I feel.

I agree with Maryz. In reality you will not be able to stop him. They will always find a way.

Go to a gp appointment yourself to explain and then take ds along another time.

In the meantime the electronic cigarettes really are a good alternative. Would he try that and see how it goes?

AngryFeet Mon 06-May-13 08:32:57

Smoking is a stimulant not a depressant so will actually be making things worse not better.

travellingwilbury Mon 06-May-13 08:33:45

Would getting the Dr to explain the facts of smoking to hin help do you think ? It dies not help you to relax that is just not true . if anything it raises your heartbeat and makes you more anxious because you are always worrying about how you are going to get the next one .

I say this as a recent ex smoker by the way and I loved smoking , but most of the reasoning we give ourselves are easily dissproved .

Self medicating in whatever way at 13 is never going to be a good idea really .

Nehru Mon 06-May-13 08:34:53

Be bloody scary. Not understanding.
My s1 tried it. I read the riot act and told him all money would stop sharp ish.

travellingwilbury Mon 06-May-13 08:36:39

I would also think about why he was smoking in his bedroom , to my mind that is the action of someone who wants to be caught .

Maryz Mon 06-May-13 08:39:48

He will know the facts and dangers of smoking. It is driven into them at school, at home, everywhere.

Teenagers live in the day, they don't worry that they might die at 70 from lung cancer. And autistic teenagers live even more in the moment than most teenagers.

If he thinks smoking makes him less anxious, then unfortunately it will, if that makes sense. It's like the teenager girls who smoke because they think it helps them lose weight. Facts, warnings, threats etc will have little affect. You need to offer him an alternative way of calming himself - whether it be medication, or meditation, or yoga, or exercise. Something that he believes helps to calm him.

Branleuse Mon 06-May-13 08:41:26

how on earth can he afford smoking at 13.
its not like you can get 10 for a quid anymore like when I was at school.

travellingwilbury Mon 06-May-13 08:43:37

Fair point , I suppose its the same as telling a self harmer that cutting can't possibly be helping them cope when clearly to them it is .

I am dreading the teenage years ,

No but you don't have to buy a whole packet either. Friends will put in together.

As a smoker I can tell you that if it was as simple as knowing the medical facts I would have given up years ago. It's not that easy.

It may raise your heart rate but it is the psychological effect that is calming. It overrides a raised heart rate.

He needs an alternative and you need to work with him to discover what works for him.

Maryz Mon 06-May-13 08:46:51

They buy packets and split them.

They cadge them from strangers at bus stops.

They sell xbox games to their friends.

They (when they move on to cannabis) do a bit of wheeling and dealing, and then stealing.

If kids are desperate enough (and unfortunately ime many kids with ASD and ADHD do get desperate), they can always get money. Keeping them short of money doesn't actually stop them doing anything, even though their parents think it will.

Maryz Mon 06-May-13 08:48:53

I'm really sorry to sound so negative Ghosts. Hopefully you clamping down will be enough to stop him smile

But just bear in mind that if he is smoking not for fun, or to be cool, but because he believes he has to, then another approach will be much more effective in the end. Letting him know you believe him and understand that he thinks it helps, and offering him another way to calm himself will be more effective than just punishing or telling him not to do it, iyswim.

noddyholder Mon 06-May-13 08:55:39

My ds is much older 18 and 90% of his mates male and female smoke. Even parents I know who think theirs don't are wrong! My ds smokes v little but his best mate smokes like a trooper and parents health nuts It's a hard one easier to control pre 16

All of the boys in DS1's year who started smoking cigarettes at school moved on to weed by the age of 16.

A boy in DS2's year lives near us. He has always been a difficult child. He started smoking at 13 (DS talks to him and tells me all about it). Now he is 15 and heavily into drugs.

The two did not used to go together when I was that age in the 1970s but in my limited experience in a rural area they most certainly do now. I am sorry this isn't very helpful OP but I fear you do need to get worked up about smoking.

flow4 Mon 06-May-13 09:38:54

My DS1 (18) has been smoking since he was 12. sad Like noddy's son, the vast majority of his mates do too. There is almost always someone with a spare fiver (perhaps from a parent who offered to pay for a kebab) and that's enough to buy a pouch of tobacco and some papers, and let a whole gang of them smoke that evening. Or someone has a smoking parent who's carelessly left their cigs/baccy lying around...

Unfortunately, once they're hooked, cigarettes do have a calming effect. But that's because nicotine only stays in the body a very short time, and withdrawal starts after mere hours - so anxiety and restlessness are withdrawal symptoms that the nicotine then eases.

Plus of course teenagers often feel adulthood control their whole lives, and one of the appeals of smoking is that adults disapprove, don't know or can't stop it.

I'd say the best chance you have, Ghosts, is to get your DS very involved in hobbies that prevent him from smoking. If he loves something that isn't compatible with smoking, that may motivate him to stop. Sport and physical exercise are obviously good, cos they require you to breathe. They also help with underlying anxiety, stress and depression. smile Anything you need your hands for is also good. Or looking after animals...

You might find your son's ASD actually works in your favour here... My friend's AS DS became passionately anti-smoking after he researched and memorised the full content of cigarettes, their chemicals and effects! He was especially disgusted to discover there's tar in cigs, and that it is also used on roads!

cheeseandpineapple Mon 06-May-13 09:40:27

Wise words from Maryz.

flow4 Mon 06-May-13 09:41:25

adulthood *adults !

You might not be able to control the smoking, but this is an opportunity to help and support him with the stress and anxiety he has described.

I would make an appt with the GP (write all the concerns down before you go) and ask for a referral to CAMHS.

It may be that CBT can help him.

Nehru Mon 06-May-13 09:45:40

just stop giving him money fgs

Thank you all for your replies. I honestly thought I would get a roasting smile

He smokes tobacco. A small pouch which costs 3-4 pounds will last him a week or two, where he gets it from is another matter. He used to buy them off his friends who also smoke, 50 p a rollie or something like that and now an older boy in year 11 who looks 18 will buy them for him angry

yes I think he did want to get caught. He did say to me that he had wanted me to find out for weeks and was too scared to tell me which is why he lit up so I would smell it and go rushing in. His logic baffles me at times!

Maryz no you are not negative and I find what you're saying makes perfect sense. It frightens me to death about him moving on to cannabis and even worse and he is the type of child who will go down that route. I will take him to the doctors and I really think he needs councilling unfortunately the school are not cooperating and keep fobbing me off, Ive asked for appointments with the senco only to be told she is out of the office, will ring but never does or is too busy.

The issues with his dad have really really upset him and his dad does not have a clue about how to talk to him. We are sep
separated but are very civil and he has a lot to do with the kids but he has let them down a lot over the past 6 months due to work, uni and his gf and ss commitments, there is no routine with him and he refuses to acknowledge any part in his sons behaviour instead lecturing him as soon as he sees him, has asked for ds key back to the house he shares with his mum saying that he doesn't want any smoker or badly behaved child in his house (even though ds is respectful there, never smokes inside, will even clear his mess up!)

No I also don't think withholding money would work either because he will get them somehow and stealing would be the next step, he's done it before when I stopped his money

I will talk to him again and try and come up with alternative ways to help him, I will def go to the doctors though that's the first step isn't it. Once he has decided on a particular behaviour its very hard to change his mindset and that's what worries me

Sometimes ds can be the most lovely dc, We spent two hours one night last week with him teaching me and his 10 year old dsis how to use a sewing machine (he learnt in school) and it was a really lovely evening and funny too and then the next day he was caught smoking and skipping lessons in school. I despair.

And how would he get to school nehru? He needs bus money and lunch money! And he would steal to get what he wants, he's done it before

flow4 good point about the hobbies, he does have fads though, scooter one month, bike the next, loses interest in those, I banned his xbox cos of his violent behaviour (which improved) then he starts smoking because he is 'bored as I took his xbox away' argh

Nehru Mon 06-May-13 09:54:29

Bis pass. Packed lunch.
Sorry. Think our parenting styles different here.
I'd not stand for it.

do you have a child with autism and adhd nehru? Or a child with severe mental issues? Its really not that simple

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