I’m Worried My Son is Vaping Behind My Back, What Should I Do?

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Okay, so we've got a couple of questions in here. Um, the first one is, I'm worried my son is vaping behind our backs. So the concern there from the parent is what do we do? What do we do? Yeah. So I'm, I'm gonna approach this it kind of in a different, uh, mindset. Um, I, and this is gonna sound like a really silly question, what's your concern with your son vaping behind your backs? Now, I'm gonna go through a couple different scenarios because that sounds like, sounds like a silly question. Well, shouldn't we be concerned? Absolutely, we should be concerned. But why is it the secret? Is it what can do to their body? Is it that they're intentionally hiding something from you? What's it doing to you as a parent? That's where we start this questioning because it's not just to say, okay, how do I get 'em to stop? We're more inclined to have more influence when we identify what it's doing to us. And then identifying our concern and how to communicate our concern. So first question as a parent, what, what is it doing to me? What's my concern? Second part of that is what am I trying to communicate? And third, how then do I communicate my concern and what I'm, my fears are and what my worries are with my child? This is, uh, really a way that we prepare to have communication. Now, you can go into communication, what I would say blindly. In other words, you're doing it mindlessly. You haven't thought through it, you haven't really thought through what I'm trying to say, which is actually why we don't do well in our communication in most relationships anyway, because we go into a communication that's really important, but we haven't thought through it. I mean, how many times would we go to a business meeting, not even asking ourselves, what am I trying to communicate? How would I do this presentation? How would I do this? We never do that in a business meeting. We think about it. We think about how our presentation, how we're gonna best communicate it, how they might respond. But when it comes to our most important relationships, we don't prepare. We go in there thinking that somehow we can wing, uh, such an important conversation. So my questioning to you is inviting you and all of us to contemplate in that kind of a situation. My child's vaping behind my back. What can I do? What are my concerns? What am I really trying to communicate? So if I was role playing with you, I may say something to this effect. Again, this is just winging it, but I might say something to the effect of, you know, I'm a little concerned and I, I, I might be wrong, I might be wrong. Um, but my instincts tell me that you've been vaping. Am I wrong? No, I have been. Help me understand what, what is that for you? What does it mean? I just thought I'd try it because to my friends, or it helps me feel less anxious, or I like how it makes me feel, all right. Would you do me a favor? Can, can we just learn about vaping and what it does or the potential consequences and harms can, can I do that with you? I, I I, I'm more concerned about your body as I've thought through this and how to communicate with you tonight, because I love you, I care about you, and that, that's why I'm bringing this up. And I haven't done it this way. In the past, I probably would been on down your throat and upset and angry, and that's not the person, the mom or dad I want to be. So tonight I'm gonna see if I can do it different so we can have a more productive conversation. Is that okay? Now just notice just that process that we just went through. How much more effective would I be? I've thought through it. I've acknowledged I wanna communicate with love. I, I'm more communicate with kindness. I haven't done it this way in the past, I haven't done it well. I mean, all of that could disarm our child. So we could actually have a meaningful conversation. Then we can actually get to the data, the information, the education, the worries, the legitimate concerns. But we're setting the table for success. Rather than coming in and saying, Hey, I think, you know, I wanna just say, I know you've been vaping. Why are you lying to me? And that just shuts 'em down. So preparation, proper preparation helps us communicate authentically and real in a way that we can have more meaningful impact or influence on our children. So proper preparation prevents a pound of pain, lots of Ps there. But when we do it properly, then we can communicate authentically about what our real concern is. And that's actually modeling for our children what works. So I'm not asking, you know, them to stop yet I'm educating them, but before I'm educating them, I'm creating a foundation of a relationship. Relationship before rules. Understanding before advice is a much more effective approach as parents because it has much more significant lasting consequences.

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Dr. Kevin Skinner