by Joy Robyn Dembo, married, with an 18 year old son and a 25 year old daughter.  Addicted to the www, particularly Twitter. Recruitment Response Handling Consultant and Freelance Copywriter, vegetarian and animal lover.  Here’s her blog.

For about a year I suspected that my son smoked. His clothes often smelled of smoke and I found cigarettes and lighters in his pockets, from time to time.

But, when I asked him about it, he always replied that he had been with people who were smoking and/or one of his friends had asked him to hang on to his cigarettes and he had forgotten to give them back.  For a while I believed him, but those nagging suspicions kept returning.

To be honest, I would rather he didn’t smoke as he is damaging his lungs, but he is 18 and, I feel I cannot forbid him from smoking at this age.  So, the real issue was whether he was lying to me, not whether he was smoking.  But, since it wasn’t high priority I didn’t devote too much time to worrying about it.

Anyway, about 2 months ago, I found a packet of cigarettes and a lighter in his bag when he came home from one of his chef practical shifts.  I was looking for his apron, when I cam across the pack.  Now I knew for certain that he smoked.  So, I challenged him, and realising he had really

Credit: dailymail.co.uk

Credit: dailymail.co.uk

been caught red handed, he confessed.

My hubby made a bit of an issue of it, but I just reminded him that he was screwing up his health and left it at that.

I think he was relieved that it was out in the open and that he could smoke in the garden at home, when he felt like it.

He isn’t a heavy smoker, but as anyone who has smoked knows, when the craving hits, you can climb the walls if you don’t have any cigs.  So, when he had to use his last R100-00 to retrieve his cell phone after it was confiscated by a teacher, when it rang in class, he was very agitated because he had no money for cigarettes.

Seeing how uptight he was, and understanding how he felt since I was a smoker myself many, many years ago, I was faced with a terrible dilemma.  Do I buy him a pack, and feel guilty because I am aiding and abetting him in destroying his lungs or do I let him suffer and feel guilty because he is suffering?  A no win situation, indeed!

Eventually, I bought him a pack of 10, but didn’t give them to him right away. I was waiting to see how he reacted when I fetched him from college.  Not having smokes for about 48 hours was taking its toll on him, and he begged me to lend him some money to buy cigarettes.  After trying to talk him out of smoking all the way home, I eventually gave in and gave him the pack.  His eyes lit up and he hugged me and thanked me repeatedly.

Did I do the right thing?  I would be interested to hear what other moms and dads think.

Note: If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the uniquely detailed free weekly newsletter for parents in Gauteng – Jozikids – or KwaZulu-Natal – Kznkids