So how do I guide my kids to stay on the straight and narrow path? Well, I just like to point out things that I think are a danger or hazard in random situations and I talk about them. If I see an unsafe driver, I point out that that person could cause an accident. If I see someone smoking I tell my girls how doing that is just a really bad choice that can cause Cancer and kill you. Most of the time I get the impression that what I'm saying soars over my girls' heads and off into space, but then there are moments that assure me that they actually do listen to what I say. Those moments warm my heart.
Madeline has become the anti-smoking queen. She lectures adults she knows that smoke and tells them they need to stop. She threatens to take their cigarettes and break them and throw them away. She tells them that if they won't stop for their own health to stop for her so she won't have to lose them to cancer. She's a woman on a mission. She may not have convinced her Nana to quit, but she's giving it her best shot. She worries when she sees some neighborhood teens smoking. She wants to know why they do it. I explain that they think it makes them look cool (Madeline goes on her rant that this is NOT cool) and they don't consider the harmful health risks.
Today, I got further reassurance that Madeline will in all likelihood be a nervous Nellie who sticks to the straight and narrow like her mom. Our neighbor (who we don't really talk to much) was outside smoking this afternoon. Madeline was outside riding her bike and happened to pass by him as he exhaled. My poor girl came flying in the house about to burst into tears because she inhaled some of the smoke. She was incredibly upset by this. Now, I've never talked to her about second hand smoke. But today we had a small discussion about it. I reassured her that she's not going to die from this. (She's got my worry wort gene...poor kid.) While I'd hate for my child to be gripped by fear like this, I'm actually happy that she has so clearly grasped the no smoking message.
So far the messages that I have tried to convey to her have taken hold. I'm going to start ramping up my subtle directions and see what happens.