Haha I know you are probably reading the title of this post thinking…what is Brittany going to write now, but bare with me, I might say something helpful. Well, the other day we were walking around the mall and we passed these little boys (probably early teens) who looked like they were smoking. They had what looked like cigarettes and they were putting them up to their mouths and blowing out. After we passed them I was telling my husband how horrible it was that those boys were smoking. I proceeded to go on about how people should really stop and ask them what they are doing and how old they are…that by just walking by, we are allowing them to ruin their lives. Of course my wonderful husband turned to me and said, “Well why don’t you go say something?” So I turned back and went over to them. I asked them if those were real cigarettes and found out they were just candy cigarettes (whoever made those should probably be tried for shortening the lives of millions of teenagers). I told them we just wanted to make sure they were being healthy (ridiculous, I know, but it’s all I could think of in the moment) and turned back, but I thought a lot about why those boys thought it was so “cool” to pretend like they were smoking. Shouldn’t young boys be skateboarding, playing basketball, swimming, etc.?
I worked at a treatment center for teenage girls and one of the biggest problems was substance abuse. When the girls would first come in we would interview them about their leisure activities. Many of them sadly had none and said that one of the reasons for using drugs or alcohol was they did it with their friends and didn’t know of anything else to do. I think that this was one of the problems with these boys. What else would be better than posing like smokers at the mall? Well, of course there are tons of things to do.
As parents, we need to introduce our kids to positive leisure. Sure it’s easier to turn on the tv but what are we really teaching our children? Nothing! We are letting the media teach our children and we are leaving their minds racing for some other way to get a thrill. We need to teach our children sports, do crafts, help them work on worthwhile projects, even chores and helping around the house are important. So turn off the tv right now and try something new. Teach your kids a new game, cook something together, go on a walk, or just drive around town and talk. Putting in a little effort could truly lengthen your child’s life and definitely will enrich your life as you put time into the most important job you will ever have!