Author Topic: Smoking around kids- need some advice  (Read 6471 times)

Millennialworkerbee

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Smoking around kids- need some advice
« on: January 12, 2018, 05:11:50 PM »
I've been trying to ignore a problem we've been having with my MIL and I really need some advice. The people on this forum are usually pretty level headed compared to some of the other mommy groups out there so I'm hoping you all can help.

My MIL watches our son for us while we work. She is also a pack a day smoker. We were very clear about some ground rules when she started watching him (wash hands after smoking, ideally have a smoking jacket to take on/off, at least 15 feet away when both outside and smoking, etc. these were largely based on pediatricians advice).

Well she has eventually let it all slide. Tonight she was hotboxing her car that my son was about to get into 5 minutes later.

I know what my answer is: we need a new daycare situation. This will DEVASTATE her, she "only lives for her grandson" (her words). But I feel it is my job to protect him and letting him be around that on a daily basis isn't protecting him.  My husbandwas raised in that environment so while he is a great parent, the smoking thing is normalized for him and he isn't as bothered by it.

I will be the mean DIL even though we will present it as a joint decision (and it will be). Just her personality- she doesn't get along with other women.

I guess I'm looking for sympathy, making sure I'm not overreacting, and similar experiences. It makes me sad because she is an awesome grandma, and my son adores her.

Gin1984

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 05:16:17 PM »
I've been trying to ignore a problem we've been having with my MIL and I really need some advice. The people on this forum are usually pretty level headed compared to some of the other mommy groups out there so I'm hoping you all can help.

My MIL watches our son for us while we work. She is also a pack a day smoker. We were very clear about some ground rules when she started watching him (wash hands after smoking, ideally have a smoking jacket to take on/off, at least 15 feet away when both outside and smoking, etc. these were largely based on pediatricians advice).

Well she has eventually let it all slide. Tonight she was hotboxing her car that my son was about to get into 5 minutes later.

I know what my answer is: we need a new daycare situation. This will DEVASTATE her, she "only lives for her grandson" (her words). But I feel it is my job to protect him and letting him be around that on a daily basis isn't protecting him.  My husbandwas raised in that environment so while he is a great parent, the smoking thing is normalized for him and he isn't as bothered by it.

I will be the mean DIL even though we will present it as a joint decision (and it will be). Just her personality- she doesn't get along with other women.

I guess I'm looking for sympathy, making sure I'm not overreacting, and similar experiences. It makes me sad because she is an awesome grandma, and my son adores her.
I'm with you.  I'd be finding a new daycare stat.  However, it takes a long time to do so, so I'd look before you tell her.

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wordnerd

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 05:41:07 PM »
Yeah, don't mess around with your kid's health. Find a new childcare situation and accept whatever damage to the relationship. My condolences.

lizzzi

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 06:01:25 PM »
Yes, with what we now know about the hazards of second-hand smoke, you cannot let her babysit your child if she is going to smoke. You'll have to find other daycare arrangements and let the chips fall. It isn't worth your child's health. It isn't as if you're just on a family visit and it's an occasional thing. (Not that that's OK either.) This can cause real harm to your child, and if the grandmother feels she has to smoke, you can't let her be the babysitter.

This isn't the 1950s anymore, when smoking was "cool" and nobody realized the dangers.

letired

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 06:08:43 PM »
You are doing the right thing.

Growing up, my best friend's father smoked indoors while she was young, though he later moved it outdoors he was never able to quit. My friends' chronic allergies and asthma are still a major health issue 30+ years later.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 06:16:52 PM »
Wouldn't it be more helpful to simply TALK to your MIL before wrenching your child away from her?  Set your parameters, and make it very clear that any future infractions will result in him heading to the nearest daycare.

If you have already drawn the line in the sand and she has crossed it, fine, make other arrangements.  However, without speaking to her first you are asking for family discourse (and yes, you will definitely be viewed as the bad one.)


Gin1984

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 06:50:38 PM »
Wouldn't it be more helpful to simply TALK to your MIL before wrenching your child away from her?  Set your parameters, and make it very clear that any future infractions will result in him heading to the nearest daycare.

If you have already drawn the line in the sand and she has crossed it, fine, make other arrangements.  However, without speaking to her first you are asking for family discourse (and yes, you will definitely be viewed as the bad one.)
Daycares can have a year wait list, and they have already spoken to her.  She broke the agreement and I, personally, don't believe in giving second chances with my child's health.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 07:35:40 PM »
Wouldn't it be more helpful to simply TALK to your MIL before wrenching your child away from her?  Set your parameters, and make it very clear that any future infractions will result in him heading to the nearest daycare.

If you have already drawn the line in the sand and she has crossed it, fine, make other arrangements.  However, without speaking to her first you are asking for family discourse (and yes, you will definitely be viewed as the bad one.)
Daycares can have a year wait list, and they have already spoken to her.  She broke the agreement and I, personally, don't believe in giving second chances with my child's health.

Then perhaps they need to put the child on a bunch of waitlists, AND talk to Grandma.  If Grandma just cannot help herself, then it is definitely time for some drastic action, and hopefully a spot will have come up somewhere. 

It makes me sad because she is an awesome grandma, and my son adores her.

For this reason alone, I think it is worth talking to her. 


HomeSweetLab

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 02:09:02 AM »
This is a difficult situation. I understand that some elderly people are set in their ways, and simply won't give up their vices.

Have you talked to her about potentially switching to E-cigarettes? She get's the nicotine hit, but without the secondhand smoke problem for you child.

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 05:43:43 AM »
Thanks for all the responses. This decision is going to change our relationship with them forever, which is why I have such concern about it.

We have addressed it several times in the moment (can you please wash your hands, go around the corner with that when you're outside, etc). We haven't sat down and said "we feel like you are majorly disregarding the boundaries we want". After a long talk last night, we agreed that my husband is going to have that talk tomorrow afternoon with her.

As far as an ultimatum, I'm not personally a fan, at least in this situation. For one, I just don't feel like it's a positive bargaining tool between adults. Second, we won't be able to pull my son immediately because of the waitlist a problem mentioned. Luckily we are alread.

Thanks for the suggestion about the ecigarettes, I hadn't thought about that before.

ubermom4

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2018, 07:18:18 AM »
Am sorry you are facing this with your MIL. It is a tough situation that is pretty clear. She loves her grandson but can't handle her addiction around him. You need to protect your son -- second hand smoke is very serious and could affect him his entire life. I agree with scoping out other day care options immediately and getting on waiting lists, if necessary. I think that DH speaking with his mom more  frequently about the smoking might help her to see the danger she is causing her beloved grandson. You do not want to be the one to talk to her about her nasty addiction. If your son is older, it might make MIL feel better to phrase the day care transition as one where your son is 'ready to socialize with other kids. It might also be easier for you to phase in his daycare starting with a couple of days each week -- daycare might have space for that. Good luck.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2018, 07:18:51 AM »
Wouldn't it be more helpful to simply TALK to your MIL before wrenching your child away from her?  Set your parameters, and make it very clear that any future infractions will result in him heading to the nearest daycare.

If you have already drawn the line in the sand and she has crossed it, fine, make other arrangements.  However, without speaking to her first you are asking for family discourse (and yes, you will definitely be viewed as the bad one.)
Daycares can have a year wait list, and they have already spoken to her.  She broke the agreement and I, personally, don't believe in giving second chances with my child's health.

Then perhaps they need to put the child on a bunch of waitlists, AND talk to Grandma.  If Grandma just cannot help herself, then it is definitely time for some drastic action, and hopefully a spot will have come up somewhere. 

It makes me sad because she is an awesome grandma, and my son adores her.

For this reason alone, I think it is worth talking to her.




If she is an awesome Grandma in all other aspects it might just be unhealthy to yank her out of the picture. Mentally vs Physically. At the very least I think she deserves a sit down and just have it be black and white!  Have her sign a contract so she knows its official and something she needs to look at the consequences if she doesn't follow them.

DK82

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2018, 09:23:09 AM »
She seems incredibly inconsiderate, to put it mildly.  When my mom comes to visit from out of state, she smokes significantly less than when she's at home, and when she does she goes outside and puts a coat on to take up the smell, then washes her hands immediately upon coming in.  Wish she'd quit, of course, but she's very mindful of not having any of that garbage smell around her grandchildren. 

GizmoTX

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 10:18:03 AM »
Before switching your child to daycare, I'd ask DH to have one last talk with his mother, telling her that will happen if there are any rules broken from now on. She should know that SHE is making the choice of smoking vs grandchild, and that rule breaking means she can't be trusted. Relatives don't get a pass.

I had to ask my mother to always smoke outside when she moved to our city (after decades of living in another state), citing health reasons. Smoke deposits on furnishings don't go away & smoke makes me sick. (I grew up in a fog -- both parents smoked 2+ packs/day.) We rarely went to her apartment due to the smell. Interestingly, she had already made the decision not to smoke in her new car since it would permanently lower its resale value. (She quit cold turkey the day she was diagnosed with lung cancer & emphysema, but died within a year.)

I'm a red panda

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2018, 11:03:06 AM »
I don't think you are over reacting at all. She clearly doesn't "live only for him" if she is exposing him to such an unhealthy environment.

I disagree with those who say talk to her first. You did that, when she started care. She ignored you and has endangers your sons health. I would find new care immediately.

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2018, 02:36:12 PM »
She seems incredibly inconsiderate, to put it mildly.  When my mom comes to visit from out of state, she smokes significantly less than when she's at home, and when she does she goes outside and puts a coat on to take up the smell, then washes her hands immediately upon coming in.  Wish she'd quit, of course, but she's very mindful of not having any of that garbage smell around her grandchildren.

This is a mild version of how I feel about it all. I just don't understand how you love someone, know the effects of secondhand smoke, and continue to do the things she does. But I am trying really hard to be empathetic and realize that there is addiction involved (not that it makes any of it ok, just that she isnt making these choices with the same mindset that non-addicts have).

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2018, 02:44:14 PM »
I should also add that the plan has always been to send our son to daycare when he is 2 which is the April/May timeframe. She doesn't know that yet, nor does she know that we are pregnant again. I think we could use the reason/excuse that he is "ready for school", but we will have no other reason why we wouldn't be asking her to watch the new baby.

And I also want to be very clear as to the reason (smoking) so there is no second guessing about my motives (since there will be resentment against me for this decision).

Luckily, my FIL is not a smoker and I know will understand our situation completely. He has been asking her to quit for 30 years. Maybe this will finally be the reason she will consider it.

Mrs.MLM

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2018, 07:31:18 PM »
I'm so sorry you are in this situation! It's going to be hard, painful, and uncomfortable, but as someone who grew up in a fog at both my house and my grandmother's house, I can say without a doubt you are doing the right thing. I had terrible sinus problems my whole childhood. (Back when there were smoking sections, I went to breakfast with my aunt and grandma who both smoked. I was on the inside of the booth and I waved the smoke away from my face. My aunt told me to stop being "rude." I was all of 8 years old.)

Also, this is about trust. You set boundaries and she ignored them, despite repeated reminders. You wouldn't let your children stay with any other care provider you couldn't trust.

Good luck!

BuildingmyFIRE

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2018, 08:35:21 AM »
I agree with the majority of posters here.  It is not worth the potential adverse impact on your son's health.  Even if she wears a jacket while smoking, she's almost certainly covered in particulate from the cigarettes, which he will be inhaling when he's around her and in her care.  You should get him into day care as soon as possible and not feel bad about it for one minute.  If she lives for him, she will take actions necessary to have him in her life, like get a prescription for the patches so she can quit.

Another risk that you haven't mentioned, but should be aware of, is property damage caused by your MIL's improper disposal of cigarettes.  I am aware of at least one situation in which a grandmother accidentally burned down her child's house while watching her grandchild, because her improperly disposed-of cigarette butt ignited the groundcover outside.  This is a real danger to your family if she is smoking on your property.

Smoking causes easily preventable dangers.  Your MIL should understand completely why you can't permit this situation to continue any longer.  Good luck (and best wishes for your new little one)!

FireHiker

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2018, 11:00:29 AM »
You are 100% right here. My siblings and I all have issues because of my dad's smoking in the car with us/exposure throughout our childhood. It is absolutely completely not worth risking your children's health! Could she chew nicotine gum or go e-cig as a last resort? I'm another voice saying is she really "lives for him" she will put her health first.

Domigab

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2018, 11:14:57 AM »
Do you think she would respond to you if you and your DH tried to re-establish the boundaries? Has she ever tried to quit before. My mother smoked for 40+ years and was able to quit with Chantix. She tried and failed many times when she used nicotine patches. As a parent you have to do what is best to keep your child safe and healthy. I think people who have an addiction minimize the effects their substance abuse has on others. They normalize it so they don't feel bad continuing it. Good luck.

NeonPegasus

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2018, 11:35:12 AM »
You're doing the right thing. My parents and grandparents smoked inside while I while I was growing up. Not only did it normalize smoking for me so that I started myself when I was 14, it caused terrible illnesses for me when I was a kid. I was always sick, always with chest colds. I see in my oldest daughter the same tendency towards chest colds but she is generally very healthy and rarely get sick. I think the reason why is that I quit smoking well before I had kids. She hasn't had her lung compromised by cigarettes they way I did as a kid.

Also, I have a burn mark on my stomach from where my grandmother dropped a hot cigarette ash on me accidentally while she was changing me. So there's that.

Anyway, back to your situation. Now we know that 3rd hand smoke causes health problems. While I wouldn't say that's a big enough reason to not be around her, it is a big enough reason to not allow her to watch your kid.

Maybe give her some info on 3rd hand smoke exposure and offer alternatives such as gum and other smoking cessation ideas. Quitting smoking was probably the hardest, most painful thing I've ever done. It took my dad years of chewing nicotine gum to finally whittle away at his addiction and quit. I thing nicotine gum may be the best middle ground as it would be a way for her to not smoke around your kids but not have to try to quit.

tyrannostache

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2018, 04:09:07 PM »
This will DEVASTATE her, she "only lives for her grandson" (her words). But I feel it is my job to protect him and letting him be around that on a daily basis isn't protecting him.  My husbandwas raised in that environment so while he is a great parent, the smoking thing is normalized for him and he isn't as bothered by it.

I will be the mean DIL even though we will present it as a joint decision (and it will be). Just her personality- she doesn't get along with other women.

I guess I'm looking for sympathy, making sure I'm not overreacting, and similar experiences. It makes me sad because she is an awesome grandma, and my son adores her.

As others have said, I think you absolutely must find other daycare. She's showing that she won't abide by the rules you set out. Secondhand smoke, thirdhand smoke... the risks are real and well documented, aside from the risk of normalizing and even romanticizing smoking. And even if she does follow your rules and only smoke outside far away from the baby, who will watch the baby during the 5-10 times/day she has to step out for a smoke?

I know how hard it is to quit smoking. My DH (who was raised in a house where FIL smoked constantly) started smoking at age 15 and has quit several times. And since the birth of our kids--the stress of which, ironically, triggered his addiction again--he goes to extraordinary lengths to minimize any exposure they might have to his habit (smokes well away from the house, after smoking he always changes clothes, thoroughly washes hands and face, often showers, etc.). He just quit again, and we're really hoping it sticks. I think any smoker who wants to be around kids has the responsibility to minimize its impact on them.

It is 100% possible to have a loving grandparental relationship without her being his daycare provider. Finding alternate daycare doesn't mean she won't still be his favorite grandma. It just means she won't see him every day.

And maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think the dramatic "I only live for my grandson" statement is a problem all by itself. On the surface, it sounds really loving, but it gives me the heebies--kids aren't objects here to fulfill a grandparent's (or a parent's) needs. If she really is so dedicated to her grandchild, then she should be doing everything possible to protect him.

« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 04:12:53 PM by tyrannostache »

wordnerd

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2018, 05:27:47 PM »
And maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think the dramatic "I only live for my grandson" statement is a problem all by itself. On the surface, it sounds really loving, but it gives me the heebies--kids aren't objects here to fulfill a grandparent's (or a parent's) needs. If she really is so dedicated to her grandchild, then she should be doing everything possible to protect him.

Agree. It reeks of emotional manipulation.

kanga1622

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2018, 05:59:56 PM »
Honestly, my kids wouldn’t have been in that home or vehicle in the first place so I don’t think you are overreacting.* You have the right to parent to the best of your abilities and this is within your ability to change. While I understand that she loves your child and is so excited to be a daily part of the family, she knew the rules were in place when she agreed to be your caregiver. Addiction is very hard to overcome but you need to put the long term health of your child ahead of Grandma’s feelings.

*Full disclosure: I am allergic to smoke so my kids couldn’t even be at a daycare with a wood stove or wood burning fireplace. I also am allergic to fragrance so candles and air fresheners are also out.

asauer

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2018, 06:25:54 AM »
Yes, new daycare situation.  You can't let guilt endanger your son.  Also, you are not responsible for your MIL's feelings.  You have no ability or accountability for them.  You can of course be kind when you deliver the news but do not apologize and do not give second chances.  I know from personal experience.

lexde

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2018, 06:38:13 AM »
Not a parent, but I think you’re right. Break it to her gently, but you don’t want your child around second hand smoke, AND you don’t want to normalize smoking. I didn’t find out my dad was a pack a day smoker until I was 12. Never saw him smoke a single cigarette in my life. I appreciate that, while it was a bit hypocritical.

So being a regular smoker and keeping it away from the kids can be done.

And unfortunately, people are more careful while they’re being watched. She may not be adhering  to the rules when you’re not watching.


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remizidae

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2018, 07:14:04 AM »
So you're considering taking on some $1000-2000 in daycare costs because your mother in law smokes? And MIL doesn't even smoke around the kid? I wouldn't do it. Realize she already probably thinks she's a hero for refraining from that. And realize that, as much as the risks of smoking were downplayed in the 50s, they are overplayed now. The evidence for health harms of secondhand smoking is very weak, and what evidence there is is limited to those who spend 8 hours+ per day around smoke, like bartenders or spouses of heavy smokers. There is no evidence that the kid will be harmed by occasionally being in a car that someone has smoked in, or by being touched by evil smoker hands. (If you'd like to read about the research, the book For Your Own Good is great.)

So I would ask, how much of your anxiety is coming from knowledge of the actual evidence, and how much is pure conforming to what you as a mother in 2018 are supposed to worry about? How much is your concern about what people will think if they knew your child is spending time with an evil smoker? It sounds like your husband isn't as worried, so can you take a lesson from him and trust that he loves his child just as much as you do?

Edit: I'm not a smoker, for the record, just a contrarian who cares about evidence more than conformity.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 07:17:14 AM by remizidae »

lizzzi

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2018, 12:25:47 PM »
So you're considering taking on some $1000-2000 in daycare costs because your mother in law smokes? And MIL doesn't even smoke around the kid? I wouldn't do it. Realize she already probably thinks she's a hero for refraining from that. And realize that, as much as the risks of smoking were downplayed in the 50s, they are overplayed now. The evidence for health harms of secondhand smoking is very weak, and what evidence there is is limited to those who spend 8 hours+ per day around smoke, like bartenders or spouses of heavy smokers. There is no evidence that the kid will be harmed by occasionally being in a car that someone has smoked in, or by being touched by evil smoker hands. (If you'd like to read about the research, the book For Your Own Good is great.)

So I would ask, how much of your anxiety is coming from knowledge of the actual evidence, and how much is pure conforming to what you as a mother in 2018 are supposed to worry about? How much is your concern about what people will think if they knew your child is spending time with an evil smoker? It sounds like your husband isn't as worried, so can you take a lesson from him and trust that he loves his child just as much as you do?

Edit: I'm not a smoker, for the record, just a contrarian who cares about evidence more than conformity.

This is just so wrong.

tyrannostache

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2018, 12:54:15 PM »
remizidae, I'm all for skepticism about the way scientific research is portrayed in the media and deployed in public policy. Certainly, the cancer risk of passive smoking has been overblown, and we could argue endlessly about the civil liberties question surrounding smoking bans. But that doesn't mean that having a baby around secondhand or even recent thirdhand smoke is safe. There is solid, well-supported evidence that passive smoking increases rates of asthma, respiratory infections, and other disease for children and babies. I have yet to see any evidence from a science-based source that secondhand smoke is NOT harmful.The "thirdhand smoke" issue is not clear, and it's something that researchers have only just begun to study.

As for For Your Own Good, this book is based on the assumption that antismoking initiatives are a misguided crusade. It's not an unbiased review of scientific research, and even if it were, it was published nearly 20 years ago. Hundreds of studies have been conducted since then, and our ability to process data has progressed by leaps and bounds.


Strawberry

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2018, 04:32:38 PM »
So you're considering taking on some $1000-2000 in daycare costs because your mother in law smokes? And MIL doesn't even smoke around the kid? I wouldn't do it. Realize she already probably thinks she's a hero for refraining from that. And realize that, as much as the risks of smoking were downplayed in the 50s, they are overplayed now. The evidence for health harms of secondhand smoking is very weak, and what evidence there is is limited to those who spend 8 hours+ per day around smoke, like bartenders or spouses of heavy smokers. There is no evidence that the kid will be harmed by occasionally being in a car that someone has smoked in, or by being touched by evil smoker hands. (If you'd like to read about the research, the book For Your Own Good is great.)

So I would ask, how much of your anxiety is coming from knowledge of the actual evidence, and how much is pure conforming to what you as a mother in 2018 are supposed to worry about? How much is your concern about what people will think if they knew your child is spending time with an evil smoker? It sounds like your husband isn't as worried, so can you take a lesson from him and trust that he loves his child just as much as you do?

Edit: I'm not a smoker, for the record, just a contrarian who cares about evidence more than conformity.
+1

The washing hands is what put me over the top. Also not a smoker, but this purity ideology reeks of unexamined conformism. BUT, you laid down boundaries and she crossed them, so it is completely fair to be clear with her and find a daycare. You're the parents.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 04:48:37 PM by Strawberry »

mm1970

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2018, 09:31:15 AM »
She seems incredibly inconsiderate, to put it mildly.  When my mom comes to visit from out of state, she smokes significantly less than when she's at home, and when she does she goes outside and puts a coat on to take up the smell, then washes her hands immediately upon coming in.  Wish she'd quit, of course, but she's very mindful of not having any of that garbage smell around her grandchildren.

This is a mild version of how I feel about it all. I just don't understand how you love someone, know the effects of secondhand smoke, and continue to do the things she does. But I am trying really hard to be empathetic and realize that there is addiction involved (not that it makes any of it ok, just that she isnt making these choices with the same mindset that non-addicts have).

It's an addiction.  My mom had that same problem.  She only quit smoking when my 2 year old nephew (that she watched) pretended to smoke.  My sister (his mom) and my mom quit cold turkey.

She started up again later in life, though, and also started drinking. By then she was watching my nieces a few days a week.  My brother found out about the smoking and drinking and moved his girls out to daycare.

So you have my sympathy.

ysette9

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2018, 10:26:33 AM »
I agree with another poster that there is absolutely no way that I would ever let a smoker care for my kid, period, end of story.

Please keep in mind that your PRIMARY responsibility is to be the best parent you can for your kid and you and your spouse are THE people protecting your child from major risks out there in the world. I am nkt tsllkng about hélicoptère parenting and not letting your kid fall down and scrape his/her knees or whatnot. We are talking about known, serious health risks for which there is zero upside to be exposed. You must be your chikd’s numner one advocate. That means putting aside your uncomfortable feelings, possible emotional blackmail, sacrificing luxuries to pay for a quality care environment, and so forth.

Think another way: if your MIL tried to become licensed as a daycare she would never get approved because the state would deem her house and car an unsafe environment for a child. How is this acceptable for your kid if it isn’t acceptable for other kids?

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2018, 11:24:19 AM »
So you're considering taking on some $1000-2000 in daycare costs because your mother in law smokes? And MIL doesn't even smoke around the kid? I wouldn't do it. Realize she already probably thinks she's a hero for refraining from that. And realize that, as much as the risks of smoking were downplayed in the 50s, they are overplayed now. The evidence for health harms of secondhand smoking is very weak, and what evidence there is is limited to those who spend 8 hours+ per day around smoke, like bartenders or spouses of heavy smokers. There is no evidence that the kid will be harmed by occasionally being in a car that someone has smoked in, or by being touched by evil smoker hands. (If you'd like to read about the research, the book For Your Own Good is great.)

So I would ask, how much of your anxiety is coming from knowledge of the actual evidence, and how much is pure conforming to what you as a mother in 2018 are supposed to worry about? How much is your concern about what people will think if they knew your child is spending time with an evil smoker? It sounds like your husband isn't as worried, so can you take a lesson from him and trust that he loves his child just as much as you do?

Edit: I'm not a smoker, for the record, just a contrarian who cares about evidence more than conformity.
+1

The washing hands is what put me over the top. Also not a smoker, but this purity ideology reeks of unexamined conformism. BUT, you laid down boundaries and she crossed them, so it is completely fair to be clear with her and find a daycare. You're the parents.

I'm sure I will lose a lot of people who have provided input(thank you all btw) but sometimes I have thoughts along these lines too. Am I freaking out because of the actual secondhand smoke, or am I freaking out because of the thought of other people knowing she smokes around my kid (lots of strong opinions about that, as evidenced by the responses here).

There is so much mom guilt these days to do EVERYTHING right for your kid- and that giving them sugar often, daily tv, or being around secondhand smoke makes you a failure as a mom (even doing it once). None of these things are good, but it is a mental toll to think about.

She is a great grandma and truly a good caregiver outside of the smoking. She does not give him sugar, very minimal TV, lots of outside play, etc. I wonder, would I feel this strongly if the scenario was that she pumped him full of sugar all day long (which has researched negative effects too) instead of exposing him to secondhand smoke? And (this is where I'll lose friends) are the effects of secondhand smoke truly worse than other "bad" habits she could be exposing him to?

I'd really appreciate any input people have. My husband thinks along these lines. Yes, the smoke exposure isn't ideal, but he is getting 1-1 attention, no sugar, lots of outside time/field trips, etc.

ysette9

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2018, 03:01:03 PM »
So I did a quick search and the CDC has a lot to say on the subject of secondhand smoke and children. There is a lot more on the page about general risks for everyone, including increased risk of heart disease, stroke, asthma, getting sick overall, etc.

How old is your kid? Completely separate to this you need to consider that daycare or similar is really good for developing social interactions for kids. Of course you can wait until school for that, but I have found that the positive social pressure at daycare has been really good for getting my toddler to do things like naps, potty training, eating with good manners at the table and so forth.

Quote
Secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems in children.2,4

Studies show that older children whose parents smoke get sick more often. Their lungs grow less than children who do not breathe secondhand smoke, and they get more bronchitis and pneumonia.
Wheezing and coughing are more common in children who breathe secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in a child. Children with asthma who are around secondhand smoke have more severe and frequent asthma attacks. A severe asthma attack can put a child's life in danger.
Children whose parents smoke around them get more ear infections. They also have fluid in their ears more often and have more operations to put in ear tubes for drainage.
Parents can help protect their children from secondhand smoke by taking the following actions:9

Do not allow anyone to smoke anywhere in or near your home.
Do not allow anyone to smoke in your car, even with the window down.
Make sure your children’s day care centers and schools are tobacco-free.
If your state still allows smoking in public areas, look for restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking. “No-smoking sections” do not protect you and your family from secondhand smoke.
https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/index.htm

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2018, 04:15:44 PM »
So I did a quick search and the CDC has a lot to say on the subject of secondhand smoke and children. There is a lot more on the page about general risks for everyone, including increased risk of heart disease, stroke, asthma, getting sick overall, etc.

How old is your kid? Completely separate to this you need to consider that daycare or similar is really good for developing social interactions for kids. Of course you can wait until school for that, but I have found that the positive social pressure at daycare has been really good for getting my toddler to do things like naps, potty training, eating with good manners at the table and so forth.

Quote
Secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems in children.2,4

Studies show that older children whose parents smoke get sick more often. Their lungs grow less than children who do not breathe secondhand smoke, and they get more bronchitis and pneumonia.
Wheezing and coughing are more common in children who breathe secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in a child. Children with asthma who are around secondhand smoke have more severe and frequent asthma attacks. A severe asthma attack can put a child's life in danger.
Children whose parents smoke around them get more ear infections. They also have fluid in their ears more often and have more operations to put in ear tubes for drainage.
Parents can help protect their children from secondhand smoke by taking the following actions:9

Do not allow anyone to smoke anywhere in or near your home.
Do not allow anyone to smoke in your car, even with the window down.
Make sure your children’s day care centers and schools are tobacco-free.
If your state still allows smoking in public areas, look for restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking. “No-smoking sections” do not protect you and your family from secondhand smoke.
https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/index.htm

He is a year and a half. He does to go church preschool 3 mornings a week- totally agree and believe in the benefits of organized group activities for littles to learn. My MIL watches him two full days and two half days for us.

letired

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2018, 11:08:14 PM »
Again, I don't think you are over-reacting at all. Like I said above, my best friends dad smoked around her when she was really young, and never managed to quit (though he moved it outside eventually). Her allergies/asthma and assorted respiratory issues are I N S A N E. By which I mean, she's allergic to:

  • pretty much all pets
  • most fruits (strawberries and kiwis aren't supposed to make your mouth tingle??!)
  • lots of other misc foods make her mouth itch, and if she's not careful, her throat starts closing up
  • pollen, mold, dust, and pretty much every particulate a person could find in non-air-conditioned/filtered air
  • every scented thing, including shampoos, soaps, detergents, candles, and assorted perfumes/cosmetics
  • when she was younger and her dad was smoking around her more, her allergies/immune system were so bad she would end up in the school nurse's office because she would vomit from so much mucus in her stomach at least once a week (usually more).

Weirdly enough, her younger brother doesn't have most of these problems, almost like minimizing smoke exposure helps? And from an adult perspective, I've never had more or more prolonged respiratory infections than when I was hanging out a lot with people who smoked a lot. Which is to say, I don't think you are over-reacting at all.

I don't think any of these things have anything to do with your success or failure as a parent. I think it has to do with being appropriately responsible for the tiny human who depends on you. And while things like too much sugar to TV are also not great, my understanding is that cigarette smoke exposure wins out in terms of immediacy, severity, and long term effects. But obviously, I'm biased by my experience growing up with my friend.

Villanelle

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2018, 11:19:41 PM »
Perhaps when he has his chat with her, your DH can offer to help fund efforts to quit (gum, patch, etc.).  I think the overall ton of the conversation can be, "we know you love him and are a great grandma, which is why we want to make this work, but we aren't okay with some of the things that are happening. [Give specifics.]  I [not "we" so that you are less of the evil DIL] do want him to be able to continue spending those days with you, but it can't happen without those things changing.  If you want to quit and need help, we are happy to support however we can, including paying for gum or prescriptions or whatever method you and your doctor choose.  I love you and we want you to be able to continue building your relationship with Timmy, and I want you to be around and in his and my life as long as possible, too."

I do think things like handwashing are a bit of an over-reaction, but overall, I can't fault you.  I also think there is an issue of normalizing smoking for your son.  While he's young now, grown up seeing and smelling a smoker in his everyday life has the potential to normalize the behavior for him in the same way that having a racist grandpa making awful comments might normalize that, even if the family message is that smoking/racism is bad.  That would probably be the biggest problem for me, given that it sounds like she doesn't smoke in his presence. 

Prairie Stash

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2018, 08:58:03 AM »
My MIL watches our son for us while we work. She is also a pack a day smoker. We were very clear about some ground rules when she started watching him (wash hands after smoking, ideally have a smoking jacket to take on/off, at least 15 feet away when both outside and smoking, etc. these were largely based on pediatricians advice).

Well she has eventually let it all slide. Tonight she was hotboxing her car that my son was about to get into 5 minutes later.

 My husbandwas raised in that environment so while he is a great parent, the smoking thing is normalized for him and he isn't as bothered by it.

I guess I'm looking for sympathy, making sure I'm not overreacting, and similar experiences. It makes me sad because she is an awesome grandma, and my son adores her.
I read the thread, but I missed seeing something. Almost everything was phrased to protect the MIL, what about rephrasing everything from your sons perspective? Start every sentence with "My son" and have the Grandma's needs/desires come second. Always keep his needs first, everyone else comes second. That perspective shift changes how we view the world. 

Your only task as a parent is to watch out for your children and be their voice, since they can't speak for themselves. Imagine a scene twenty years from now where you and your son are chatting over coffee. How would you feel explaining to him your decision regarding the smoking grandmother? If you feel comfortable telling him (in 20 years) that you kept him in the smoking environment, great. If you think he'll judge you poorly, that's your burden to bear. One day you will be required to tell your son and he'll be your judge, we all judge our parents someday.

Taylor3386

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2018, 11:08:34 AM »
I think it’s pretty irresponsible to have smoke anywhere near a child. Personally, I would take a risk with sugar and TV before I messed with smoke. But it is not a one or the other decision. You are capable of finding him care that doesn’t offer smoke, sugar or tv.

Is this smoking situation a free daycare arrangement or do you pay her? If it is free please don’t try to rationalize with “it could be worse” for the sake of saving money. If you are paying her then she is an employee and has to follow your direction or risk losing her job.

If you keep your son around a smoker I hope he doesn’t grow up and want to play sports or do lots of physically activity. Asthma will put an end to those dreams.


charis

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2018, 11:45:37 AM »
How in the world is washing your hands after smoking an overreaction for someone who is about to take care of a small child?  Every smoker with kids that I know (albeit a few not many) smokes outside the home, out of sight of the children, and washes their hands upon coming inside again and removes their "smoking jacket." 

It's not just about second hand smoke, it's a lifestyle (an obviously an addiction for most) that involves basically paying someone else (a lot) to ruin your health.    Studies have shown that children whose immediately family members smoke are much more likely to start smoking themselves during adolescence.

As a parent, I have a vested interested in not increasing the chances that my child will start smoking later in life and I don't give a damn about what anyone else thinks about my so-called "conformity." 

aneel

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2018, 06:35:03 PM »
OP if you're weighing the nature of your discomfort with the smoking, maybe it's worth having more of a conversation with her, rather than laying down the law? "We had x, y, z rules and they ended up not being met, is there something else we can agree to that you're more likely to stick with?" Kind of like easing into a diet. I agree with everyone talking about the science of second hand smoke, but I also agree with you that there are lots of pitfalls for parents ( not just mom's!) And we have to pick our battles. And to all the personal witnesses to the effects of secondhand smoke, I too grew up with 2 indoor smokers age 0-16yrs + mom smoked while Prego and I don't have any health issues at all. It's not a death sentence, but still in favor of minimizing exposure.

Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2018, 12:21:34 PM »
Any way you could gently use this as an opportunity to get her to quit smoking? That would be wonderful for everyone.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2018, 12:21:51 AM »
I would change your daycare situation, but don't write her off long-term. After the kid starts going to a different daycare she might get more motivated to quit or follow through on her smoking protocol restrictions. It could really help her quit. Does she have any motivation to quit?

Jim Fiction

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2018, 05:40:54 AM »
My wife is currently pregnant. Both of my parents smoke. Thankfully we won't be relying on them for daycare, but I also have no interest in bringing my child to their house while they continue to smoke inside of it.

Not going to be a fun conversation...



Livethedream

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2018, 10:00:22 AM »
As a child, now adult, who grew up with asthma please please realize what a big deal even being around smokers even when they aren’t smoking can be.

There is a lot of research showing how third hand smoke (residue in car, house, etc) is just as harmful as second hand smoke.

Second/ Third hand smoke is related to a strong increase in SIDS for infants, and many health risks for children.

Just assume that being in her car, even if she didn’t “just” smoke is almost as bad as her smoking while they are in.

Hope you are able to salvage the situation and relationship.

letsdoit

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Re: Smoking around kids- need some advice
« Reply #46 on: August 24, 2018, 10:26:27 AM »
i have a lot of experience in my fam with this issue.
someone who wont quit smoking for well being of a child or g'child, is not worth their salt

i would ghost them and save self alot of pain downthe road.