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My girlfriend's Teenage Boy (TB), 14, wants to talk to his dad about things he doesn't like about him, like smoking in the living room.

He came to me for advice.

Knowing his dad, who is a very prideful chap and not the listening type of man, I didn't know what to answer. TB is not in harm's way, his dad is stubborn but he is not a violent man. I was trying to think about some solutions but I feel in a quagmire.

If TB was an adult or if he was a belligerent teen, it would have been easier to advise him on what to do. But he is not, he is more of a nice kid, sometimes too nice for his own good.

The only suggestion is to keep talking to his dad, not break the communication. But aside from that, what could I say?

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When I was about 12 years old, I faced a similar situation with my mother and her smoking in the house. My mother is a very stubborn woman, but loves her kids. We were learning about the dangers of second hand smoke in school. I talked my mother that I felt like her smoking in our house was endangering the health of myself and my sisters, as evidenced by the facts I got from school. I didn't attack her choice of smoking, but I did ask her to not harm my siblings as a side effect of her choice. My mother never quit smoking, but she did start smoking on the porch instead.

My advice to arm yourself with facts about second hand smoke and address second hand smoking first.

  • Hi @jcmack for getting back to me. I like your advice. I've given it to TB. Thanks. – Andy K Mar 9 '16 at 20:20
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There is something called "non violent communication" (not sure about the translation).

IF the other person is disposed to hear what you have to say, it's really useful as it prevent anger to set in. Basically, you talk about how you feel and not about what the person in front of you do "wrong".

"I would prefer it if you stopped smoking inside." Is better than "Can you stop smoking inside ? It's bad for me !"

The other point is to sugar coat what you have to say : put the uncomfortable points between two compliments : I like the time we are pending together, but I'd like it best if you weren't smoking inside. I would be even nicer !"

Give your interlocutor a way out and different choice to solve the problem : "Maybe you could smoke outside, or in the kitchen, with the windows open. Have you tried e-smoke ?" (maybe even giving one of those as a birth day present)

Avoid harsh words and finger pointing.

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