What would you do????

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by timer lady, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Since kt has arrived home I've become more & more aware of her smoking. Now I cannot stop this once she's out of the house - she can get smokes from her friends & so on.

    Having said that, kt is not giving up the shops around here that do not card kids. Additionally, kt shared with me that she would ask strange men to buy her a pack of cigarettes in exchange for.....???? fill in the blank. That blank (after she explained it to me) terrifies me.

    As I've always been one to pick her battles wisely I'm considering instead of paying kt any allowance in cash to buy her one pack of cigarettes a week for her chores & such. I have a staffing for kt on Wednesday & will bring before the team.....

    In my own mind, I'm protecting my daughter while giving her something that might give her cancer. What's the lesser of 2 evils?
  2. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Interesting problem.

    As a smoker, I found it extremely difficult to know what to do when my difficult child started smoking (he was 12 at the time). At first, he would just take one of my cigarettes, then more, and then somehow he was buying them. In the end, when he was 14 or so, I started buying him cigarettes. I was sure that the alternative was that he would steal the money from me to buy them, and since by then he was a real smoker, I bought them for him. Over the years I wondered if I was doing the right thing (I had no guidance from anyone, only this support group here), but with hindsight I'm not sorry. He didn't smoke in the house until he was an adult (I was smoking in the house then). Maybe I was wrong, I don't know, but that way both he and I had peace of mind vis-a-vis the cigarettes.

    I've made so many mistakes over the years -- maybe this was also one. I don't know.

    Love, Esther
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I really feel for you on this one Linda. It is a battle that I faced too and like Esther I dont know if I made the right decision or not. Probably not but who knows, ya know?

    Cory started very early like Esthers son. I caught him smoking with neighbor boys and did everything I could think of to stop him including that age old tactic of trying to force him to smoke an entire pack of nasty non-filtered generic cigarettes. Didnt work. All that did was to re-trigger my nicotine addiction!

    Eventually after two years of trying to stop him and catching him stealing from me and stores, I decided I didnt want him to get into more trouble for shoplifting cigarettes. I caved and let him have my cigs, then I started buying him a pack or two a week of cheap regular cigs since he really didnt like menthol and that is what I smoke. Was it right? No. Did it keep him from stealing them in stores? Yes. Did it stop all problems? Nope.

    Would I do it again? I really dont know. We had so many problems we were fighting. I just didnt think cigarettes were a basket A thing at the time. Maybe they should have been. I really dont know.

    I do know this. Cory didnt start smoking pot until he was 17 and that was much later than most kids around here start. I think my letting him smoke cigarettes actually helped in that matter. Or maybe I am deluding myself. Who knows.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That IS tough. In my difficult child's case, he was under court order so I could have been charged for allowing it and providing him. Actually, in some states they can do that to the parent whether or not the kid is under certain court orders- you might want to check into that.

    Other than that, in a way I think I would buy them- but then I'd have to consider kt's history and wonder if this would either lead her to think she could get me to provide more things in the future (like alcohol), or would she end up trying to make deals with men to get more cigs or something else anyway. So maybe in the end, I would decide against providing them anyway.

    Only you can decide what you are most comfortable with and how effective this might be with kt.
  5. I think your plan is spot on. You're not going to stop her unless she wants to stop. You're not necessarily condoning it by buying them for her, but you are giving her access to them that is at least legal and safe. That's not to say that you won't be in the same place 6 months from now with the desired item being pot or alcohol but for now, with the info you have, I think it's the best you can do. It bites when we have to lower the bar!
  6. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    With difficult child 2, I sometimes bought him some or he bummed mine. With everything else going on with him, it was a Basket C issue. And the alternative would have been him stealing, or worse.

    You have to pick your battles.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My instinct is to do whatever you have to to stop her doing "whatever" with strangers. You have the choice against cigs which can cause cancer - a treatable problem with better outcomes every year, and the physical trauma, mental trauma, real danger and risk (near certainty with the kind of men who would do this) of diseases that are not as treatable as cancers - HIV (more treatment resistant every year), Hep A, and other STDs.

    I would choose cigarettes OR speak with the police to see if there are any programs that might help. Given the choice, I would defend giving her cigs to my last breath.

    If it comes up that she wants pot or booze, that would probably be time to go back to Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Just my thought.

    The other idea I had was to see if the psychiatrist would add zyban and chantix to her medications. I don't know if they would be a problem with other medications or with her other problems.

    Probably you should talk with psychiatrist and therapist about this before you make a move. I am not sure I would allow her to go anywhere until I had an answer, but I don't even know if that is feasible.

    I am so sorry that she thinks that "whatever" is even an option, much less a viable option or plan. You may want to see if there are anit-prostitution programs aimed at vulnerable young people. I don't know if they exist at all, but I think that girls who would do this really NEED some kind of intervention - something to keep them from getting further into trading herself for something she wants.

    My heart aches for you and kt.

  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    From my pessimistic view and experience with difficult child, I'll play devil's advocate for a second- (mind you, I smoke so I'm not saying this is a horrible idea Linda has, I just want her to think thru where it could lead and make sure it doesn't lead there)-

    What if Linda provides cigs and kt gets arrested for something else a few months down the road and a GAL is assigned who learns that kt is being provided cigs by Linda. This can end up with GAL in court telling the judge that Linda's home is not healthy or good for kt because she was caught out doing ABC and Linda provides cigs so who knows what else Linda is allowing kt to do?

    And again, in some states this can land a parent a charge for contributing to the delinquency of a minor or something else.

    Linda, I'm just suggesting you make sure YOUR butt is covered before doing this. I think the ideas about talking to a policeman and psychiatrist or therapist are good ones- this should be enough to keep yourself covered if need be in the future.

    I edited this after getting food in a slow-cooker and having a few more minutes to clarify.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is a tough one. I would tend to go along with what you are thinking although KLMNO brings up some good points. This is one area we are lucky on (so far anyways) as difficult child still thinks smoking is gross. At least he doesn't yell out the car window anymore whenever he sees someone smoking. He used to yell at them and tell them they could die of cancer.
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Linda, how often is kt unsupervised? Does she really have opportunities to ask strange men to buy her cigarettes?
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My feeling is she is going to smoke whether you buy them or supply them. And if she has presented to you a scenario that is dangerous to her in order to acquire cigarettes, I too would be inclined to buy them for her. I think you're moving in the right direction, personally. And, even though you are buying them you can still let her know a) why and b) that you are still against her smoking overall. And then you can also create rules about where and when.

    Good luck.
  12. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I would buy them for her, but I would also bring it up to the team at the staffing meeting like you are planning too. I would tell them exactly what kt said she would do to get older guys to buy them for her.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes it is illegal in all areas. Corys team knew I did it and why. No one batted an eye.
  14. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    SW, kt has been given some freedoms, like taking walks. Partially because she needs/likes the exercise, partially to begin building a trust again.

    Saying that, we still do not have services in place. The reality is the CADI manager fell on her part. She pushed up discharge & had the mtg to open services far too late before discharge. Supposedly, a PCA will be starting this week - only working Tuesday's, Thursdays & every other weekend. Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) is being trained in - we do have in home therapy.

    Having said the above, kt can & will find a way to "buy" her smokes.

    I will be discussing this at team staffing; if it's illegal so be it. I'm not adverse to a night or two in jail. This would be a no brainer if I didn't have all these mandated reporters around me.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sadly, if I remember correctly, KT has a strong interest in "doing favors" for people. It seems possible to me that she is manipulating cigarette use to
    get permission and if it works with cigarettes she will assume it will also work with other desires.

    I have faced the issue with easy child's and difficult child's but never with a young teen like KT. Therefore I have no advice. Literally I am praying that you get some assistance pronto. From the outside looking in it seems to me that
    she has gone from extreme structure to almost easy child freedoms. She has had the use off cell phones and violated your trust. She has been allowed to
    go for walks unsupervised and obviously has violated your trust and put herself in danger. The vigilance needed to keep her within boundaries is too much for any single parent. You truly are included in my thoughts and prayers. DDD
  16. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is tough Linda. Is there any doubt that part of her explanation that she will ask strange men to buy cigs in exchange for ______ a manipulation? Why not include strange woman or stranges in general in that explanation?

    Having addressed that, the walking alone sounds like a potential trouble area. I know she needs the exercise, but what about buying a nordic track or treadmill for upstairs? With her running only 6 weeks ago, it seems early to allow her freedom that includes solitary roaming.

    But also having said that, I do understand the need to give her a little freedom to build trust. At this point, I think I would derail the walks and buy the cigs. Let her know this is you little secret....

  17. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    My daughter does not smoke--BUT she brings home all kinds of stuff that does not belong to her...and I do suspect that at least some of it is in exchange for "services rendered".

    My policy is to confiscate anything that comes home that does not belong to her. I'm hoping that if she is not allowed to keep it--it's not worth the cost.

    Perhaps you could try something similar...?

    by the way--I'm sending extra ((((hugs))))....sounds like you really have you hands full already. I'm sorry it is not going smoother.

  18. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Its a catch 22 but I'd buy her the cigarettes.

    Bob Hope was...what...90-ish when he died? And he smoked like a chimney. I would venture a guess that cigarettes cause cancer in those genetically predisposed to such...much like our difficult child's and their diagnosis'es.

    Doing whatever acts for strange men to buy her cigs is likely to harm her much sooner than cancer from cigarettes.

    Besides that, its a status offense...its only illegal because of her age....with my difficult child 1, that's what I had to focus on and point out to him.
  19. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    What about buying her nicotine gum instead of cigarettes? The you wouldn't be contributing to smoking--but you also would not be turning a blind eye to the "buying" of cigarettes to get her fix either.

    Just an idea...

  20. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    I would just note that cigarette smoking is extremely common among the mentally ill and recovered/recovering addicts. That's because nicotine is a drug with certain desirable effects. I think smoking is a form of self-medicating. Personally I'm a non-smoker very concerned about the health implications of smoking, BUT I think with kt I'd be inclined to cut some slack. She has so much pain, and maybe the nicotine makes the pain a little less or a little more bearable. The physical health risks might be a price worth paying.

    That said, I don't like the manipulation inherent in her frightening you by saying that if you don't pay for the cigarettes, she'll risk her health and safety in a very immediate way in order to be able to pay for them herself. If this is what she gets up to when she's out for a walk, then she shouldn't be allowed out for walks without someone to accompany her. I know that's easier said than enforced/arranged, but she doesn't sound ready for this freedom. And I don't like the idea of the emotional pain she is thus causing you. It's almost abusive.

    Can you talk about these issues with her directly? Like why she smokes, why she feels she needs to smoke, how it makes her feel? And how does it make her feel when she performs favors for cigarettes? Can she do chores around the house to earn an allowance to pay for cigarettes? How does she think it makes you feel, or how does she want you to feel, when she tells you what she will do if you don't finance her habit? Etc., etc.

    I normally just lurk, so forgive me for speaking up out of nowhere. Please accept hugs from this stranger, wishing you and kt very well.