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My mother, sister and brother all live together and they are heavy smokers.  I have been relying on my mother to pick up my 7-year old daughter after school and keep her until I can get there after work.  When I arrive, there's a thick cloud of smoke inside.  My daughter is spending almost 10 hours a week in this environment.  I've asked them to cut down on smoking when she is there but they say it's their house.  I can't bear to have my daughter stuck in there for another winter but I don't want to cut her off from the family.  What should I do?


Answer:

It is their house and they are all (presumably) adults so you can't dictate whether they smoke or not.  However, your daughter's health and welfare is your primary responsibility.

You need to find alternative childcare for your daughter now.  Check with the school to see if there's an after-school program she can attend.  Call the local Boys and Girls Club, check with your church, ask friends about free or inexpensive programs.

Then tell your mother and your siblings that they are welcome to visit with you and your daughter on weekends or in the evenings at your home but that they must smoke outside.  Do not look at this as a punishment for your mother, but as an opportunity for your child to be in a healthy environment.

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Last Updated 05.20.2002 | Email Parenting is Prevention | Privacy Policy