My daughter and I started smoking together
I heard of this site and thought I would post my positive experience to something that is thought of a negative. My daughter was blessed with above average intelligence. This resulted in her becoming very bored in school. After consulting my sister who is a child psychologist and with the school’s approval she skipped some grades in school. When she was 13 she was a sophomore in high school. She continued to do very well in her studies. She had always been shy and introverted. Being a 12- and 13-year-old in high school only exasperated that. She began becoming withdrawn and not participating in anything other than her studies. I talked with the principal and she confirmed that although Janine was not bullied or ostracized by her fellow students she was not included in many of the activities. Janine was asked to join but she usually refused or did not stay involved. I was very worried and after her sophomore year I asked my sister to speak with her.
My sister told me Janine had always been different and had a hard time relating to others her own age. Additionally, by placing her in an environment with others older than her we were not helping the situation. She also thought if we had allowed her to progress through school at the normal pace it would have caused worse problems. My daughter and I had a good relationship. I have a PhD and teach at the local university and understand some of the issues she is facing. My sister thought we had to come up with something that helped Janine increase her confidence and self-worth.
My sister came up with a solution which I thought was ludicrous. My sister was a smoker and had been one since she was 16. Both our parents smoked but I never took up the habit. My sister thought Janine should become a smoker. At her age it would be something that she would think adults did and might possibly give her self-confidence. My sister told me that was the way she felt when she took up smoking. My sister had been quite and shy as a young teenager. The only problem she could see was Janine would not start smoking if she thought I would not approve. I told my sister how stupid the idea was and after some more discussion I told her I would think about it. A few days later we discussed it again and even though I thought it was a big risk, I told my sister I would tell Janine I approved if she would teach her. I did not want her to learn from some kid. That was when my sister told me just telling Janine I approved would not be sufficient. Janine looked up to me too much. She hit me with the next bombshell and told me I would have to start smoking with her. After another long discussion I agreed.
My sister came over on a Saturday for lunch with 2 pack of cigarettes. One regular and one menthol. I talked to Janine and told her things were very stressful at work and her aunt had suggested I start smoking to relieve the stress. I told Janine I was not going to start if she disapproved, and I thought if I was going to smoke, she could start as well. To my surprise, with little hesitation she said if I was going to start, she would too. My sister lit us each a regular cigarette and gave it to us. She spent the next few minutes showing us how to smoke. We did not inhale and after that first cigarette we ate lunch. I asked Janine how she liked it and she said it was kind of nice. After lunch we each lit our own cigarettes and learned to inhale with a little coughing involved. Before my sister left after dinner, we each smoked 4 or 5 more. I liked the regular cigarettes and Janine did also. My sister suggested having 5 or 6 the next day starting with coffee in the morning. Together we finished the pack my sister gave us and had to get more. I bought Janine her own pack, a lighter and an ashtray.
The change in Janine was amazing. My sister was right. I allowed her to smoke anywhere I smoked including in public. She began to talk more openly and seemed to stand up straighter and carry herself more confidently. She was more willing to do new things and we had a great summer. I had no classes, so we went on a couple of min-vacations and she even started talking to young boys. Knowing she would have trouble with school rules about smoking I tried to keep our consumption down to about half a pack a day. When school started again Janine was definitely a smoker and proud of it. At the teacher-parent night after a couple of weeks after school st7arted the principal pulled me aside and told me the change in Janine was noticeable. She asked what had happened and I confessed what my sister and I had done. Rather than scolding me the principal said she was a smoker and thought we had done Janine a favor. She said she would have to enforce the rules but would give Janine a little slack if necessary. Janine made some new friends with the older students. One girl needed help with her studies and Janine helped her. In the process Janine taught her friend how to smoke. The school had an open lunch policy and students could go off-campus. Her friend had a car and each day she took Janine off campus for lunch and a cigarette or two.
Janine graduate with honors in the middle of her senior year. Because of her age (15) we thought it best she start college at my university so she could live at home. Because of a program between the high school and the college and advanced placement courses Janine started college as a sophomore with 45 hours.
She continued to smoke and increased to a pack a day. My sister told me I would like smoking, but I would never have believed how much I enjoyed it. I had to watch myself so I would not smoke too much. Luckily, I was a well-liked professor and demand for my classes was high so I was teaching several classes. This limited the available time to smoke. Janine and I continued to be close and maybe even enhanced that relationship. Janine continued to make friends and became active in many of the event at school. She finished her bachelor’s and got her master’s. Then she had to go away to get her PhD. That was probably more traumatic for me than her. She announced to me she found a boyfriend and after a few months they moved in together. After she got her PhD they both moved back home and she is now teaching at the university with me.
The pandemic influenced us. Being at home without classes I started smoking more and got up to 2 packs a day. Janine and her boyfriend live a couple of blocks away and we see each other often and she also increased to a couple of packs. With the state opening up and classes beginning again we are trying to cut back.
I will be forever grateful to my sister and would never have thought that allowing my daughter to smoke would change her live so much for the better. I truly enjoy smoking and wish I had started when I was a teenager when my sister tried to get me to smoke. I know it is not healthy, but it probably saved my daughter from a life of fear and lack of confidence. She is now well liked by her students and really seems to enjoy life. She loves and is loved. We have both been smoking for 10 years now. I will always think that allowing her to smoke helped her to get to that point. If she has a child similar issues, I am sure she will do the same thing.