Matters of the heart

Smoking teenager

Dear Aunty Lisa

I’m a 37-year-old mother with four kids. May you assist me with advice of how best I can handle my teenage son? It’s eating my heart to know that he has started smoking. I found out about it last week when he came home with his school uniform smelling of smoke. Then I found a cigarette in his room. I’m afraid he may get addicted. But something also tells me that it is just a phase that will pass. Do I have a reason to worry and do you think he will come to his senses and know that smoking is bad for his health? I need to understand why he may have started smoking when no one in my family, not even his father, smokes. I can’t know who he is taking after. – Mother37

Dear Mother37

I understand your concern. It’s not always that teenagers smoke after taking it up from someone close. Your son may be smoking due to peer pressure, if his friends smoke then he may have chosen to smoke to maintain their acceptance.

You are right to say it is a phase of life he is in, but smoking can be so addictive that you do have a reason to worry. Sit down with your kid, try to convince him to stop smoking and give him the chance of making the decision whether to smoke or not when he is 21. The chances are high that at that age he will be an adult and the difference is that an adult’s mind asks and considers options while a teenager reacts to what friends are doing.

That is the problem with most teenagers. Their decisions are not conscious decisions – they are merely reactions. Some decisions they make can be revised later in life but others cannot. Smoking is addictive and even life-threatening. Once he is hooked his health is at risk.

On average, it is said each minute of smoking reduces a person’s life expectancy by a minute. When you consider that a two-pack-a-day smoker consumes on the order of 600,000 cigarettes in a lifetime, and it takes three to five minutes to smoke a cigarette, what will happen?

You are right to be concerned and you need to start discouraging your son to smoke and you need to do it in a way he will understand that you want him to stop because you love him, not because you said so. A tone of command will turn your kid into a rebel, because teenagers love to be treated as adults though they do not yet qualify for the title. Why not start a project together to look into the scientific findings? Or get him to “interview” other adults who smoke and find out how “cool” they really think it is to smoke. – Aunty Lisa

Birthday blues

Dear Aunty Lisa

I’m a 20-year-old woman who is dating a 24-year-old man. We have been going out for three months now but I don’t know how I can tell if the man really loves me. My ideal relationship at this age is not one characterised by sex but I don’t mind being intimate with him. He is always too busy with his work and I have always understood. But he has really let me down this past week. He never bought me any gift for my birthday, only a text message on my phone as if I was some sort of a friend. Should I just leave him? – Cleo

Dear Cleo

Fine, he is such a busy man you say. But honestly he must be one who makes efforts to communicate and assure you of his love. When men or women are forced by circumstances to meet their lovers on an irregular base, it is only normal for them to feel insecure.

It is not healthy for a relationship to lose communication. While understanding that he is such a busy man, you must at least be able to stand and say ‘I’m positive my man loves me’ either because he always tells you or because of how he treats you. You should have something to convince your critics that the relationship is something to which you are both committed.

As for the birthday gifts – this is a special time for you and a woman’s wish at this time would be to be in the arms of the man she loves, to spend some quality time together and receive gifts. But it would be unfair to judge this man and I would not advise you to leave him without knowing his reasons for the “silence”. You need to find time to sit down and hear his side of the story, explain to him what your ideal serious relationship is like and how you want to be loved. Birthdays are just not important to some people. He may be unaware what giving gifts and spending time with you means. It will only be fair if you enlighten him. – Aunty Lisa

Should I marry him?

Dear Aunty Lisa

I’m a 21-year-old woman. My boyfriend of nine months is asking for my hand in marriage, but something inside me tells me that I’m too young to get married. I love my boyfriend and he is the serious type, I know he means it. He is 27 and I’m afraid I may end up too young for him if I marry him because of our age-difference. I want to marry him, this is what I have always wanted in life –getting married to a man I truly love and who loves me back – but there is this fear that is holding me back. One other thing, though small, my man has some irritating habits and I wonder if even he will stop them if we get married? – Mary

Dear Mary

There is a saying that I think suits your situation: If in doubt, don’t. You are young. You have your whole life ahead of you. If you have any doubts about your response to this proposal of marriage then don’t do it. The age thing is not a problem – age is nothing but a number when it comes to relationships. If he is happy dating you now then he can’t find you “too young” when you get married.

It is quite normal to fear of what will happen when you get married, trying to fit into a family of total strangers and dropping some of your hobbies that made up your lifestyle when you were single. Marriage has many challenges.

One thing is certain, you will have to live with r his irritating habits – I assure you they don’t end with marriage but they even get bigger. You may even discover some more irritating habits that he does around the house when you move in together.

But one thing I can promise you is that true love conquers all. And when you are truly in love you won’t be able to live without him. – Aunty Lisa

Post published in: Lifestyle

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