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Old 06-02-2009, 07:33 AM
 
Location: chicagoland
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I was talking to my sister (who smokes) about my mother and father who smoke. I had told her that I was concerned about my mother since she hasn't been for a checkup in over 21 years! She's been coughing much more and a few other things. I mentioned that it makes me sad that she smokes so much and that she probably won't be around to see my children grow up. My sister then said "yea, sounds pretty selfish. If I had kids I'd quit. Mom should defintitely quit."

So we approached my mother with the idea that my siblings try WITH my parents. We told her how much we want her around and especially my little girl who adores her already!

Her response was that she's going to die anyway, why not die happy. She also said that it's too late and she's too addicted. She said that her not quitting has nothing to do with being selfish.

What do you think? Is it selfish to smoke when you have children/grandchildren? Would you quit for your children/grandchildren? How would you approach your parents?
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:19 AM
 
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I think there are many facets to smoking. My parents were heavy duty smokers who both died fairly young. My dad died 33 years ago, at age 44, from heart/blood problems and my mom died 21 years ago, at 56 from lung cancer. For them smoking was the normal way of life around here and there was not really a stigma attached like there is today. To them smoking was just one choice in their life, not a controlling issue. My two youngest kids never met either of them and only my oldest has any memories of my mom. Do I consider that selfish of them? Not really since times then were different than they are today. If by some chance they were still alive today and were still smoking, I'd still probably feel the same way....that's just their life for them.

However, for those of the next generation where the understanding of what smoking really does to you, I think it's now a different scenario.

I think it can be both selfish and addictive in today's world. Much more of a choice than a way of life.

If they began smoking when it was a way of life still, then I wouldn't say it was selfish. If they began smoking when things were clear about the effects and they still choose to smoke, then yeah it could be selfish.

I've never smoked or had any desire to try to due to my parents heavy smoking.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:25 AM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
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No parent acts in a child's best interest 100% of the time, and we are all selfish to one degree or another. I'm not comfortable trying to define what is or is not selfish, but I will say that smoking is certainly a very unhealthy and expensive habit to have.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:29 AM
 
Location: chicagoland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJulia View Post
No parent acts in a child's best interest 100% of the time, and we are all selfish to one degree or another. I'm not comfortable trying to define what is or is not selfish, but I will say that smoking is certainly a very unhealthy and expensive habit to have.

I completely understand and respect that. But what if the children go to a parent and express great concern and practically beg the parent to stop something like smoking? What if the parent then refuses to stop dispite the children's concern?????
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Denver area
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I am with Julia on this. There are many many things adults do that can be considered selfish. I am not a smoker and it's not a habit I even care to be around. But the fact is, if your mom raised her kids they are adults and self sufficient then honestly, other than express your concern, love and support, there isn't much you can do. Calling her selfish isn't helping anything.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Texas
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Never have smoked but my mother did for something like 40 years. She finally quit. So it can be done.

In general, though, if you're addicted, it's not an easy thing to quit. (I know for myself, I need to lose some weight. Do I want to? Am I trying? Definitely, but it's not an easy thing.) Also, I think smokers usually are in some denial about the health effects and whether it will ever really affect them personally.

I think you can speak to someone and urge them to quit, but again, it's like adopting other good health habits, I think the person themself has to be strongly motivated before they can change. Labeling the behavior as "selfish or not" seems to be a bit judgmental and doesn't really solve the problem anyway.

Last edited by kaykay; 06-02-2009 at 08:43 AM..
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:36 AM
 
Location: chicagoland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maciesmom View Post
I am with Julia on this. There are many many things adults do that can be considered selfish. I am not a smoker and it's not a habit I even care to be around. But the fact is, if your mom raised her kids they are adults and self sufficient then honestly, other than express your concern, love and support, there isn't much you can do. Calling her selfish isn't helping anything.
It wasn't ME who thought she was selfish at first. After my sister got to me it just made me think. I do believe you are NEVER done being a parent and if a child comes to you about something you should at least take it into consideration and not just blow it off.

I wouldn't have called her "selish" either, but there IS an issue here.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:40 AM
 
Location: chicagoland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykay View Post
Never have smoked but my mother did for something like 40 years. She finally quit. So it can be done.

In general, though, if you're addicted, it's not an easy thing to quit. (I know for myself, I need to lose some weight. Do I want to? Am I trying? Definitely, but it's not an easy thing.) Also, I think smokers usually are in some denial about the health effects and whether it will ever really affect them personally.

I think you can speak to someone and urge them to quit, but again, it's like adopting other good health habits, I think the person themself has to be strongly motivated before they can change. Labelling the behavior as "selfish or not" seems to be a bit judgmental and doesn't really solve the problem anyway.
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Again, I do not necessarily believe my mother to be "selish," but however I'm feeling something really strong here. My sister is REALLY upset (which is strange since she is a heavy smoker) but I on the other hand am a little upset that she won't even try and she goes on to say that it "shouldn't bother us what SHE does???"

I remember something an elderly lady once told me: "My kids come first, then my husband and THEN ME." I agree with the first part, lol
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Penobscot Bay, the best place in Maine!
1,891 posts, read 5,146,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miasmommy View Post
I completely understand and respect that. But what if the children go to a parent and express great concern and practically beg the parent to stop something like smoking? What if the parent then refuses to stop dispite the children's concern?????
Not to put down your concern, but it *IS* her choice to do what she does, and though you may not agree with her choice, I think you have to respect that she is an adult and able to make decisions for herself. There are plenty of things that most people *could* do to improve their health and likely prolong their lives, but I don't think that parents of grown children should be considered selfish if they choose otherwise. What if you and your siblings were staunch vegans and your mother ate red meat at every meal? If you felt that your mother should be increasing her physical activity to x hours per week?
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Texas
8,668 posts, read 19,914,691 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miasmommy View Post
Again, I do not necessarily believe my mother to be "selfish," but however I'm feeling something really strong here. My sister is REALLY upset (which is strange since she is a heavy smoker) but I on the other hand am a little upset that she won't even try and she goes on to say that it "shouldn't bother us what SHE does???"

I remember something an elderly lady once told me: "My kids come first, then my husband and THEN ME." I agree with the first part, lol
Well, again, I have never smoked but from what I understand from those who have, it is a stress reliever and I think some people just feel they are unable to give that up. Sometimes they will change their minds, but it has to be when they feel ready I think. Hopefully, your mom will take on board what you two have spoken to her (whether she admits it or not) and will decide it's worth it to change.

In my mother's case, my own 3 year old asked her to quit! (He had heard public service announcements on TV that it was bad for you while he was watching cartoons!) She didn't quit immediately, but she did quit later, and I was surprised. She had some health issues she thought quitting would improve. I don't think my young son asking her had much to do with it. She was about 65 and had smoked since she was about 14.
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