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Old 19.09.2011, 22:25
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Smoking and kids

I have a problem. I think in my mind I have figured out what I have to do, but it comes with a bunch of other issues.... here's the story [get your popcorn out now].

Where I live there is no afterschool care available for school age kids (only up to 7 years), so the only local solution for kids after they finish school is a tagesmutter. There is a great shortage in our neighbourhood at the moment - basically we filed our requests with the Tageselternverein back in February and were told that they could not promise anything for the start of term. Start of term came and we had nobody. It was a right royal PITA, although we managed with a lot of flexi time working from home etc.

Then 3 weeks ago we were contacted and interviewed a Tagesmutter. She seemed fine, easy going, friendly, nice, has a daughter of her own a year older than my son, and another kid that she minds albeit on different days. All seemed fine. We did a couple of trials and then went for it.

Today my son came home and out of the blue stated "I'm not ever going to smoke, it's gross and smelly". Good, I said, but then obviously I wanted to know what brought this comment on. So then comes the killer blow "Frau Winter might die - it says so on the cigarette packet"

Now, we stated on our forms that we wanted a non smoker. There was no discussion about smoking when we interviewed her (with the Tageselternverein present I hasten to add) I assumed that she was not a smoker. It turns out that she doesn't smoke in her house, therefore she's classified as a non smoking household.

Now excuse me while I just have a hissy fit - my anti-smoking-and-kids feelings are not all to do with passive smoking. Obviously I don't approve of that either but it's also about setting an example for an impressionable child.

I'm totally pissed off and want to immediately cancel the contract (well, actually we don't have one yet because we're still in the trial period) - would you do the same? Or would you try and work it out? It's the dishonesty and finding this out from my son that has really made me to be honest. If she had said outright that she smokes outside then I'd have a lot more respect for her and be more interested in discussing it iykwim. Will the Tageselternverein be supportive of my knee-jerk reaction or will they think "crazy ex-pat woman"?

[essay ends here!!]
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:32
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Re: Smoking and kids

Well, if she smokes only outside and not in the presence of the kids, I guess it's her private life and she can do what she wants? There's no real passive-smoking in that case, no?

But I guess if it really troubles you a little chat with her is in order. Perhaps you could ask her to be more discreet with her cig packs, especially as the repulsive pictures they place on them are quite scary...
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:38
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Re: Smoking and kids

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Well, if she smokes only outside and not in the presence of the kids, I guess it's her private life and she can do what she wants? There's no real passive-smoking in that case, no?

But I guess if it really troubles you a little chat with her is in order. Perhaps you could ask her to be more discreet with her cig packs, especially as the repulsive pictures they place on them are quite scary...
Agree with this, is she is not smoking when your son is present and from now on can hide the cigarettes I wouldn't give up an otherwise good tagesmutter.
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:38
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Re: Smoking and kids

No - she does smoke when my kid is there - she does it on her balcony while he's there and when they are at the park. So no, not in her own time - it's the time I paid her to look after my son.

Basically if he comes home having seen her smoking then no, I'm not happy about it, because she's an "adult of influence" in his life setting a bad example.
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:43
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Re: Smoking and kids

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No - she does smoke when my kid is there - she does it on her balcony while he's there and when they are at the park. So no, not in her own time - it's the time I paid her to look after my son.

Basically if he comes home having seen her smoking then no, I'm not happy about it, because she's an "adult of influence" in his life setting a bad example.
Well if you feel so strongly about it you should find someone else, I don't think you can ask her to stop smoking during the time your son is there. Technically a "smoke-free household" is a house where there is no smoking. If you specifically request a Non smoking caregiver you have a case against them otherwise not.
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:44
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Re: Smoking and kids

Surely the fact that he already considers it 'gross and smelly' suggests that he is unlikely to be influenced by it in the long term?

Anyway, people smoke. If he doesn't see his tagesmutter smoking, it will be his school teacher down the shops, his school mates at the back of the gymnasium, his drinking partners at the fire brigade club house.

It would be a shame to lose a good tagesmutter rather than seize the opportunity for a discussion about how people have strange and dirty habits and how we all have to get along anyway.

Anyway, here's a picture of a child smoking with a chicken:

smoking-kids-chicksmoke.jpg
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:45
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Re: Smoking and kids

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Basically if he comes home having seen her smoking then no, I'm not happy about it, because she's an "adult of influence" in his life setting a bad example.
It sounds like you have made your mind up and I do understand your feelings, but it also sounds like you need this woman, so you need to be careful about how you handle this.

Do you think there is a way of asking her if she can withhold from smoking whilst son is around without ruining the relationship you are trying to establish with her? Also, how long does she look after your son for? Is it realistic to ask her not to smoke at all when he is around? Is there some compromise you could accept (eg allowed on the balcony but not on trips to the park or when in the car etc etc)
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:49
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Re: Smoking and kids

You are paying for a service. If you are not happy with the service providers decorum during the period you are paying for - then you are entitled to cancel said service.

I will not tolerate workmen smoking in my basement while installing new wiring or plumbing ...... We do not tolerate smoking in our house.

It is an accepted stipulation these days - same as autos that belch smoke are not allowed on public roads.... and smoking is prohibed in certain public areas.

This service she is offering is public, innit? ...... I am amazed that she is accepted as a child-minder!

Should your child, by some chance, be influenced by her (or admired), they will surely (innocently) emulate her in the future...? Is that what you want?
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:51
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Re: Smoking and kids

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she does it on her balcony while he's there and when they are at the park.
So, where's the problem?

Smoking outside is fine.

Now, if she smoked indoors, you might have a point.

But you don't.

Tom
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:52
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Re: Smoking and kids

Where does she smoke when he's not there: inside?

I grew up in a household where everybody except me smoked VERY heavily. Correction... I also passively smoked.

It wasn't until I was 18, move to another city to go to university and spend much more time in a completely smokefree environment that I realized how it had been affecting me before.

During visits home I immediately started to notice it even more (painful eyes, the smell, effect on breathing, etc.) and the real shocker came when the walls were being freshly painted and curtains washed and I realized how discolored everything was - including my longues i guess - disgusting

The entire concept of smoking just flabbergasts me: taking dried leaves, lighting them, and inhaling the smoke?

So to come back to the original point, why would you want to keep your child exposed to this?
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:52
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Re: Smoking and kids

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Anyway, here's a picture of a child smoking with a chicken:
Hey, I smoked a chicken (and some ribs) for tonight's dinner!

Tom
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:54
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Re: Smoking and kids

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It is an accepted stipulation these days - same as autos that belch smoke are not allowed on public roads
Actually, as long as they are old, they are!

Tom
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:00
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Re: Smoking and kids

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So, where's the problem?

Smoking outside is fine.

Now, if she smoked indoors, you might have a point.

But you don't.

Tom
You see the thing is this - there are two main points. And I'm sorry if my post was too long to highlight them

1) We wanted a non smoker. We specified that. Now, if I were to specify a non smoking household in the UK it would really mean "nobody in this house smokes - at all - ever." It would not mean "nobody smokes in this house but we all smoke outside and that's OK". So, now I don't know what it is that the TEV considers to be non-smoking. Whether we have actually been lied to or whether their definition on non-smoking is different than mine.

2) I do feel that kids should not see their "significant carers" smoking - because it basically gives the impression that it's OK to smoke. Kids learn things by copying - and they copy both good and bad behaviour. If you don't want your kids to shout, don't shout at them. If you don't want them to hit people then don't hit them. Same goes for smoking. The fact he thinks it's gross and smelly is good - obviously - but he likes her too - she's fun and they do fun things together. At some point in the future he may think "Frau Winter is cool and fun and she smokes".

I think I have already decided to cancel the contract. What I'm not sure of now is what kind of reaction I'm going to get. i.e. "crazy overprotective loony" (which frankly I'm really not!!) or "understandable".
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:05
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Re: Smoking and kids

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I think I have already decided to cancel the contract. What I'm not sure of now is what kind of reaction I'm going to get. i.e. "crazy overprotective loony" (which frankly I'm really not!!) or "understandable".
Why are you worried what they think of you? This is your opinion, it is your child and you decided what you think is good for him or not.
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:06
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Re: Smoking and kids

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I think I have already decided to cancel the contract. What I'm not sure of now is what kind of reaction I'm going to get. i.e. "crazy overprotective loony" (which frankly I'm really not!!) or "understandable".
Why does it matter? Are you worried about getting another childminder? If so, try to keep your reasons for cancellation very brief.
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:08
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At some point in the future he may think "Frau Winter is cool and fun and she smokes".
I don't want to labour the point, as it is clear you have already made your decision, but soon it will be "Herr Meier is cool and fun and he smokes", "Kemal is cool and fun and he smokes", "Celine is cool and fun and she smokes", "Lukas is cool and fun and he smokes."

You will not always be able to remove him from the presence of negative role models.

How will you handle it next time?
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:09
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Re: Smoking and kids

I think it would be more rational for you to find a new caregiver rather than to ask or expect her to not smoke at all during the times that your son is under her care. I say this because most smokers can't just simply NOT smoke for hours on end. Nicotine addiction is HELL, as is the process of trying to quit. And while smoking may not be a wise choice, I really don't think that someone who smokes should be considered immoral.
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:10
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Re: Smoking and kids

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You see the thing is this - there are two main points. And I'm sorry if my post was too long to highlight them

1) We wanted a non smoker. We specified that. Now, if I were to specify a non smoking household in the UK it would really mean "nobody in this house smokes - at all - ever." It would not mean "nobody smokes in this house but we all smoke outside and that's OK". So, now I don't know what it is that the TEV considers to be non-smoking. Whether we have actually been lied to or whether their definition on non-smoking is different than mine.

2) I do feel that kids should not see their "significant carers" smoking - because it basically gives the impression that it's OK to smoke. Kids learn things by copying - and they copy both good and bad behaviour. If you don't want your kids to shout, don't shout at them. If you don't want them to hit people then don't hit them. Same goes for smoking. The fact he thinks it's gross and smelly is good - obviously - but he likes her too - she's fun and they do fun things together. At some point in the future he may think "Frau Winter is cool and fun and she smokes".

I think I have already decided to cancel the contract. What I'm not sure of now is what kind of reaction I'm going to get. i.e. "crazy overprotective loony" (which frankly I'm really not!!) or "understandable".
On the other hand ............(Devils Advocate here) ... by being reared/minded by this lady .. he is exposed to cigarettes ....... and they pose no "mystery/excitement" to him.

As long as he is free of the actual smoke, and he states already that he does not like the smell ... then it could be an education ....... sort-of.....?

Better than suddenly being confronted by peer groups who smoke?
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:11
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Re: Smoking and kids

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Why are you worried what they think of you? This is your opinion, it is your child and you decided what you think is good for him or not.
I am worried because we desperately need to find a Tagesmutter. Having the TEV think I'm unreasonable and rejecting someone they think is perfectly OK is not going to help me find someone else - via them. Smoking is such an acceptable pasttime here that I just wonder how my anti-smoking views will go down that's all. So basically I'm canvassing opinion here about whether or not people understand my point of view - and it seems I'm right in thinking that some people really don't think I have a point at all.
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:14
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Re: Smoking and kids

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I don't want to labour the point, as it is clear you have already made your decision, but soon it will be "Herr Meier is cool and fun and he smokes", "Kemal is cool and fun and he smokes", "Celine is cool and fun and she smokes", "Lukas is cool and fun and he smokes."

You will not always be able to remove him from the presence of negative role models.

How will you handle it next time?
I think it's important for people in a position of responsibility to set a good example and not smoke in front of kids. If it's the classmates of the OP's son, then that's a whole different matter and she'll have to tackle that when the time comes. This case is the same reason that teachers wouldn't be able to light up in front of the class in the middle of geography.
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