A Family Affair:  Quitting for Your Grandchildren

Blog Post created by NDC_Team on Jan 2, 2019

When I ask people why they may be thinking of quitting at this particular time, it often comes down to one of 3 things – health, money, or family.


And among those that say family – one of the biggest reasons specifically is grandchildren.


The thought of being the grandparent who needs to haul around an oxygen tank is a picture that many do not want to even imagine.  They want to be an active grandparent – building a tree house in the backyard, or participating in fun runs with the grandkids.


However, life often gets in the way of these plans.  Our smoking catches up with us, and all those times we tried to quit – well, it just never quite happened.   And then, our doctor is prescribing oxygen for nighttime… and then for 24/7 use.


And those plans?  Well they just evaporate away.  And the next thing you know, you are watching others your age running with their grandchildren and having fun, and you are left at the side lines.


For, even while quitting for the grandchildren is a motivator for many, it can be quite hard to see accepting the support of these youngsters in your life as you embark on such a big lifestyle change. Many feel embarrassed by their inability to quit, while their grandkids are learning in school about how bad smoking is for your health – and meanwhile, you are continuing to smoke.


However, remember that the change you are making can be a great reminder to your grandchildren that one can make changes at any time in your life – it’s a good life lesson!  Some have found it very helpful and supportive to have the youngsters in their life put stickers on the calendar for every day you are smoke-free, or enjoy an afternoon outing for ice cream for you and the kids with the money you have saved from not smoking for the past week.  The kids will enjoy these activities, and they can celebrate with you as you continue to rack up more days in your new smoke-free life.


Yes, quitting smoking can really be a family affair, whether there are others who are trying to quit as well in your family or not.  Young children can play an integral role in assisting with this effort; feel effective in helping to make this change happen, while simultaneously giving built-in motivation to keep the cycle going.  Older children may find it helpful to aid grandma or grandpa in finding other interests to fill their time – such as learning a new board game, helping fix a flat tire on a bike, or assisting with studying for that upcoming geography test.


Remember that there is no real textbook way to do this, and what works for one family may not be the answer for yours.   But just as you were able to find the right motivation for you to make that decision to quit, you will find the right way to involve those natural support systems around you that you know and trust.


Barb Dallavalle, MA, LP

NDC Counselor/CTTS