a mother's kid has her hand out asking her mother to quit smoking

When Your Kids Tell You to Quit Smoking

We were a family of smokers, except for my baby sis. After mom was diagnosed with COPD, all 4 of us kids told her to quit smoking. Her illness forced us to face the facts. None of us were getting any healthier by smoking. I had good success in being smoke-free for a few years but then would go back to smoking. We all wanted to be done with cigarettes, but put it off, or played with the habit.

We almost lost her

One summer, my daughter had come in from college for the weekend. She was shocked at how pale and thin mom looked. After she watched how mom was gasping for air, she took her straight to ER. Mom’s O2 levels were very low, and she had lost weight. As we met in the emergency room, we were one sad family. We hadn’t known how sick she was.

Siblings unite

We all talked on the phone and decided mom would come to my house to quit smoking. Later, all four of us kids met in mom’s hospital room and announced our decision. We were hopeful that mom would agree. She was so sweet and expressed that she felt like a burden. She wanted to go home to her house. However, the doctor didn’t want her to be alone. Her lungs were hyperinflated. There were new medications, inhalers, and an oxygen tank to deal with.

I don’t want to quit

She wasn’t ready to quit. She was weak, and low on O2, and just didn’t see the threat. Mom was also very scared to quit smoking. Cigarettes had been her best friend for most of her life. We were respectful of that. In fact, we had all talked about the addiction, but we were still young and hadn’t seen the effects of it. Now we were all in shock. Mom truly wanted to be the one to lead by example and help her kids stop smoking. Just not right now.

Bringing mom home

Within 2 days, we had her all settled out at my place. It was out in the county, and on a lake. We lived in a cabin in a cove. Basically, my place was a dead-end street surrounded by water. It may sound like an ideal setting to get used to oxygen and stop smoking. Instead, mom felt like she was a prisoner. All of us kids told her she needed to quit smoking. Well, this was my goal when she came home with me.

A big fight

I’ve got to admit that it was a big fight from day one. I lived too far away for the family to come out during the week. Mom was stuck with me. I had all kinds of books, cassette tapes, nicotine gum, patches, and every other thing that could help a person quit smoking. It felt to me like I had created a mini-retreat center for her.

I had no idea how many harsh words we would exchange over the next 2 weeks. What started well, turned into a disaster, and mom felt disrespected. Eventually, she took matters into her own hands and quit, but it was on her terms. I wonder if others have family conflicts due to attempts to quit smoking.

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