Like any tricky topic – and by ‘tricky’ I mean those topics that make kids the most curious and parents the most uncomfortable – vaping is best talked about openly, and it’s never too early to start the conversation.
Your younger kids will have no doubt noticed some curious wafts of vape clouds here and there, your older kids may have been more up close and personal. A 2021 report into vaping says that 20% of high school kids are vaping daily (ARFNZ/SPANZ). In contrast, the Nib annual State of the Nation Parenting Survey says that only 8% of parents know for sure their kids are vaping, and two thirds (67%) of parents are adamant that their secondary school-aged children don’t vape and have never vaped. Given this insight it would seem that this is indeed something we all need to talk about with our kids.
Vaping has certainly been a topic of conversation at our place, and I’d like to tell you I’ve offered wise and inspiring counsel. But more accurately, I’ve been dumbfounded and disappointed by the prevalence of vaping among my daughters’ peers, and deeply distressed on behalf of our young people. All the D words.
My colleague, who is a great deal cooler and more collected than me, has also had conversations with her kids about vaping and since she’s a child and family psychologist, I enquired as to her approach.
She guided the conversation with her kids to cover these three issues: