Should parents smoke?

Soon, MPs in Britain will decide on a proposal to ban smoking in vehicles carrying children. Someone who is against the ban, wrote online that this is a new ploy by the government to tell us how we should live our lives and how we should raise our children. He said that proposing a ban on smoking in cars with children is just one step away from saying what pregnant women should eat and soon they will be dictating terms about our life, our food and our body. This had me worried. I talked to my husband about it and this is how our conversation went:

Me: Did you read about the proposal to ban smoking in cars with children?

Him: Yup, that’s good for the kids.

Me: True, but what worries me is that if someone needs a law to stop them from doing something that’s clearly harmful to their child, should they be having a child at all in the first place.

Him: That’s why we need a law, because they are stupid .

The more I read about the debate, the less I could refute my husband’s opinion. When did doing what’s best for your child become a topic for debate on curbing you liberties and rights? Isn’t that what being a parent is all about – doing and being the best that you can for your child?

 

© Srividya Karthik 2014
© Srividya Karthik 2014

 

I’m not being judgmental here. I don’t want to tell someone how to raise their child or be the moral police – I don’t know how some people do that, because it must be exhausting and depressing to constantly run down someone else to make yourself feel good or superior. But it bothers me when we as individuals act like it’s all right that our selfish interests, whether its smoking, drinking or any other addictive and harmful behaviour, takes priority over the welfare of our child. This is more than taking the higher moral ground or doing the right thing. It’s something very fundamental, the basic human tendency to care for our young.

I’ve seen educated people smoke around their children, not in the least concerned about the terrible effects of second hand smoke on them. And what example does it set for the young people who grow up watching their parents smoke? That it’s not harmful, that you don’t have to consider another’s lungs when you smoke around them?

We wonder why the young are not respectful of the adults these days, why they do not show consideration for anything or anyone. Well, they learn what they see around them, don’t’ they? We have increasingly become a society where “I” always comes first, irrespective of what damage it does to others. This might sound harsh, but if we can’t act in the best interests of our children, then why bother having them? It’s not fair to them and we aren’t doing ourselves any favours either.

What do you think about parents smoking? Share your views in the comments.

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