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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Telling parents like it is

Posted by: "Maqsud Sobhani"
Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:47 am (PST)

Salam alaikum,
As much as we always talk about the rights of parents over children, the children also have a lot of rights over parents and I am speaking Islamically. It is childrens right to be brought up in a healthy environment, among other things.
Below is part of a letter, an Ameriacn teenager wrote to her parents, pleading them to stop smoking at home (it worked actually, at least so far!).
Please dont tell me how bad americans are to smoke at home or in front of thier childrent! Smoking is more common in Muslim populated nations that in USA, so the below letter equally is applicable anywhere in the world.
----------------------------------------------------------

Mom and Dad

I really want to get my point across without being childish about it. Nothing so far has worked, so I'm hoping that my attempts at writing you a letter expressing how I really feel will have some impact on you and change your ways. I hope you'll take me seriously.

I'm 18 years old and living with my parents, normal? Yes. However, the fact that I cannot stand to be in this house isn't normal. It's not normal that I should have to wake up dreading the fact that I'm here because the house is full of smoke. Every morning I wake up and I'm stuffy, even when it isn't allergy season. That isn't right. I wake up and my eyes water and I can smell the smoke in the air, even if you're smoking downstairs. Smoking in a different room only makes the impact seem less, but it is still getting to me. The same goes for smoking on the other side of the room. News flash, it doesn't stay in one place.

You guys cough all the time, wonder why? Well your lungs aren't the only ones being bothered by it. You guys have the right to kill yourselves slowly by smoking, even though you don't see it that way. However, what about my life and Mark's life? You know he does not appreciate this either. It's not fair. I'm an adult, my lungs are mine, but as you know, I have no place to go. I'm still living here, but I can't escape the smoke. And for Mark, he's still a child, but smoking around him is not fair. You can't say because he isn't 18 that his lungs are yours and you can do whatever you want. Cigarette smoke, especially second-hand smoke, is very damaging, and more so now than ever.

I personally feel that as a parent, if you cannot respect your children's wishes to not smoke to give them a healthy environment to live in, you're selfish. Kids deserve to grow up healthy. If you need to smoke, there's a door. You can go outside and smoke where it's not bothering anybody. Keeping it in the house, especially when your kids have asked you countless times not to, is very self-centered. You may say that we go to the doctor and they find nothing wrong with us, but 10 years from now, one of us may have something very serious which is directly related to cigarette smoke.
Remember when I had asthmatic bronchitis? Your smoking in the house really aggravated it. It definitely did not help it. As for me, I'm coughing all the time.

It's also embarrassing for me. When I went to school, people told me how I smelled like smoke and asked me if I smoked. Is that fair to me? Absolutely not. I did not do one thing to deserve any of this. Not the irritation when I wake up, not the coughing all the time because I can't breathe, and not the embarrassment I receive when I go some place.

It's not fair - and you need to understand that.
I'm writing this letter because nothing seems to get through to you, and you guys definitely do not understand how much it really bugs me that you smoke. You hear me whine and complain all day, but you never get the hint. You don't really realize that I hate living here. I hate it, and it's due to your smoking.

You guys will say, it's too hard to quit, or I don't want to quit. Fine, don't then. But don't make us suffer. Go out side and do it. It's pretty sad that you can find it OK in your mind to sit in your house and harm your children's health, but you can't take 5 steps out to the porch and smoke. Even if it's raining or cold out, Who cares? You'd rather damage your kids than go outside for 3 minutes? IF anything is stingy, it's that.

At the moment, I'm unable to afford a separate place that is free from smoke. If I could afford one, I'd get one, and I'd let Mark stay with me if he really wanted to, but that's not possible, and I wouldn't just leave because I do love you very much. However your smoking habits do hinder how I feel about you and living with you.

I just really wish you two could open your eyes and see how much you're bothering your daughter. When she hates to live at home, it's really a problem. It's not hard to respect someone's wishes and just stop smoking indoors. Think of all the benefits of it, I'll stop complaining, Mark will, although he doesn't do it as much as I do, I'll be able to breathe easier, the house will smell better and the walls won't have yellow smoke all over them.

Please, I'm so tired of asking and getting nothing. Please stop smoking in the house.

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