[FoRK] Re: The Shift...

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Thu May 26 20:30:23 PDT 2005

On May 26, 2005, at 10:04 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:

> I guess I just wasn't that kind of kid.  And why would they need to  
> be told not to smoke?  You mean after they started?  Should I then  
> just act like nothing's wrong with that situation??
> You know that peer pressure and, similarly, the coolness of doing  
> something bad*

That's just it --- the "coolness" of doing something bad.  Look no  
further.  And how do they know it's bad...?  Maybe because half of  
society --- the "uncool" half, in that juvenile estimation --- is in  
such a tither to keep them from doing it.  That which is verboten is,  
inherently, most attractive.  This attitude seems to effect a large  
fraction of the teenage populace, and probably that subset correlates  
closely to those who smoke.  "Peer pressure" is a cop-out.  This and  
other undesirable juvenile behavior is just rebellion, plain and simple.

How do you encourage them not to?  By making it uncool.  But you  
simply can't do that, not as a parent.  The best you can do, IMHO, is  
educate them about the risks and then trust them to either make good  
judgments or at least hide their deviant behavior from you  
effectively. ;-)

And BTW, this isn't just the story w/ smoking;  it's the story with  
underage drinking, teen sex, reckless driving, delinquent pranks,  
early drug experimentation, etc.  It's merely an apparently natural  
reaction to the over-application of authority from any and all  
quarters.  (There are similar behaviors in economically-repressed  
adult subcultures, etc.  What do you do when Da Man got you down?   
Anything he doesn't want you to.)

This is so clear and so pervasive in our society that I'm continually  
amazed that it's not more universally recognized and understood.

FWIW, I wasn't that kind of a kid either.  I wasn't a rebel at all on  
really any dimension, except maybe geekitude.  In fact I was a  
militant non-smoker until late in my 20s;  long story, not relevant.

> My socially oriented children tend towards smoking; my less  
> socially adept do not.  If it were a personal freedom issue for  
> them, it would be the opposite.  I have six samples.

Correlation isn't causation, of course.  ;-)


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