Hi all... it's been a really long time since I've posted on this site, but I really really need some input from other mamas on this.
I knew my ex smoked. Not while we were married or living together with the kids, but long after. As far as I knew, it was always OUTSIDE (of the car and his apartment). Recently I heard my kids (ages 10, 8 and 6) talking about how they packed their dad's hookah with tobacco for him... him saying something about it being traditional in some culture somewhere for kids to do so. I don't doubt that it might be, I have no idea to be honest. I do know for sure that it's not a part of HIS culture, so this is a choice he is making, not some deeply ingrained cultural habit.
Now I generally don't ask my kids about the comings and goings of my ex, but I did ask them if he smoked in the house while they were there... and I guess he does. Not cigarettes, which he apparently smokes outside, but a hookah.
I am not okay with sending my kids to a house where there is smoking, period. It is his house and he is welcome to smoke in it if he likes, but not around my kids. I just didn't expect this to be an issue between my ex and myself, and I don't really know how to approach it with him.
Just background info... been separated/divorced since January of 2006. I have sole legal/physical custody.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I don't believe there is any way you can force him not to do this (and I don't blame you for not wanting him to!) -- even if you were still married and lived together, you have no tool to forbid him to do something unwise, but not abusive or illegal. The only leverage you really have is to tell him that whether he smokes is his business, but you feel very strongly about not exposing the kids to secondhand smoke, and as a coparent, it would mean a lot to you if he honored your wishes about this and limited smoking to outdoors or something similar (in a room the kids don't enter, with the door closed? Not ideal, but better than the current situation ...).
I am actually on the other side of this equation. ATM, I have sole/legal until the settlement is finished and an agreement reached. My SO smokes (cigarettes) inside the house and in the car. I can't physically make him stop as much as I want him too and thankfully, I've at least gotten him to cut back. I know this upsets my ex but there is nothing I can do to remedy the situation. SO is NOT allowed to smoke in the bedrooms or playroom or obviously while he is holding her. All her clothes and diaper bags are kept in the playroom so that it's as smoke free as I can make it when she goes over there. All I think you can do is ask him not to smoke around the children.
just wanted to pop over. my x is/was a smoker when the boys were little the GAL actually had it put in the order he was not to smoke around the children (in house, car, any enclosed space) there was no real way to enforce it but it did give me piece of mind
IMO, smoking around kids should be illegal. It's totally irresponsible to cause your children to have health issues that could be avoided because you (general) choose to smoke. Even if my ex wanted to see my son, it would have to be in the court orders that he not smoke in the house or car, etc., when my son is with him. Go ahead and kill yourself with smoking but don't make the child suffer because of your addiction. I would never even live with someone who had the indecency to smoke around my kid. That relationship would be over in a heart beat. Even if you smoke in separate rooms, the chemicals still float around the house and through the ac/heat vents. No thanks!
Apart from communicating effectively with your ex about your concerns, there is not much you can do about the choices he makes in his own home. If this doesn't work, you could take a different approach. Your children are of a very impressionable age and should be educated by you on all the consequences of smoking. And by that I mean, photos, videos, visits to hospital wards with people suffering emphysema or lung cancer etc (talking to patients), reading to them about it, etc etc. Children are very logical thinkers. It won't be long before they are trying to talk their father into quitting, or they will be stepping outside the house while he smokes in there. It is about respect. Be sure your children understand he is not a bad person for smoking, but that he makes a bad choice for himself. They can choose for themselves to not be present during that time. Hopefully this helps? Anything is worth trying when the health of your children is at stake.