As the parents of two young girls, Christina and her husband, Art, are very busy. Their 10-year-old daughter, Abigail, is the couple’s rule follower, whereas their younger daughter, Madeline, is more of a spirited child, making up her own rules as she goes. Ever since the girls were young, Christina has told them stories about her youth and their family. She teaches them, through these true stories, about her and her family’s experiences with cigarettes.
Without lecturing, the message that smoking “made her father smell bad” or “made her mother feel sick” sends the girls a clear message that smoking is a bad habit and not something she would want them to do. Christina has learned that young children retain information better from true stories than from abstract information.
“They like it when I tell them stories from when I was growing up and they get not to smoke through my stories.”
Christina also finds it effective to talk to her girls about serious subjects, such as smoking, when driving in the car. She says when they are not eye to eye, the conversation takes on a less confrontational feel, and Abigail and Madeline are more likely to ask and answer questions. This, says Christina, is even more effective when she is alone with just one of her daughters.