Neighbor’s smoking snuffs out kids’ play dates
Question: My 10-yearold son Barry made friends with a new boy next door named Billy. Billy invited Barry over to play, and I agreed after calling Billy’s mother to confirm. I’ve met her a couple of times when I was taking a walk. It was a rainy day and the kids stayed inside all day watching movies.
When Barry came home, he reeked of cigarette smoke. He told me that Billy’s mother smokes in the house and doesn’t open the windows. Billy invited Barry over the next day, and I said no. I called Billy’s mother and told her tactfully that I said no because of the smoke.
She became defensive saying she doesn’t smoke around her son (obviously not true), has no idea why “people today are so ridiculous about smoking” and that she’d air out the house before Barry came back if that would “make you happy.” I suggested Billy come to our house. She refused, saying she’d rather have Billy where she can keep an eye on him. Barry really likes Billy, and I’m not sure what to do.
Answer: No child — or adult for that matter — should be exposed to secondhand smoke. I feel bad for Billy or any child stuck in his situation. All you can do is explain to Barry that for health reasons, you don’t want him going into Billy’s house. Be sure he knows it’s nothing against the child, that Billy is welcome in your house, and for now he should stick to playing with Billy outside. Kids are good at working things out. I bet these two will, too.