Find out if your child is smoking

A new DIY kit helps make it easy to detect various diseases very early and treat them in time. The same technology also makes it possible to find out if someone smokes. The smoker detection kit consists of a strip which when dipped in someone’s urine will change colour if that person has smoked in past 12 days. This is being touted as a breakthrough for parents to find out if their child has been smoking.

I am completely stumped by this claim. Pray tell me how to use this strip to figure out if a teenager has been smoking? Do we expect a scenario like the following…

Father : Son we suspect you smoke. Please come to the bathroom, pee in this sample bottle and dip this strip in it. Let’s see if it changes the colour.

Son : What? I have been telling you that I don’t smoke, don’t you trust me?

Father : I trust you son. But I still want to confirm using this latest technological advance.

What do you think will be the outcome of such an episode? The father may find out if his son smokes or not, but would the relationship between them remain anymore? Won’t the son feel hugely humiliated? Won’t the trust between them be broken for ever?

If the son is found to be a smoker, the father would never trust him and if the son is not a smoker, he will hate his father for rest of his life for not trusting him.

The most important thing in a relationship is trust. It takes years to build it and if the trust is broken so is the relationship. However, if the parent needs to resort to use a strip to find out if the child smokes, there is hardly any relationship between them to begin with.

I remember the first time I smoked. I was eighteen when had gone for a college picnic, and like so many other young people, I smoked my first cigarette. I was quite excited by that. That was the biggest happening for that day.

I came home and asked my sister, “Can you guess what I did today?” She looked at me once and said “You must have smoked!”. I was flattened. I asked her how did she know, and she told me that I couldn’t have done anything more outrageous than smoking.

Next stop was dada, my father.  I went to him and told him that I had smoked. He asked me if I was aware of the harm tobacco could cause. He then said that I was a sensible person and would be able to make my own decisions. And that was that.

I felt very trusted, and responsible. Later, when I became a regular smoker, I felt I somehow breached the trust that my father had put in me. But I never hid the fact from my father and he only made me aware of bad effects of tobacco and left the decision to me. I eventually quit smoking after 20 years.

If there is such trusting relationship between the parent and the child, we don’t need such medical inventions.

What do you think it takes to build such trusting relationships?

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8 Responses to Find out if your child is smoking

  1. poornima says:

    Can anyone help me ?? , if a person break your promise three times about quitting a smoke, will again trust can develop.It think its very hard.I am really suffering with hard time…Don’t known what to do.

    • Poornima
      I did break my promises about quitting smoking many times, starting from the time I got engaged. However, I was fortunate to have a wife which trusted that I would understand some time. I finally quit 18 years after getting married.

      I think what mattered was her keeping the trust in me, in spite of my shortcomings. I am very thankful to her for that. That gave me the desire to keep making efforts.

      You can read about my efforts of quitting smoking here.


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  4. Pramod Nair says:

    Trust not only limits with parents and kids.. but between friends, manager n team, husband and wife too…. If you look at a person with a smile and tell him/her.. “I trust you”.. that words itself will restrict him/her to go against your trust….

    I have tried it.. it really works… 😉 My friend had an habit of drinking, she was so addicted that she needed atleast 2 pegs daily. I somehow managed to get her out of this. This 31st eve i was not in Mumbai and called her from Indore to wish her. She said that she is with her friends in Velvet lounge and said that she will have drinks since her peers/friends were forcing her. All i said was “babe, I trust you…” to which she replied.. “I will never break it, i swear”… later she told me that she dint touch it, and I can verify it with anyone, to which I replied “I still trust you” 🙂

    According to me you can either trust or don’t trust at all.. there is nothing called as “trust but I still verify”….and if you do so, there is 99% chance that you will loose trust. You cannot impose rules on anyone, all you can do is trust and when you do that, you have to put in your 100% trust. Now this will bring you either positive outcome or negative, and when it is negative, you know what to do.. “Never trust tat person again”;)

    When I was in Wipro.. they had this poster put up on wall, it inspired me a lot…It read “It can either be black or white.. there is nothing called gray”

    • mkarkare says:

      Thanks Pramod for sharing such an inspiring incident. Trust works.
      I would like to debate “trust but verify” a little.
      Let’s look at how the trust builds. Someone makes a commitment and keeps it. Your trust level increases. As this keeps happenning, the trust keeps building. An intgral part of this process is for others to know that the commitment was fulfilled. This basically needs a feedback loop. The verification (either intentional or accidental) provides this.
      There is always some extent of insecurity in all of us. One source of insecurity is doubts. Even as the relationship progresses, from time to time doubts arise. A confirmation that the trust is well placed makes the relationship stronger.
      Thirdly there is the factor of human falliability. Many times, in a difficult situation, we may actually supporting the person by trying to verify, since that person is confronted during verification.

      Verification doesn’t necessarily mean spying. It could just be confirming from the person who made the commitment. And if both people trust each other, they wouldn’t really mind such confirmation,

  5. Vinayak says:

    I think possibility of open conversation is very important for trust in relationships.
    people always fear about what kind of reaction their feedback will generate; specially when the relation has a generation gap.
    before labeling anything as good/bad we should always consider other persons perspective.
    may be its time to realize nothing is BAD its only your point of view that makes it BAD! 😛 🙂

  6. Mohammed Sufiyan Khan says:

    I am not good at this…
    Whatever bad I did, I haven’t disclose that to my parents…. I don’t know, why?
    Maybe I am so scared about there reaction….
    However, I am trying to be a better human being and I am on my way.. I try very hard to keep my promises…

    I believe, if you trust a person, you should let her/him know that you really trust.
    Its my own opinion, I am just a beginner to the world, there is a lot to learn..

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