I made a discovery this week that made me feel physically sick and absolutely powerless to do anything about it.
My beautiful 18 year old daughter has started smoking!
She was helping me with the prep and was wrapping up the pass the parcel when we discovered we had an extra packet of sweets as a prize. I quite innocently opened up her handbag to drop them in and there was a packet of cigarettes.
I didn't say anything immediately as I didn't want to go off like a rocket, so I walked away and busied myself with some baking.
I suppose I ought to let you know some background. Her dad and his family are all heavy smokers and his family don't seem to think anything of their children following in their footsteps! I used to smoke (never many as I didn't like it) but gave up for my pregnancies and finally quit 12 years ago for good. My daughter used to nag me stop!!
I don't know how recent this is, but I'm pretty sure it's been in the last 6 months. All the friends she hangs around with smoke and she was in Sussex visiting family last month for her sisters 18th.
So, has she been influenced?
I still don't know. When I asked her she said she didn't smoke much. She certainly didn't have any at all on Monday whilst she was here, so she can't be dependant on them - yet!
We discussed the expense of them and what a waste of money they are as well as the health implications. I just hope with the smoking ban and the other government objectives to help try and reduce the amount of smokers out there, she will realise that there are far better things out there to spend her money on.
However, I can't force her to give up. I have to stand back and watch and hope she makes the right decision.
Sometimes being a parent is just so damn hard!