My Second Hand Smoke Analogy for Parents

Last Thursday evening, my 3 year old son came home from daycare, plopped himself down on our sofa, let out a loud sigh, then announced, “Geez. I had a loooooong day!”

This proclamation was then followed by another heavy sigh.Ari Salmansohn

It was funny (at first) to hear my toddler talk like a groaning grown up. Until it occurred to me who the groaning grown up was that taught him to complain about his loooong day at daycare.

Yep, it was me. And yep, I am an inspirational author – who is supposed to recognize the benefits of choosing happy, positive, energizing words.

Although I don’t remember complaining about my looooong day in front of my son,  I figured these whiny words must have come from me – because that MAri Salmansohnonday, Tuesday and Wednesday of that particular week had been extra-crunchy busy – with me juggling a few writing projects at the same time.

When I heard my groaning grown up words being spewed by my little guy, I gotta say, I didn’t like it. I definitely do not want to teach my son it’s a good regular evening ritual to mutter exhausted complaints on the sofa.

I realized in that moment how I needed to give up this bad habit – not only because it’s bad for me to end my day whining about battle-fatigue – but I also want to protect my 3 year old son from making this his habit as well.

Basically, I don’t want my son to pick up my “second hand bad habit smoke.”

What do I mean by “second hand bad habit smoke”?

Well, we all know that not only is smoking cigarettes bad for your health, it also has deleterious effects on whoever is exposed to one’s second hand smoke. For this reason, a parent who smokes needs to be especially careful about not lighting up in front of their children.Karen Salmansohn - choice habit

Guess what? This same awareness applies to making sure we parents do NOT expose our children to our other bad habits as well  – because our children can easily inhale  “second hand bad habit smoke” – and suffer the negative consequences.

It’s a known factoid: It’s not just what we tell our kids that they learn. They also learn from watching what we do. Basically, whatever we parents do around our children they eventually inhale into their system.

With this in mind, here’s a list of bad habits we parents need to watch out for – so our kids don’t wind up inhaling our “second hand bad habit smoke.”


1.    Gossiping
2.    Texting during a meal
3.    Spending too much time on the computer
4.    Being sarcastic during a conflict
ARI salmansohn5.    Swearing
6.    Complaining too much
7.    Eating too much junk food
8.    Belittling or yelling at our partner
9.    Ignoring/not listening to our partner
10.  Laziness
11.   Expressing lack of faith/hope
12.   Being constantly negative about things
13.   Displaying addictions of any kind
14.   Showing angry impatience
15. Expressing lack of forgiveness/compassion – for ourselves, for our partner, for others

TWEET THIS NOW:An important warning for parents – via @notsalmon ‘s blog

TWEET THIS NOW: I love this second hand smoke analogy for parents  – via @notsalmon ‘s blog

I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below!   What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read my essay?  Be specific! Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! 

Written by Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.
  • Great stuff, Karen and a fun topic to chat about over lunch. xo

  • Liz Tucci

    I Love Love Love these stickers for kids! I work in an elementary school and these would be such wonderful tools for our parents!

  • Julie Walker-Bourbon

    Dishonesty..lying whether in words or intent…my children and I were at the pet store, they really wanted to hold a puppy, I explained that the rile is only people who are looking to purchase a dog are supposed to hold them. They were unhappy and wanted to “pretend” to be interested. I explained, that that was dishonest. If our intention is not congruent it is the same as lying.

  • Danielle Louis

    I started something last year with the kids, before contemplation and bed I started to ask them what was the best thing happening to them during the day.Some days I forgot and they came up to me to say we haven’t done it mum or if I’m busy in the kitchen my daughter, a teenager now would say the best thing happening today was: it’s great to see how enthusiastic they get about it too.