“Why is the moon in the sky mummy?”
“What is a volcano?”
“What’s the London Eye?”
“Where does God live?”
They are just a few of the questions my 4 year old has asked recently. All I can give a pretty honest answer and explanation about. But then, the other week whilst in the car P1 asked “What’s that?” “What’s what?” I responded as I find it hard to turn to face her in the car now. And she pointed (to my shock) towards a massive advertisement on the side of a building with a horrific photo on. It was an advertisement or plea for people to stop smoking. It was this:
I glanced at my OH who hadn’t seen the photo she saw. How on earth was I going to explain that one?!
“Erm” I struggled. Eventually, I arranged my words into child form and explained that cigarettes are a bad thing, they fill up your lungs with smoke and make it hard for you to breathe, which then can cause things to grow inside and make you very very sick. And that the picture was trying to scare people so they would stop hurting their lungs. And luckily there was a man on our travels who was smoking so I could point out what I meant by “smoking”.
In all honesty – it went a little quiet in the back of the car. I think P1 was processing the whole conversation. People will probably think I was wrong with being brutally honest about it to a 4 year old. But that’s how I’ve always been with her – honest. It teaches her about life and about the way things work. She’s a very intelligent child.
I do think that there’s a fine line between putting an advert on the cigarette box or television for adults to see than to put a gigantic photo on the side of a building for the absolute world to see. I think it’s a disgusting habit that needs to be kicked but showing our children at such a young age… Is that the right way of doing it? I suppose in a way it is! Showing children what it can do before it’s too late.
There’s so many of those photos to stop smoking. Some are a lot more scarier than the one P1 saw. I feel quite lucky about that.