To avoid making assumptions or worrying unnecessarily, it can be useful to be able to recognise the signs that your child may be taking drugs.
The following changes in behaviour or appearance could be a sign that something is wrong. However – even if you think you’ve noticed some or all of these signs, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. It may not mean that your child is taking drugs – it could just be part of the usual growing up phase as your teenager comes to terms with new hormones, new responsibilities and a new identity.
Obesity among children is on the increase, triggering a whole range of health problems. But we also know what a sensitive subject weight can be. Could even mentioning a straining waistband on your child’s school trousers trigger hurt feelings, a quest to reach size zero, or even a lifelong eating disorder? Little wonder, then, that many of us just keep quiet and hope the problem sorts itself out.
“Parents are reluctant to broach the subject for fear of making it an issue,” agrees child obesity expert Dr Paul Chadwick, a clinical and health psychologist and Clinical Director at MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!) – a new national initiative to combat child weight problems. “But it already is an issue.”
According to the most recent studies almost a third (31%) of all children between the ages of two and 10 are overweight or obese. As they grow, so does the issue – 35% of 11-15 year olds are classed as overweight or obese. Government experts predict that if the trend continues, by 2050 more than half of boys and 70 per cent of girls could be in the overweight or obese category.
How to help overweight children
Once upon a time, online daters were mocked as lonely losers, or worse. Not anymore. Today, at least 40 million Americans are looking for love on the Web. But that doesn’t mean we know what we’re doing. Like sex, love and attraction, online dating is an object of fascination and confusion. Some commentators credit it with helping singles feel more secure and confident, while others blame it for “ruining romance,” “killing commitment” and contributing to the rise of the hook-up culture. As the head of OkCupid, I worked diligently to untangle many of the misconceptions about finding love on the Internet. But some persist; here are the most common.
1. Men aren’t interested in women in their 30s (or, God forbid, their 40s).
The raw data is undeniable. While women generally prefer men around their own age, men are most attracted to 20-year-olds, period. That’s why the Daily Mail calls straight women over 45 the “plankton generation” — at the bottom of the romantic food chain. Time magazine editors found the notion of men dating women in their 30s so baffling that they invited 15 experts to explain the phenomenon.
But as I learned at