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My son is taking drugs and I am most disturbed

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 02 July 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My 25 year old son's behaviour has been concerning me lately, as he does not seem to want to settle down, and goes from one girlfriend to another. However I have just found evidence in his room that he is taking drugs and I am most disturbed. I have recently noticed that his personality can be totally different from one day to the next, but I would never have thought he was the weak type to need drugs to help him through the day.

We brought him up well, sent him to University where he received a passable degree, and we provide him with money each month to pay his expenses. What went wrong? Should I confront him?

Patricia Marie says...

There are a variety of reasons why people take drugs, including helping to relieve stress, to fit in with the crowd, for escapism and because they see it as a fun thing to do. Not everyone who takes drugs becomes an addict. But sadly many do end up with an addiction, so it's important that action is taken early on to prevent this from happening.

Communication is essential, and, as difficult as it is, you have to confront your son. Quietly tell him you suspect he's taking drugs, then let him speak. Avoid asking him the questions he is expecting you to throw at him, such as: "How could this have happened to you?" or "How could you do this to me? I have given you everything!" Questions such as these are irrelevant at the moment. Instead find out what is happening in your son's life. Is he struggling with any inner turmoil? Are there relationship issues? Does he have any problems at his place of work? Convince him you really want to help, but can't unless he allows you. You will need to insist that he is honest with you, and that however difficult things seem, you will always be there for him.

This will show him the one thing a parent should always display - unconditional love.

If your son admits to using drugs, he needs to address this. Counselling, hypnotherapy, and addiction support can all help him, but only if he is willing to accept he has a problem. If he denies taking drugs, and continues to take them, you may have to get tough. Remind him drug use is serious. As well as being illegal, it ruins the lives not only of the users but also of their families too. Tell him there is only so much you can do, that his behaviour is causing you great distress and that it cannot be allowed to continue. You must understand you are not to blame for your son's habit. He is 25, very much an adult, and needs to take responsibility for his own life.

As well as the support of their families, drug users often require professionals to guide, advise and help them. Open 24 hours, 'Ask Frank' is a confidential friendly, non-judgemental helpline for anyone in the UK concerned about drug abuse. I would urge your son to pick up the phone and regain control of his life right now.

Ask Frank: 0300 123 6600

Infiltration of emojis

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 01 July 2015
I'm a little bit concerned about this overwhelming infiltration of emoji. These weepy/winking faces, clapping hands and dancing women have taken over our heads, words and minds. Even those with ridiculously high IQ seem to be substituting curious pictures for wordy description and true emotion and, to be honest, I'm wondering if this can end well for our world at large.

Emoji first entered our vocabulary in the mid 90s. A Japanese tech developer dreamt up the colourful team way back in that pre-iphone-era. Of course there really wasn't much demand for the technicolour smiley face cult before we had the tools to litter them. Now billions of emoji are flung through the ether each year and I'd say that we're now pretty symbol obsessed.

On any given night out, Mini (back home) can send me anywhere in the region of 50 little characters (via email) to express her love and longing. I return around 30 of the damn things hoping that this will coax into putting down her screen and placing her head on the pillow.

Instagram is infested with the latest craze of these pictograms. Thumbs up for something impressive, fire for this heat wave, ice-cream at the ready and any assortment of multicoloured hearts to tie in with real words, an image or both.

So, should I be concerned? Is it not enough that we now dream in photographic squares, communicate in status updates and tweet more than we speak? Instead of finding the words, we seem to reach for the icon. I'm all that smiley faced with tongue hanging out about the emotionless-emoji thing.


Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 29 June 2015
And the winner is .... (drum roll)... The Netherlands.

According to UNICEF, the 3.5 million Dutch children under the age of 18, won the the lottery of life to be born in a country where they are ranked the "happiest children in the world".

This happiness measure considers five criteria, including:-
• material wellbeing
• healthy and safety
• educational wellbeing
• behaviour and risks, and
• housing and environment.

I would suggest the sixth and most important yardstick is that their parents (so says the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, aka, SDSN) are the happiest humans on earth.

If you believe the statistics, and that adults are happier because they have someone to count on, have a perceived freedom to make life choices, and are more generous than the rest of humanity (along with a few other vital points), of course their children should be blissfully frollicking amongst the tulips.

So is it too far a stretch to accept that happy parents produce happy offspring?

Are Dutch mummies happiest because they enjoy the ideal work life balance of all OECD countries? Maybe it's the Dutch happy daddies who play a more equal role in child-rearing by having part-time jobs and being more hands on? Or could it be the regular weekly Oma (grandmother) day where grandparents help out and are more involved in comprehensive childcare and development?

The Dutch education system appears to be less competitive and there is no homework whatsoever for children under the age of 12, who are encouraged to enjoy stress free leanring in a relaxed environment.

I can hear the Tiger Mummies and Daddies protest about the necessary incentive and focus lacking in this concept, and yet Forbes rate The Netherlands as the 11th best country in the world for business and it ranks 12th in total number of milionaires.

Impressive for a small country I say.

I could ramble on quoting studies and numbers and experts who explain the many factors that contribute to happiness. However, from what I know and see, children feel most loved and secure enjoying family time with parents who play games, read, or take a walk with them.

Sharing your time shows your children you care.
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I'm hoarding animals

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 26 June 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

I am having some problems with my neighbours lately. The cause is the number of dogs and cats that I now have in my home.

It started with me taking on a friend's animals when she was the victim of domestic abuse and could no longer look after them, but soon after that, I heard of some newly born kittens which the owner was going to drown, as they were an unwanted litter, so I said I would take them on. Then an elderly neighbour died and I couldn't allow his children to have his little Yorkshire Terrier put down, so I volunteered to have her. And it has continued so that at the moment I have 23 cats and 8 dogs in my 2 bedroomed house.

Unfortunately the cats go into the neighbouring gardens and mess, which I cannot really do anything about, and the dogs do not all get on with each other, so there can be quite a lot of barking at times. However I could not possibly give any of them up as they have already all had traumatic lives. What can I do? I am worried that the RSPCA will be called and will take them away from me.

Patricia Marie says...

Animal hoarding is a very serious issue and needs to be addressed. It is clear you only ever wanted to love and care for these animals, yet somehow you have lost your way and things have escalated out of control. You have too many animals for one small house, particularly as you are not able to provide adequate space for them to run and exercise, or train and clean up after them all.

I believe the sad stories behind each pet you have accepted has influenced you in making the wrong decisions. You say you don't wish them any further trauma, yet you need to see that actually the animals are clearly stressed as demonstrated by the constant barking. It seems inevitable that you will receive a visit from the authorities and could risk losing all your pets. To avoid the distress this will cause, I urge you to act now and contact either the dog warden for your area, through your local council, or the RSPCA, as both will be able to offer immediate help and advice. Their main priority will be to ensure the needs of the animals are being met, which in your case are not, and will more than likely suggest the majority need to be re-homed. To make this less painful, perhaps you could work together to find suitable new homes for them. I'm sure you can see that this would be beneficial for the animals. For further reassurance you could even ask their new owners to send you regular updates.

You do need to look after yourself too. I believe you are suffering from seriously low self -esteem. It seems you have been struggling, unable to say 'no' and feel a strong sense of responsibility for others. Attempting to say 'yes' to everyone can often result in bad decisions being made, hence the appalling situation you now find yourself in. I would recommend a visit to your GP who could refer you for some counselling to address your emotional state of mind, and thereby assist you in making better decisions in the future.

I'm sure when things become more settled, you will look back on this situation, and be proud of yourself for doing the right thing.

RSPCA, 0300 123 4999

BNP Tennis Classic at Hurlington

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Thursday, 25 June 2015
Ah the sounds of summer and the BNP Paribas Hurlingham Tennis Classics; - the chink of champagne glasses, the gentle thump pf the tennis ball being lobbed across a net, me shouting “GORAN I LOVE YOU” as Mr Ivanisevic comes on court. I love this place and not just because my sporting crush gave me a wink, the big 6’4’ Croatian tease.

Hurlingham is the fabulous location for this secret pre-Wimbledon warm up, an oasis of duck ponds and 42 acres of gardens, manicured croquet lawns and a Georgian country house setting this is where the elite of South London come to get away from it all. Stepping into this private member’s club is like stepping into the private world of the tennis players and coaches where only the great and the good are allowed. Greats such as Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Maria Sharapova have previously played, legends this year including Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski will casually walk past you in the bar before playing a game by the rose garden. The up and coming ATP Players will sweat it out for those key extra games before Wimbledon starts; this is where the names of the future are made, and those of who carved out a slice of tennis history all come together.

The whole event is dreamy, we snuggled into our seats with some Pimms and watched a great opener of hot newcomer the 18 year old Grigor Dimitrov comfortably win his match, I say newcomer but he’s is the youngest player inside the World’s top 20, and in 2014 reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon painfully knocking out then defending Champion Andy Murray in straight sets. He’s a future legend in the making.

For the official legends double match the PR team very kindly giving me a seat directly behind the lusciousness of Goran – I was a whisker away from leaping over the fence and giving a big hug before security gave me a knowing look. The sun shone, we watched brilliant tennis and it was just all wonderfully relaxing. if you want to see great tennis up close and personal then come to Hurlingham, it’s exactly how a quintessentially British sports event should be run.
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