Tag Archive: Child

Is your 14-year-old daughter battling depression?

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University academics reveal that one in four young teenage are suffering

More than 230,000 youngsters under the age of 14 are battling depression, with more than two-thirds of sufferers believed to be girls according to researchers. It’s estimated that around 166,000 girls and 67,000 boys of that age across the UK are depressed.

It comes following a recent study by academics at University College London and the University of Liverpool.

Worryingly, they concluded that one in four girls have depression by the time they hit 14.

This has been put down to body image, bullying and social media – each of which can have a huge impact on young people’s mental health.

It is estimated that 24 percent of 14-year-old girls and nine percent of boys the same age have depression.

The study suggests that parents underestimate the signs of depression among teenage girls, although overestimate how common the condition is among boys that age too.

Counselling Directory member and psychotherapist Christine Fortune has revealed that significant changes in behaviour can be a cause for concern.

Teenagers will rely on parents, teachers or other adults around them to notice their suffering and help them find the support they are seeking. But that isn’t always easy. However, if you think your child is depressed, there are ways you can support them.

Don’t forget to be aware of the effect on your own feelings as an adult, if you feel you need it, seek support for yourself.

Adolescence is a time when your child is trying to become independent of you and as part of this separation process, she may say hurtful and painful things and her growing independence can lead to a sense of loss.

If your daughter is depressed you may feel that you are not doing enough, that it is your fault or that you need to do something to make her feel better. Always remember you will be doing enough by being there for her and letting her know she is loved.

If you are struggling with your child being depressed or you’re seeking support for your child, consider speaking to a professional. You can find a registered psychotherapist or counsellor in your local area by using Counselling Directory, or through your doctor.




How to support your daughter with depression

  • Be available to listen and encourage her to talk, especially about how she feels and her concerns. Avoid giving advice, telling her not to worry or making judgements – acknowledge how she feels, give her the space to express it and to offload.
  • If she is reluctant to talk to you, continue to make yourself available, give her time, be around enough for her to be able to talk to you if she needs to. It may be that she needs to talk to someone she is not so close to and may benefit from speaking to a counsellor or teacher.
  • You may feel anxious if you think your daughter is depressed, but try not to let this show. Some girls are reluctant to tell their parents how bad they are feeling if they feel it will distress them.
  • Encourage her to be social, to sit with you in the evenings and to see friends and family members, even if only for short periods.
  • Make sure she has a good balance between school work and relaxation, and that she has time for herself, particularly in the evenings and weekends.
  • Reassure her if she has strong feelings and mood swings. Young people can become fearful of being bipolar or of “going mad” and can be frightened by the strength of what they feel. Because she feels really low now does not mean she always will – strong, negative feelings will pass.
  • Encourage her to exercise as much as possible.
  • Encourage her to eat well, to have breakfast and to avoid junk food.
  • Do not expect her to “snap out of it”. Depression has its own time frame but it invariably does pass.



Five signs your daughter may be depressed

1. Changes in sleep patterns

Most teenagers show changes in their sleep patterns and often sleep for long periods but if your daughter is sleeping excessively, or is showing unusual sleep patterns or finding it very difficult to sleep, this may indicate depression.

2. Lack of motivation, loss of interest

Depression can manifest itself in a general apathy and lack of interest, possible reluctance to take part in activities the teenager previously enjoyed and which they could realistically be expected to still take pleasure in. Working obsessively, losing interest in school work, poor concentration and memory are also possible indicators of depression. Schools are judged by academic results and can put tremendous pressure on students to excel, often at the expense of a reasonable work-life balance. It is also easy for parents to become caught up in this. Students, however, need to achieve “good enough” results that will enable them to achieve their career goals. This can be a factor leading to depression.

3. Social Isolation

Today’s young people rely a great deal on social media as a means to communicate with their peers so may spend long periods physically alone in their rooms but in contact with their friends via their mobiles or tablets. However, if they hide away and avoid social contact for long periods this may indicate depression.

4. Lack of personal care or obsessive concerns about appearance

There is tremendous pressure on young people to look and behave in certain ways. If this becomes too obsessive or if your daughter shows no interest in personal hygiene and self-care this may be an indication of depression.

5. Changes in eating habits

For some, depression can lead to loss of appetite and interest in food, for others it can lead to comfort eating.

6. Mood Changes

For some adolescents, depression is manifested through low mood and a sense of sadness but anger can also be a symptom of depression.



Article courtesy of Counselling Directory


Baby foods found to be a key cause in child speech defects, teeth distortion and sugar mislabelling

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New research by children’s food brand Kiddylicious Little Bistro has revealed three significant areas of concern in the current baby food market that has raised alarm among parents, dentists, nutritionists and speech therapists alike: speech defects, teeth distortion and enamel erosion, and misleading labelling of sugar content in meals.

The research also found that over 11% of UK parents - almost two million parents, have children under five-years-old who suffered from dental issues such as distorted teeth and tooth decay.

71% of parents in the UK were unaware that the use of spouts, typically found in baby food pouches, can have a detrimental effect on their baby’s speech development and teeth formation.

Unsurprisingly, 66% of parents admitted that they would have reconsidered their purchase had they been aware of the teeth defects that baby foods with spouts can cause.

58% of parents were also unaware of the critical importance of the presence of soft chunks, of approximately 8mm for children from around seven months, to encourage chewing, as well as jaw muscle and speech development.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Dentist, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation and Chair of Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe comments: “Spouts, which are featured on the packaging of some convenience foods, may cause problems with the correct development of teeth with poor positioning and crowding.

“Prolonged sucking on spouts could lead to the upper jaw failing to grow properly which may cause crowding of the teeth, which could result in a need for braces or orthodontic treatments later on.

“Just like with valved and hard spout drinking bottles, spouted baby foods should be discouraged and we suggest parents encourage their children to start free flow drinking from an early age and to focus on earlier food eating, rather than relying on smooth purees and spouted food products.”

The research found that a significant reason for parents’ lack of understanding in this area is due to the misleading names of baby foods.

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and Health Writer, comments:

“It’s essential that we’re feeding our children nutritionally balanced meals filled with good quality protein for muscle development, iron to support brain and cognitive development, and lots of vegetables to develop young taste buds and avoid fussy eaters in the future.

“It goes without saying, but always read the label to check serving sizes and be sure to pay special attention to the sugar or fruit content, which isn’t always clearly labelled. Try to pick foods that are a good source of protein and iron, and try to avoid those that have more trans-fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugars.”

The parents questioned in the research demanded more information and support about the food currently on sale for their children, with 75% calling for more information and education as well as baby food manufacturers to be more responsible and honest.

An overhaul of the baby food market was demanded after parents stated that nutrition, along with minimal salt and sugar levels were the two most important factors when choosing baby food.

Gold Standard: Which? celebrates 50 years of child car seat testing

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In 2016, more than a million parents and carers turned to Which? for independent, trusted advice to help them choose car seats for their children. This year, Which? looks back on its half a century of child car seat safety testing.

In February 1967, Which? experts conducted their first ever child car seat safety test. This was the same year that saw BBC Radio One being aired for the first time, the release of Sgt Pepper by The Beatles, and the opening of the very first cashpoint in North London.

The first Which? test featured just eight models, including the Cumfifolda Car Seat, the Pedigree Infant Seat and the Eversafe Baby Chair, none of which looked anything like the child car seats we see and use today. There was no Isofix, side-impact protection or i-size - instead the seats propped children up so that they could see out of the window.

Many came with tables, giving children somewhere to play while on a journey and harnesses were basic. Some seats were multipurpose and could also be used as potty-chairs, high chairs or swings.

For Which? however, child safety was the priority then as it is now. Manufacturers were criticised on things ranging from their safety instructions, to the potentially harmful lead content in the paint of one of the seats.

The Which? testing methodology has constantly evolved to help influence and drive key improvement in the legal safety standards of child car seats. Dating back to the ‘80s, Which? has been leading the way to ensure families travel safely and comfortably, campaigning on hot issues such as who should legally be required to wear seatbelts (1983 and 1989), and calling for shops to offer better advice on how to fit child car seats (2011).

Today, the Consumers’ Association car seat experts check each model to inspect everything - from the impact caused by crash testing in head-on collisions and side-impact scenarios, to whether the seat will hold your baby in the correct position, and checking if parents can fit the seat into their vehicle correctly, right down to whether the instruction and warning labels on the seats are easy to understand.

Significantly, Which? is the only UK reviews publication to insist on crash testing each child car seat they report on.

Nikki Stopford, Director of Research at Which? said: “There are so many different makes and model of child car seat on the high-street today, meaning that parents have a tough decision to make. Parents need independent reviews and advice to be able to make this important choice with confidence.

“Our 50th anniversary of testing car seats marks a fantastic milestone for us. We’re proud to have been in the driving seat on this important category of testing since the ‘60s and have campaigned to help families travel safely on the road since the ‘80s.  It’s safe to say that our experts know these products like the backs of their hands.”


Which? currently names 14 ‘Don’t Buy’ car seats.

It also names 42 ‘Best Buy’ car seats, including:

Recaro, Privia Isofix (£235.00)

Kiddy, Evo-Luna i-Size (£360.00)

Kiddy, Phoenixfix Pro 2 (£160.00)


£40M package to tackle child sexual abuse and trafficking

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  •         Home Secretary delivers a package of measures to protect children and pursue offenders
  •         A ground-breaking £7.5m ‘Centre of Expertise’ will become the authoritative source of research and innovation on tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation
  •         £20m committed to the National Crime Agency (NCA) to target online child sexual exploitation (CSE)
  •         £2.2m from the Child Trafficking Protection Fund will help protect vulnerable children who are at risk of trafficking
  •         Independent Child Trafficking Advocates will provide specialist support to trafficked children in three early adopter sites across the country

The Home Secretary has announced the delivery of a £40 million package of Government measures to protect children and young people from sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking, and to crack down on offenders.

The announcement came on Thursday 16th February, and includes the launch of a new Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse.

An extra £20m for the National Crime Agency to tackle online child sexual exploitation is part of the allocation of funds, £2.2m for organisations working to protect children at risk of trafficking and the launch of Independent Child Trafficking Advocates (ICTAs) in three early-adopter sites across the UK.

Amber Rudd announced the measures after visiting ‘Safer Futures’ in Salford, Greater Manchester, a counselling centre for victims of child sexual exploitation and abuse. The counselling centre is run by Barnardo’s, which heads the Centre of Expertise and delivers the ICTA service.

Writing for Mumsnet, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “Children should be able to grow up free from the horrors of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking. Something that should go without saying, but sadly that's not the case.

"Since 2010, the Government has done more than any other to tackle these horrific offences. We have increased support for victims of sexual abuse, invested in training and technology to improve law enforcement's response to abuse both on and offline, and brought in a tougher inspection regime to ensure all front-line professions are meeting their child protection duties.

“But there is more to do, the measures I am announcing today will further improve our ability to protect children, and under my watch I am determined to bring those that would try to steal their childhood to justice.”

The Centre of Expertise, a consortium of health, law enforcement and social care professionals, charities and academics, will receive £7.5m until 2020. It will become the definitive source of information and guidance to those tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation on the front line.

The Home Office’s Child Trafficking Protection Fund will award nearly £2.2m to seven charities for projects protecting vulnerable children in the UK and overseas who are at risk of trafficking.


Independent Child Trafficking Advocates will provide specialist support and act in the best interests of trafficked children. The service will initially be provided by Barnardo’s in Wales, Hampshire and Greater Manchester ahead of full national rollout.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said: “Through the Centre of Expertise we will develop a deeper understanding of this abuse so that more children can be protected and helped to recover. We will use our collective experience and expertise to develop a greater understanding of what works in the fight against child sexual abuse and to improve responses.”

Will Kerr, Director of the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) command, said: “Using the previous Government funding we have been able to nearly double the number of dedicated officers working to tackle CSE to more than 300, opened a new hub in the north west to specifically undertake CSE operations and more than tripled the overall organisational effort against CSE.

"The additional funding will strengthen and enhance our victim identification and child protection adviser capabilities, to target the most serious child sexual exploitation offenders.”

The announcement comes as the Government publishes its Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation: Progress Report, detailing the steps taken so far and what more needs to be done to combat this terrible crime. It follows the 2015 Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation Report, which set out an ambitious programme of work to address on a national scale the failures to protect children and young people seen in Rotherham and elsewhere.

Other measures announced include

  •         £2.2m for the second phase of the successful Disrespect NoBody campaign, which is designed to increase awareness of healthy relationships among young people.
  •         A revised definition of Child Sexual Exploitation, to ensure frontline professionals have a shared understanding of what CSE is and how best to tackle it.
  •         An additional £7m for organisations helping victims of sexual abuse, including children, doubling (for the third year) the core funding from central Government for sexual abuse services.
  •         The second phase of its ‘Together, We Can Tackle Child Abuse’ campaign, which is designed to educate people about what to do if they have any concerns about a child.


‘Change of heart’ allows resettlement of vulnerable children

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UK set to welcome child refugees

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children will be resettled in the UK from Greece, Italy and France, in an initiative announced this week following discussions between the government and Save the Children.

The commitment builds on last month’s announcement that up to 3,000 vulnerable children and family members will be resettled direct from the Middle East and North Africa.

And it adds to the resettlement of 20,000 people direct from Syrian refugee communities, which has been under way since last year.

The government has always adopted a twin-track approach to dealing with the migrant crisis: helping the most vulnerable while not encouraging new perilous crossings to Europe.

CRISIS: Millions of refugees remain in temporary shelters after escaping their war-torn home countries

CRISIS: Millions of refugees remain in temporary shelters after escaping their war-torn home countries

Calls to accept thousands of children, who had made it to Europe, were initially rejected last month as MPs worried it encouraged others to make potentially ‘lethal’ journeys to the continent.

Now, by restricting resettlement to children registered before the EU migration agreement with Turkey came into force on 20th March, the twin-track approach will be able to continue.

The retrospective nature of the scheme will avoid creating a perverse incentive for families to entrust their children to people traffickers.

Additionally, it will mean that the UK can focus on the most vulnerable children already in Europe without encouraging more to make the journey.

The government will work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to deliver this scheme, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Save the Children. It will be separate to any EU-administered resettlement schemes.

Those at risk of trafficking or exploitation will be prioritised for resettlement. And existing family reunion routes will be accelerated.

WELCOMED: Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement in Parliament this week

WELCOMED: Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement in Parliament this week

Announcing the move in Parliament on Wednesday 4th May, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “No country has done more than Britain when it comes to help for Syrian refugees.

“We are going to do more for children who were already registered in Europe before the EU-Turkey deal. But we must stick to the principle that we shouldn’t be encouraging people to make that perilous journey.

“That’s been the cornerstone of our policy and that should remain the case.”

The government is not putting a fixed number on arrivals, but will instead work with local authorities across the UK to determine how many children will be resettled.

The initiative responds to the revised amendment to the Immigration Bill put forward by Lord Dubs, which proposes that the government consults with local authorities before setting out a plan for resettling children from Europe to the UK.

The government will accept the revised amendment from Lord Dubs when the Immigration Bill returns to the House of Commons next week.

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive, Save the Children praised the announcement.

She said: “The UK government has today matched the great leadership they have shown in providing aid and support to Syrian refugees in the region by reaching out a hand to children already on European shores.

“This announcement echoes Britain’s proud history of offering safety at times of great crisis and we want to thank the members of parliament who have led the way in championing this cause, as well as the British public who have opened their hearts to refugee children.”

Supplementary School recognised at Child Friendly Leeds award

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INSPIRATIONAL: Team work makes the dream work

INSPIRATIONAL: Team work makes the dream work

Stars gather to celebrate Hamara’s success

Leeds City Varieties was packed to the rafters last week as the Child Friendly Leeds (CFL) Awards made a triumphant return to the city.

Organised by young people, the awards celebrate some of the people, places and organisations helping to make Leeds a child-friendly city.

Amongst this year’s winners was the Hamara Centre.

Based in south Leeds, the group has been celebrating the fantastic success of their Supplementary School project after the school was bestowed with the CLF Supporting Schools Award.

Hamara’s youth team project was established in 1997, setting up as a response to the demands and concerns from parents, academics and community leaders within the South Leeds community.

Designed to address the problem of children underachieving in the British state schools by identifying barriers that prevent young people from engaging in and enjoying learning, the project’s primary aim is to raise the standard of education in the community.

They do this by creating a progressive, caring and high quality-learning environment for all their students.

Hamara Supplementary School takes place on a Saturday and supports children and young people to achieve good grades in maths, English and science, as well as running a homework club. They work very closely with and make a difference in the local community.

SUCCESS: The Child Friendly Leeds awards were organised by young people across the city

SUCCESS: The Child Friendly Leeds awards were organised by young people across the city

One of the many supporting statements for Hamara said: “[Hamara is] not only a school but a fabulous organisation for children.

“They have several youth clubs such as football with Leeds United, Karate, Roller Skating sessions, evening football, cricket tournaments and much more.

“Their holiday play scheme attracts children of all ages and backgrounds organising trips, fun days out and brings arts and culture to the community.

“I think it really is a great place for children and young people and with the community café, its doors are always open to young people and new ideas.

“Many children living in the local area are from BME and therefore some have complex issues and Hamara works with them to provide a safe environment with a range of staff supporting their every need. Children also have access to jobs and support with education, work and training.”

The prestigious awards ceremony was organised by a group of eight young people who made up ‘The CFL Crew’.

The ‘crew’ – some as young as twelve, decided on a colourful carnival theme for the ceremony which was watched by an audience of nearly 400 people including city leaders and VIP guests.

Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for children and families said: “I would like to congratulate all the winners, those shortlisted and all the nominees - they are shining examples of what it really means to be child friendly.”

‘Jihadi Junior’ is the youngest brainwashed victim of Daesh

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BRAINWASHED: ISIS have reached new lows as they use children as soldiers

BRAINWASHED: ISIS have reached new lows as they use children as soldiers

Child soldier appears in disturbing propaganda videos

He should be on his way to school, but four-year-old Isa Dare is being educated in warfare and not classroom topics.

The child soldier appeared in a military outfit and a Daesh (also known as Islamic State) bandanna, while being told to say: “We are going to kill the kaffir (non-believers) over there.”

Isa Dare was brainwashed by Daesh fanatics after being taken to Syria three years ago by his mother, the Muslim convert Grace 'Khadija' Dare, 24, who has links to the killers of Lee Rigby. 

Dare was a jihadi bride for Daesh fighter Abu Bakr, who murdered innocents for $150 a month. He died fighting in 2014. His father Abdul Wahab Abbas, Isa's step-grandfather, this week revealed how his son died a 'hero' as an Daesh fighter.

The video, featuring Isa, which is yet to be independently verified, apparently showed the murder of five men and was fronted by a masked man with a British sounding accent, saying that he had a ‘message for Cameron’, threatening of attacks in the UK.

A man in London - the father of Grace Dare - has said the boy is his grandson. “He’s my grandson,” Sunday Dare told Britain’s Channel 4. “I can’t disown him. He’s my grandson. I know him very well.”

Sunday Dare accused the extremist group of ‘just using a small boy’. He added: “He doesn’t know anything. He’s a small boy. They are just using him as a shield.”

When asked whether he had spoken to his grandson on the phone, Dare said: “Well, he doesn’t like it over there,” referring to where he is believed to be, in a Daesh-held area of Syria.

Grace Dare, who grew up in Lewisham to Nigerian Christian parents, converted to Islam as a teenager before flying to Syria.

In 2014, she posted a photograph on her Twitter account of her then four-year-old son Isa, meaning ‘Jesus’ in Arabic, smiling with an AK-47 rifle.

On her social media page, she talks about her new life in Syria, which involves firing Kalashnikovs or appearing with her young son and jihadi husband.