Young people who wear hoodie pants, hoodies, and sweatpants are often stereotyped as having an insatiable appetite for sex and drugs.
While many young people are not going to end up in jail for wearing these clothing items, they do tend to attract the attention of the authorities, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The center says it has received more than 2,000 tips about the use of hoodies and sweatshirts by law enforcement in the past year.
Here are five ways teens can stop themselves from becoming an easy target:1.
Be honest about your desires.
The first thing that parents should do is ask their children if they are using or wanting to use drugs, alcohol, or marijuana, says Nancy Hirschhorn, the center’s director.
“You can’t be a law abiding, honest person and say ‘I’m not using marijuana,'” she says.
“That will be a red flag.”2.
Make sure you know what you are wearing.
It’s a good idea to ask your children about their clothes, Hirschhhorn says.
Parents should also wear a size and color that match their child’s height and weight, as well as a matching shirt and tie.
“It doesn’t matter what your size is,” she says, “it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a dress or a tank top or whatever.”3.
Ask them to stop talking about what they are wearing and what they want to do.
If your child is not wearing a hoodie or sweatshirt, it’s time to ask if he or she wants to stop saying the word hoodie to strangers.
Hirsch Hirschton, a director of the National Missing and Extinct Persons Program, is a mother of two teenage boys.
She says that many young kids think they have a “frightened” reaction when they hear the word “hoodie” or “hoodies” and end up thinking they are not wanted or are a “bad person.”
But when their friends or classmates start talking about their clothing choices, it changes their perspective and makes them want to keep doing what they were doing.
“When they get to a friend’s house or someone’s house and they’re talking about being cool or being cool, they start to really feel a lot better about themselves,” she explains.
“They’re saying, ‘I don’t have to be afraid.
I can be who I want to be, just like my friends.'”4.
Get rid of the hoodie and sweatshirt altogether.
While wearing a sweatshirt or hoodie does not make it a crime, it can be a distraction from schoolwork and other important school activities, Hochstein says.
Instead, consider wearing a light sweater or light hoodie, she says — even if you don’t feel comfortable with your new look.
“I don.t care if it’s hot outside,” she recommends.
“If it’s cold outside, then it’s too hot.
And if it was raining, then you need to stop wearing that sweatshirt.”5.
Get help if you think your child has been hurt.
If you or a loved one thinks your child or teen is being victimized, contact the police immediately.
“Parents need to get involved, particularly if they suspect something is going on with their child or teenager,” Hirsch and her husband, Dr. Stephen Hirsch, said in a press release.
“Police officers can be trained to intervene if a child is in danger.”
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