There’s a lot to worry about when you have kids, and although some of your fears will lessen as your children grow older, others take their place. That’s what happens when kids are old enough to know about drugs and alcohol, and a new study has shown that you may have even more reason to be concerned about their potential to drink and drive.
Researchers from the RAND Corporation recently published an article in the journal Pediatrics after surveying more than 1,000 middle-schoolers. The students, in the sixth grade and 12 years old, were asked about their views on drugs and their use of alcohol or marijuana.
The students were again surveyed when they were 14 and one last time when they were 16 and in high school. The 16-year-olds were asked how often they were drinking, using drugs, or driving under the influence by themselves or with others.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that its not middle school drug use you need to be concerned about. Instead, parents need to worry about how their children view drugs at that age. 63% of sixth graders who had positive views about drugs, thinking they were fun or relaxing, were more likely to state that they had either been a drunk driver or got in a car with someone who was driving under the influence (DUI).
Compared to the students who had less positive views about drugs, the findings are a reality check for anyone raising a child. The researchers suggest now that marijuana is legalized in some states and positivity about the drug is increasing, parents need to be vigilant as early as middle school and talk to their kids about the dangers of drinking, drugs, and driving under the influence.
If you need help starting the conversation with your child, take a look at this post on how to talk to your teen about drinking and driving.