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Raising Kids in Andalucia

How often do we hear of yet another family that has moved to southern Spain because it's such a great place to raise children? Families from northern Europe and North America are especially charmed by the warmth of this family-centred Mediterranean society. It's hard not to notice how children are accepted wherever we go - at restaurants and other public venues - at all hours of the night and day. Many of us feel like we've taken a trip back in time to a friendlier era where things were "different"... better perhaps? The truth is that while modern Spain is a nice place to bring up kids and society is still somewhat "old fashioned" in its values, young people are definitely speeding ahead to keep up with the times and they are not so different from their counterparts across Europe. The results of a recent University of Huelva survey of 2,560 young people aged 12 to 16 shows that their number one favourite past time is spending time with friends, followed by listening to music at home and then either watching television, spending time on the Internet, playing video games or participating in sports (the order of importance varies depending on the age). For all ages, reading is at the bottom of the list with the percentage of those reporting they spend their free time on books dropping as age increases. The study "Los Adolescentes Andaluces y La Droga" (Andalucian Adolescents and Drugs) looks at various aspects of young people's lives in order to see how these might correlate with rates of drug use. We learn, therefore, that the number one drug of choice is Alcohol with nearly 70% of this age group reporting they've tried it and just over 24 percent indicating they are regular consumers. Tobacco is next with nearly 48% having tried it and 15 percent recognising they are smokers. Cannabis comes in third place with around 19 percent having tried it and over 5 percent regular users. Drugs like amphetamines, tranquilisers, cocaine and heroine are much less represented, hovering between one and three percent having tried them and less than one percent reporting regular use in any category. These figures are worth taking note of if you are raising kids in Andalucia. Yes, this is a wonderful place for them to grow up and in many ways the area seems to offer such a wholesome environment. Parents still need to be on guard, however, as unsupervised youth will of course find they have at their disposal everything they need to get in trouble. On a positive note, studies like this show the deep concern such statistics generate on the part of researchers, organisations like Proyecto Hombre - an organisation working to prevent drug dependency and also involved in carrying out the study in question, as well as teachers, and government policy makers.
Blog published on 11 February 2008