Dealing as a mother with children who gamble

As a mother you face different challenges. For example, your children may start betting. Often this is quite innocent and part of the exploration of their identity and the new possibilities that come with adulthood. Banning is not the solution, but it is important to communicate openly about it.

Understanding the fascination with betting

It is not uncommon for children to show an interest in gambling and sports betting at some point. Often it starts innocently, for example with a bet on the result of a football match. But this fascination can go further and develop into a regular habit or even an addiction. However, it certainly doesn’t have to come to that. It is important to understand, on the one hand, that curiosity and risk-taking are part of the development of youth and young adults. It is one of the reasons why they also experiment with alcohol, for example. On the other hand, it is important to guide young adults in this risky developmental phase.

Talk about betting with underage children

It is important not to discuss betting and gambling only once the children are adults. They also have to deal with this at a younger age. They see gambling commercials, they hear stories from adult friends and they see it appear in films and series. As a parent you should inform about this. Explain what betting is and explain why people do it. Honestly state both the positives and negatives of gambling and betting. It is important to clarify that gambling is not a reliable way to make money and that it involves risks.

Dealing with adult children who bet

If you have adult children who actually gamble, your role is different. While you still have influence, they are ultimately responsible for their own decisions. They are of age and they are allowed to gamble. Show understanding and try to have an open conversation without judgement. Try to understand why they bet and what they like about it. This can help you provide advice and support. Also, tell them about the dangers of illegal gambling websites. Emphasize that if they do want to gamble, they should do so on a legal website. Also, give them tips on how to play it safe.

The difference between occasional betting and a gambling addiction

Sporadic betting is generally harmless and can be a form of entertainment for some people. However, when betting turns into an addiction, it becomes a significant problem. Watch for signs of gambling addiction. Think of neglecting social contacts, missing work and school, no longer having control over one’s own gambling behavior and not being able to stick to one’s own intentions.

If you notice that your child is exhibiting problem gambling, seek professional help. Also emphasize that your child can always come to you and show understanding, without judging or constantly criticizing the behavior. Do not make the subject taboo and communicate openly about it. This will help your child make informed decisions and to come and talk if they sense they’re getting into trouble.

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