Gambling Addiction Is A Family Problem
Addiction, whether it be substance addiction or gambling addiction, is a widespread dilemma that truly destroys families. While alcohol and drug abuse may cause physical dependence, gambling addiction affects the individual psychologically, creating a craving to keep gambling – win or lose. This is worse when not only one parent is a problem gambler, but both mom and dad.
When parents gamble, they initially go to the casino for fun – and perhaps to win big for the family. The late nights would not be that regular at first because mom and dad would feel guilty for both leaving the kids just to play cards or slots. Later on, they’d forget about feeling guilty but rather remember the feeling of winning – and losing – big.
However, the odds of gambling are more on the losing side, and therefore this creates a craving to go back to the table and keep playing, hoping that the loss will be regained – only to keep losing. Soon, the gambling problem not only affects both parents but the whole family – their finances, time with the kids, responsibilities in the home, and the kids’ education. Psychological, emotional, and mental problems may completely damage the whole family.
Potential Consequences of Children with Gambling Parents
Because kids whose parents gamble have more time growing up with guardians or by themselves, they tend to go astray. It’s difficult to let them focus on homework when their parents aren’t around and there’s no one to discipline or teach them the value of education. Some kids become bullies or they become bullied, and the parents don’t even notice, not until they are being invited by the school to come over for a meeting.
When financial problems worsen, the family often moves from one neighborhood to another – or from one state to the other. Children lose the essence of having and developing friendships. They will learn how to lie to keep secrets from grandparents and other family members, and sometimes even lose touch with them because their parents don’t want to be seen by them, let alone be called for a talk.
According to several studies, children whose parents are gamblers undergo many behavioral changes. They do not have guidance while going through adolescence and most of them become alcohol drinkers, smokers, and even criminals. Emotionally, they grow up to be insecure, lonely, and feeling insufficient with themselves. Some children also have anxiety and depression at an early age.
Children’s Education is at Risk
When parents lose most of their savings to gambling, they are not able to consistently provide for food. Research tells that most kids with parents who gamble often go to school without food in their stomachs, and they are unable to concentrate on their studies. They are prone to gastrointestinal as well as digestive problems. Additionally, because they can’t meet their requirements in school, they are at risk of being pulled out, losing their education and their future.
Counseling for Children with Gambling Parents
Much attention should be placed on kids whose parents are gambling addicts. If help is not sought as soon as possible, these kids, as proven by research, will soon be gamblers themselves. Parents who are gambling addicts should realize how much damage their addiction will have caused their whole family, and although they are resistant at first, they should seek help through counseling.
Family counseling is one of the best resorts as it not only aids parents to recover but also educates the children and providing them a healthy environment where they are able to express how they feel. It can be their way of developing confidence and security because they are in a safe place with credible and accountable people.
If you know someone who is a son or daughter of a gambling parent, encourage them to seek therapy. It may be too late before they too become problem gamblers and will continue the vicious cycle that their parents started.