My Teenager Has A Gambling Addiction
Over the past few months Stop Gambling Sites have received numerous emails related to teenage gambling addiction.
With all the new programs on cable and local television, this negative exposure is affecting our youth.
I recently found out that my first cousins son lives breathes and sleeps gambling. Grades at school are dropping and his future education is now in question. You ask yourself why? How did this happen? He was an excellent student, good friends and a promising future.
I decided to give him a call and find out what's happening in his life. He knew he was in trouble but had no where to turn. He never used drugs or alcohol. Again you ask yourself how did this happen? From something that was as innocent as watching a poker game on television to having a hundred dollar plus a week gambling problem. He had told me that the program seemed to fascinate him. It gave him a rush that he could win tons and tons of money. He wanted to buy his girl friend and parents nice things. It all seemed so innocent to him and next thing he noticed, he couldn't win, borrowed money and now owes thousands of dollars and his life is crumbling. I asked him how he could gamble with out his parents knowing. He simply told me they were to busy to notice. He said since I made honor roll, I didn't drink or do drugs, they had no concerns. Those were the only three things they ever cared about. They never even asked to see my report card, I always had A's. They let me do what ever I wanted. They treated me as if I was an adult.
His response was amazing to me. I realized more education is needed for both the parents of a teenage gambler and possible parents of future teenage gamblers. The goal here is to educate all parents.
People tried to educate parents when it came to video games but parents were not receptive. These video games game parents a break from there kids. Have you noticed that no one wants to take action when it comes to the violent video games or the new poker shows on television? It's apparent our society will have to pay the price once again. When I was a teenager there was no gambling programs on the television, Pac Man was the preferred video game and drugs was the number one topic at school.
As society changes we have to change with it. When we implement something new, we have to look at what are the consequences.
They no longer advertise cigarettes on Cable or Television, because they found out cigarettes are harmful. Everyone really knows that video games that are violent affect the mind. I tried an experiment the other day. I played video games with my nephew who is fourteen years old. Besides a couple of swollen fingers I did pretty well. The game revolved around shooting the enemy. I remember after we stopped and went outside, my mind was still in game mode. Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! I was amazed. I think all parents should play these games, you won't allow your children to play them any more.
Now Teenage gambling addiction is similar. Continuous exposure to unrealistic expectations leads to self destructive behavior. A teen watching their parents gamble and only hears about the wins the parents have leads to a false impression that his parents win all the time.
Now that you have a teenager that has an addiction to gambling, you ask yourself what do I do. Most people figure either take him to the doctors, talk to the school counselor or have a talk and let their teen tell them it will never happen again. It appears ninety percent go with "It will never happen again". The reason they are so willing to go with "It will never happen again" is simple, they do not want anyone to know their kid has a problem. I remember growing up and the girl next door who was seventeen had a drug problem. I knew because I saw how she changed and was even smoking cigarettes. The parents didn't want anyone to know so they waited till the school year ended and then put her into a rehabilitation place in another state for part of the summer. They told everyone she was going to Europe on an exchange program. She told me the truth and what had happened to her. She learned a lot in the treatment program and also admitted her parent's denial of the whole situation which made it more difficult for her.
Parent(s) need to face reality. Parent(s) need to get educated. Parent(s) need to be more involved with their kids. It doesn't matter whether there is one parent or two. Parents need to stop with the excuses, there is no one to blame. Instead focus on the problem at hand.
I received one email from a parent who told me, what great parents they were and how could this happen. These parents need to focus on the issue at hand and work towards a solution verses worrying about how could this happen. There are a lot of great parents that this also happens too. There are definite signs your teenagers exhibit that you need to look out for.
Your teenager is addicted. I believe educating yourself. If you're reading this article then you are on your way. Next there are wonderful self help books. There are stop gambling chat rooms. Talk to the school and your family doctor.
Teenage Gambling Addiction is very self destructive and leads to low self esteem. Just because your teenage appears happy doesn't mean they are happy. You were a teenager once. Put yourself in their position. Yelling and screaming does no good.
Take one day at a time and everything can work it self out in time. Knowledge is the key to your situation.