Signs of problems – tips for parents

What can I look for?

In general: the more time and energy someone invests in a betting game, the greater the problem.

If they neglect important things like school/work, family or hobbies as a result, these are clear signs of problematic gambling habits.

Signs that can indicate a problem include:

  • having no time and neglecting people for no apparent reason.
  • regularly borrowing money within their family or circle of friends.
  • suffering from mood swings and becoming unreliable.
  • lying to people around them in order to keep their gambling secret.

How do I address the problem?

Tip: Speak openly and honestly about your worries. Speak from your own perspective: “I’ve noticed that / “I am worried because...” This can help to reduce tension.

Avoid accusations: “You are always so distant...” / “You have thrown all your money out the window...”.

Additional questions: "What will happen if you can’t stop?"/ "What can I do to support you?"

What can I do?

If there is no evidence of a problem:

Be alert if your teenager shows a strong interest in betting games. Or if they have big wins right at the start. People who win a lot quickly often develop a gambling problem.

If they have won a lot, help them to deal with it: by transferring the money to a savings account, for example. Agree that the money won’t be immediately used to gamble again. Some cultures/religions treat money won like this as tainted. Discuss what should happen to it with the young person.

If there is a problem:

If there is a gambling-related issue, take the problem seriously. Explain to the young person how to set up a budget and implement it with them.

Budget documents (in German/French/Italian): www.budgetberatung.ch

Budget tools (in English): https://www.caritas-schuldenberatung.ch/en/debt-guide/aids-and-useful-tools.html

What shouldn't I do? As a general rule:

  • Don’t lend money.
  • Don't lie for the player(s), such as reporting them sick at school or work.
  • Don't threaten consequences that you can’t or won’t enforce.