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.