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18 and gambling
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:57 pm
I recently found out while talking to my ex wife that our son who is 18 had gambled all his money from his account. It’s been a few years of fun understanding how gambling worked but over time he and a group of friends seem to be taking gambling to another level. On his 18th birthday he told me he went to the casino with a bunch of mates and after a few consecutive visits he had won $1000 and on this one night he was walking through the casino he thought he’d place a bet on the roulette . He put the $1000 chip on black . Red came out . I totally freaked when I found out he had done that just as his mother and I had helped him buy his first car , pay for his rego and insurance and he thought it would be ok to put a thousand dollar bet . Like it was nothing while we work out butts off to pay for his car, it has escalated since that day 4 months ago and now has become constant with hu Fred’s of dollars leaving his account. The constant stories of what if and the lies followed by ignorant denial of thinking he may have a problem but the signs are there and I need to get onto it now before it gets worse. My issue is I don’t think I have the patience to not loose my **** with him and that’s not going to help anyone and he surely won’t share information with me further. I’m really concerned and need some guidance how to approach him without it turning ugly and make him understand. He’s in Uni and talking about deferring and that’s the other sign of falling back on your school work and blaming everything and everyone else for his inability to keep ontop of things. He does have an addictive personality but too young to understand it to be able to control it. Any advice anyone could give me as to how I should approach the topic rather than take his car , his account , cancel his betting apps and totally loose my **** with him?
Re: 18 and gambling
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:17 pm
firstly I’d like to say that it sounds really hard what you are going through with your son and it’s great that you’re on here seeking support.
From what I’ve seen when working with family members or loved ones of people who are acting out in any kind of addiction is that a crucial first step is to realise and admit that you are powerless over how they behave. Also, that within this no matter what you do or do not do you cannot control their choices.
So the question then is, what can I do?
A good place to start is to figure out what boundaries you need within the relationship to feel as though you are not being taken advantage or enabling them, but also looking at what support you are able to offer at the same time.
An example of this could be remaining open to offer support when they are ready to receive it, or when they ask for it. Also, not offering financial support whilst they are acting out in the addictive behaviour.
I would also recommend reaching out to Family Drug & Gambling help for further support around this to help guide you in how to best support your son and keep yourself safe and in check - see here
. Our Counsellors are also available 24/7 and you may find our Helping Others section helpful - see here
I'm wondering if others have some words of advice?
Re: 18 and gambling
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:11 pm
Just wanted to check in with you since your post. How are you going?
Re: 18 and gambling
Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2021 9:53 pm
This is very sad. I have been a terrible gambler, but wasn't really bad until my late 30s and honestly to start gambling that young at that rate is very scary and he needs your help.
I have also been a partner of a gambler when I didn't gambling and him taking advantage by spending all his money on pokies and us then living off my money. I got angry at him and all he did was get better at hiding it and just shut off from me.
My son who is 21 has a gambling problem but because I have one to I think I have been able to help him a bit and now most of the time he is only gambling a little here and there.
He once used my credit card and spent $1800 in one day on online betting. It hurt but I know that when I gamble if I have access to money when I am chasing my loses I will spend it all, so I understand why he did it. I also didn't want him to pay me back because I just wanted him to put it in his past.
I did however talk to him about putting things in place. If he gambles then when money comes in he needs to spend it on any bills and buy anything he need for that period. If it is a long time between pay checks hold onto some money for him. If he goes to the casino he should take cash and no cards, and maybe even have no cards at all.
If your child is gambling then you should not give them money or buy them things, which means they then have spare cash if you know they are just going to blow it because you are feeding the addiction. At 41 I had to tell my parent never to lend me money again because knowing I could go to them made me feel like I could risk it all because they would bail me out. Better to just put the money you want to give him away from him until he is older and help him with a deposit on a house, or something he can't sell and gamble.
The other thing I do is talk to my son about options like banning himself from sites and how if he keeps gambling to odds are against him.
It is so painful to loose a whole pay check or clear out your savings that the loss and feeling that you are a complete idiot is a huge punishment so don't punish him more. Let him know he can talk to you and your are there to support him emotionally - not financially. I am not saying to hide your emotions because he needs to know it is hurting you and the family and that gambling can distroy relationships, but just don't loose it or loose him or sight of aspects about him other than gambling that you value. Maybe find some nice things you two can do together or as a family so he stays connected to activities that don't involve gambling.
Hope this a helpful and you and your son can get through this and come out stronger on the other end.
Re: 18 and gambling
Posted: Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:10 pm
Hi @royalblue143 ,
Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you put some clear barriers in place, for both you and your son. That shows fantastic strength and determination.
@Hohoho , hopefully these tips are useful. Setting boundaries and organising things to help your son focusing on things other than gambling are great first steps.
I look forward to hearing from you both.