By Howard Keith
Parents now realize if their teenager develops a compulsive gambling addiction their future course of action and time involvement is unknown. This isn’t something that is here today and gone tomorrow.
Compulsive teenagers with a gambling addiction have one or more of the following in common:
1. School grades drop
2. Social development decreases
3. Low self esteem
4. Self destructive behavior
5. Asking you why this happened to them?
6. Thinking suicide is the only way out.
8. Pawning personal possessions
9. Negative Attitude
10. Cutting School
11. Disappearing for long periods of time
12. Blaming the parent because they gamble too.
13. Working a part time job to pay off debts
14. Stopped after school activities
15. Watched poker tournaments on cable and television
16. I tried to stop but I couldn’t
Parents have been forced to educate themselves on the above when confronted with their teenager’s gambling addiction. From there they try to find answers instead they have more questions. They are not looking to point the finger but really to get help for their child. They also would like to help prevent another parent from having to deal with this addiction.
The following questions were raised by parents regarding the local school gambling event:
1. Has the school systems educated themselves to guarantee that gambling is equal to arts and crafts?
2. If one student develops a gambling addiction will the school system compensate the family for the negative affects on their teenager?
3. Will the school system cover all medical expenses if needed?
4. Should the post prom committee be legally responsible if just one student becomes addicted to gambling?
5. What does the law state?
6. What’s happening to our children’s future?
7. How I can tell my kid he can’t go when all his friends are going?
8. Is there something wrong with me, because I disagree with the school system?
9. How can I write a letter to the school board when my son may find out it was me objecting to the gambling event?
As a parent when you find out it’s your child who has the gambling addiction, what are you going to do? From a majority of the emails I receive, parents question and ask. “How did this happen to my teenager? I am a good parent.”
Just as you have to take the time to talk to your children about, protective sex, drugs and alcohol you now have to explain the effects of gambling.
Teenagers who grow up in a house where their parents are active gamblers are more likely to gamble too. A school event puts a stamp of approval on gambling.
Parents have asked for statistical proof that the upcoming post prom gambling party will have a negative effect on their teenagers. I gave the parent specific examples of real situations. This was not sufficient for the prom committee. They wanted to know what percentage? And how many students will be negatively affected by this event?
I haven’t been in high school for twenty years. I am amazed by the current events in our school systems.
The following was never heard of when I was in high school:
1. Teenage gambling addiction
2. Gambling at the post prom party
3. Teachers sleeping with students
4. Students shooting students on school grounds
5. Gambling on school grounds before and after class
6. Teenagers addicted to the Computer
7. Teenagers addicted to video games
8. Protective Sex
Before I wrote this article I had fewer questions. The more you look into this subject matter more questions come up. Should gambling in schools be eliminated if the local law states no one under eighteen can gamble?
Gambling is the wagering or betting of money on games of chance. Even though most people believe it’s a form of recreation, it can become a psychologically addictive and harmful behavior in some people.
It’s very hard to track a teenager who has a gambling addiction. Once they graduate high school they are on their own start their life
If a teenager develops a gambling problem, in a majority of these situations parents are not going to openly admit their child has a gambling addiction. Once again we have limited statistics.
It’s possible no one ever sat back and looked at this subject realistically because it’s new. Education is the key.
Mr. Howard Keith has an extensive background in dealing with compulsive gamblers, relatives and friends of gamblers and teenage gamblers. Mr. Keith believes there are many alternatives to aid in the recovery of a gambling addiction verses a twelve step program. A large percentage of his emails were from compulsive gamblers looking for an alternative to Gamblers Anonymous and twelve step programs. Gamblers Anonymous also helps a significant number of people each year but there is a large percentage that they are unable to reach.
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