Impacts on children
When a parent has a problem with gambling, it can have a huge impact on children. It is important to help children affected by gambling. Although they may not say anything, they can feel isolated, angry, depressed and ashamed about what is happening at home and anxious and scared about losing their parent(s).
With more extreme gambling, children may lose out on new shoes or clothes when they need them, and activities such as school trips, summer camps, extra-curricular lessons and days out. They may have difficulties with homework/studies, have to take on caring responsibilities, witness family arguments/breakdowns and in some cases, domestic violence, and they may experience homelessness.
You can support your children in different ways:
- Encourage them to talk about their feelings when it is clear they are ready to do so.
- Reassure them they are not responsible for their parents’ actions.
- Try to keep them engaged in family activities.
- Help them understand that the family may have to use money carefully, but that they will be okay.
- Avoid negative talk about the parent who is gambling – separate the person from the behaviour and acknowledge that it is the gambling that is the problem, not the person.
You may also want to think about getting outside help from children and young people’s services in your local area.
If you are concerned for your own or your children’s safety in any way, you can get help.