Help And Support For Mothers Posted On

Mother’s Day is a great time to give special attention to our mothers.  A majority of Americans have spent a substantial portion of their lives around their mothers, which is why an adult child can act as the best point-person to discuss problems that may be related to a mother’s gambling.

Although we all like to imagine our mothers are without flaws, they are people and all people have flaws.  All people can come across problems, and, with gambling, all people are susceptible to the possibility of struggling with a gambling problem.  When discussing problem gambling, women are considered a special population due to the unique characteristics of women as gamblers.

Women As A Special Population

Women are considered a special population when talking about problem gambling for two main reasons. 

  1. Women tend to gamble as an escape from the everyday stress and responsibilities of their life. Due to the evolution of women’s’ brains, which differ from men’s, women tend to hold a higher level of stress to be physical and emotional caretakers.  Women tend to feel the expectation of doing a majority of keeping up the home, cooking, and child-rearing even after putting a full day’s work into a job or professional career.  Whether this expectation is brought on by the biology of a women’s brain as a physical and emotional care taker, the pressure from their loved ones of what their home responsibilities should be, or from their culture’s dictation of what a good mother/woman is, the pressure women feel from the duality of parenthood and being a professional can be nearly unbearable.  Therefore, women tend to carry a larger load of stress related to responsibilities then men typically do, leading them to seek an escape such as gambling.
  2. Women tend to gamble to escape the stress from their everyday lives. Gambling is not a healthy coping mechanism because gambling to escape stress creates more stress which leads the person back to gambling, which can be a dangerous cycle.  For women, this cycle can quickly increase in money and time spent gambling moving them much more rapidly from social gambler to problem gambler.  This rapid progression into problem gambling can be very dangerous for the women who begin struggling with their gambling, and for their loved ones that may be negatively affected by her gambling.

The Effect Of A Mother’s Gambling

One key point of someone struggling with their gambling is the increased amount of time spent gambling.  If a mother is spending more time gambling, that time has to come from somewhere.  They may be missing work, neglecting their home or family members, and they may be neglecting to care for themselves.  If a mother neglects herself she may feel increased anxiety, if she’s neglecting her family she may feel shame, and if she’s missing work she may feel fear of losing her job or financial stress from already losing her job.  None of these outcomes lead to good feelings, and all lead to the possible need for help.

Another key point of anyone struggling with gambling is the increased amount of money they spend gambling.  With more money going towards gambling activities, less money may be spent on necessities like food, medications, or leisure activities such as family outings and time with friends spent in gambling free environments.  Less money spent on food and medications may lead to increased health problems, and less money spent on leisure activities may lead to hurting or broken relationships.  Again, none of these outcomes lead to good feelings, and all lead to the possible need for help.

Taking Action

Knowledge is power.  Understanding problem gambling, the warning signs, and the effects of a mother’s struggle with a gambling problem is power.  Becoming more knowledgeable of problem gambling and gaining an empathetic view of what a mother may be going through will help build empathy for her struggle, and strengthen the support system of her loved ones. 

Have a conversation.  Having open, positive and light hearted discussions is a great way to strengthen relationships.  If you feel comfortable, have a conversation with your mother about her gambling activities and habits.  Avoid any blaming by focusing the conversation on your feelings about how this relationship has changed due to the negative effects of gambling.  These discussions can help identify when someone may need some additional support with problems, such as their gambling. 

Find additional help and support.  There are many resources available to offer additional knowledge and help.  Some resources include:

  • org Resources is a website offers information in different media to help educate individuals and the community about problem gambling.
  • GAM-ANON– A 12-step self-help fellowship of people negatively affected by a loved one’s gambling.
  • NYCPG– A statewide agency offering additional resources for help with problem gambling.
  • NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) is a helpline connecting New Yorkers with local treatment options.

Mothers are such important people in our lives.  We hope your mother is well and that everyone can enjoy a very happy Mother’s Day together.