No matter how old you are, telling your parent or parents about your gambling addiction can be intimidating.
As we grow up, telling parents anything good or bad can cause us to worry. You might be concerned they won’t be as happy for your good news as you are, critical of your big decisions, or mad about something you’ve done that has caused problems. The fear of their parents’ reactions causes many children and adults to make different decisions or keep information from their parents.
Unfortunately, many children, young adults and grown individuals are afraid to talk to their parents about their addiction. If you have a gambling problem, read the tips to decide how you might speak to your parents and begin your road to gambling addiction recovery.
Preparing to Talk about Your Addiction
When you decide you need to talk to your parents about your gambling addiction, consider the following:
- Are you ready to discuss how your gambling started?
- Can you talk about when your gambling became a problem and how you feel when you gamble?
- Are you able to answer questions about debt and other consequences?
- Has your gambling made you lie to your parents, steal or otherwise harm them, whether they know it yet or not?
- Are you prepared to answer any questions they have?
- Do you have a plan for your addiction recovery? Or, would you like their help in exploring recovery options?
- Do you know how to educate others about problem gambling?
Once you’ve thought about these questions, you may be better prepared to talk to one or more parents. At this time, the most important thing you can decide is if you are ready to be open and honest with who you talk to about your addiction, and if you are ready to find a solution and stop gambling.
If you decide it is not the right time to talk to your parents, that is okay. What is important is that you find someone to talk to who can help you, whether that person is a family member, friend or professional counselor.
Telling Your Parent About Addiction
Everyone’s relationship with his or her parent or parents is different. You will know best when and where to have a conversation with your parents. Maybe you’ll decide to tell one parent first, or an aunt, uncle or close friend who may be able to provide you advice and support as you talk to your parents.
When you talk to your parents about your addiction, know that you cannot be sure how they will react. They may be sad, worried, scared or mad. They may also be happy you have come forward and reached out to them. They may have sensed there was a problem and feel relieved that you are now looking for help.
Understanding Their Reaction & Moving Forward
We hope that most problem gamblers find support from their family members and friends when they need to talk about their gambling and find a path to recovery.
Unfortunately, we know that is not always the case, and that is okay. Having an open and honest conversation with your family members is not easy, and the weeks and months may be difficult as well. Being honest about your addiction and your plans to recover is the first step of regaining trust and rebuilding relationships.
Families can and do recover together, and support for everyone is available. Have hope, find the help you need and start your journey to a brighter, healthier future.