I must admit I was quite surprised to see people debating whether or not they should allow their kids to participate in the adult gambling sessions. What if they become addicts and ruin their lives? I personally do not see any problem with playing casino games with my kids. In fact, I used to spend most of my free time with them, playing various games, from Old Maid, Mahjong and Uno to Rummy and Poker. I still remember my 4 year-old daughter recognizing the number two while she was still in kindergarten. And for the record, she is happily married now and not spending all her wages on gambling.
There is no denial and the evidence is overwhelming: gambling has a negative impact on a person’s life and becomes a serious social problem when that individual becomes addicted to it. In spite of the fact that governments across the globe have reported this issue, ironically society is actually teaching kids about luck, chance and overall gambling even from an early age. One example that springs to mind at this point is the “lucky dip” machine typically found in local shopping centers: while it may look like harmless fun, that machine is just one way to push kids to take their chance and, if they’re lucky, maybe they’ll win a toy or a piece of candy.
What can kids pick up from knowing how to gamble?
In my opinion, teaching your kids about tobacco, alcohol, eating, medication and gambling is just a part of life and the sooner they know about it, the easier it will be for them to recognize the addictive nature and counter it. In addition to learning about the potential risks of gambling, children will also:
- Be introduced to the complex world of mathematics in a fun and exciting way since figuring out how much they will make from a bet is definitely more interesting than theoretically learning these core principles.
- Be able to discern evidence from beliefs. While most parents are focused on teaching their children to express themselves, the truth is that few realize that a better way to prepare them for life is to show them that beliefs can be weak and easy challengeable when matched against solid evidence.
- Learn about probabilities and hence, promote a clearer thinking when they can actually recognize that somebody is wrong (including authorities such a teachers). In addition, if they understand how probabilities work, then they will surely comprehend the mechanism of cognitive biases.