Children are sponges of observation. They watch what we do and mimic it as best they can. In addition, they don’t ever miss what mommy and daddy are doing or how they behave or feel about things inside and outside the home. So it’s not surprising when they might take an interest in our fascination with the lottery. We buy our tickets when we are out shopping with them. “Don’t forget to buy tickets,” one parent might tell another. “I forgot to get tickets! Hon, can you run to the store and get tickets before they close?”
When kids hear things like this, they mull it around in their head. "Hmmm. Lottery tickets must be as important as groceries","Forgetting to buy tickets can cause a lot of grief for my parents","My parents get upset if they don’t even win a free ticket."
It’s important to talk to your children about gambling, and especially the buying of lottery tickets. Don’t let them make up their own ideas - or be influenced by peers - about playing the lottery. Teach them at an early age, when they can appreciate the gravitas of your words, that purchasing lottery tickets is a luxury and should only be done when there is money left over after all bills and household and family expenses have been paid. Everything else in life takes priority; lottery tickets are only a luxury if there is money left over for them.
You will need to teach your kids that the odds of winning any prize in the lottery are extremely remote and to always expect not to win. Playing is for fun and entertainment only, not an expectation of actually winning anything. If anything is won, ensure they understand it is only a lucky bonus of playing the lottery.
Make sure to always downplay the importance of buying lottery tickets. Never show any anger or disappointment if you don’t win a draw. Never tell your spouse that you have to buy lottery tickets in front of the kids. Keep these things quiet and never let them see any interest, desire, need, want, or excitement before, during, or after buying your tickets.
If you are buying your tickets when your kids are with you, do the same thing. Be as nonchalant about the purchase as you can. Remember, kids suck up and mimic what they see their parents do and how they act. So if they see that buying tickets is no more important than any other thing that is bought, they will begin to believe that lottery tickets are not that important, but a fun thing to do if there is money for it.
Emphasize that the lottery is only for adults and not for children and that when they reach the age where they can buy their ticket, then they can use the information you have given them now to make responsible gambling choices at that time.
Talking to your kids about how they perceive your attitude and actions towards playing the lottery can help them develop a very healthy and effective attitude of their own when they grow up and are able to play the lottery for themselves. You know your kids best, so you know when they'll be able to fully appreciate this information, but the sooner you do it,the more effective the information you provide to them will be implanted, retained, and implemented.
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