My son is 10 years old.
He’s also very much like me.
Yeah, I feel your pain. It’s really rough at times, right?
It’s such a brilliant time to watch him grow as his analytical mind is on overdrive 24/7/365 as are his emotions.
When he analyzes a situation and it doesn’t make sense, he often begins to spin like a top. Words begin to fly out of his mouth without fear of their potential secondary effects or consequences. It’s honestly quite refreshing. You can see him becoming more and more emotionally worked up as the commentary continues on highlighting the perceived mistakes or injustices of others he has observed.
And it keeps going. And going. And going!
Along the way, I’ll try to address his concerns or observations. But it doesn’t work as he’s so laser-focused on highlighting his point of view that his mind can’t process what I’m trying to say.
Eventually, we reach a point where things are going absolutely nowhere and I firmly respond with a loud “Bro!….Chill.” Well, actually it usually takes 2-4 of these in a row to break his trance.
The first few times he would continue right back into his grievances once there was a moment of silence.
But now, he has learned from our past discussions that it’s a signal that I’m trying to respond to him. And we’ve had enough of these that he knows I’m not just going to hit him with a “because I said so” type response.
There are two takeaways here that apply to the things I see in the problem gambling and responsible gambling space.
The first is that we all have a tendency to revert to our 10-year-old selves and begin shouting and spinning on topics. There is value in the things being said, but they can’t be addressed until we allow others to respond.
Second, we need to work on genuinely showing that we hear the other point of view. The “Bro, chill!” doesn’t work when I simply dismiss his thoughts. No, they go on with even more vigor.
Problem gambling is a complicated topic with no clear paths to success. There are a few trails that show promise, but no implementation is going to be a smooth highway where we can set the cruise control at 80 MPH.
Bumps, sharp turns, and dead-end streets need to be expected, so they don’t shock and surprise us.
And to deal with these, implementing more “Bro, chill!” into our journey can go a long way.