March 19, 2007 1:20am CST
My oldest is a wonderful and calm boy who rarely gives me occasion to be angry or upset with him. However he really likes to play with matches or lighters etc. This behaviour worries me because while he is careful to light the matches by the sink so he can make sure they are out, what is he teaching to his younger siblings. The first time it happened we had a long discussion about it and how fire is facinating but deadly. The second time he did it I took him to websites that show people that have scars from being burned etc and asked him if he could look at his little brothers and sister everyday if they looked that way, and know that it was his fault. Or worse if he could live with out any or all of them everyday and know it was his fault they were dead? Then about a year later I come home from work and I can smell sulfur, he had been playing with them again? Have any of you encountered this, and how have you handled it?
19 Mar 07
Kids seem to have a fascination with fire that tends to peak at puberty. All three of my kids liked matches and candles. I gave up and finally bought candles in jars for them to light when they had the urge to watch things burn but told them that they couldonly light them when there was an adult present in the house. My older daughter has a fireplace that seems to keep her kids fascination in check, and they simply ask to have a fire in the fireplace and they get to feed it the wood to keep it lit as long as they want. A friend has weekly bonfires in the backyard that seem to placate her kids' firebug urges.
• United States
19 Mar 07
I had this problem with my son when he was young, he is now 25. I would discipline him, but nothing worked until he almost burned the house down. I think it scared him so bad that he never played with fire again. Besides, I was so mad I must have looked like a holy terror! I'm definately not suggesting he attempt to burn the house down, but it is a real danger.
• Garden Grove, California
9 Apr 08
Maybe you should take him to a fire station and have him talk to someof the off duty firefighters about playing with matches and what it can cause and I bet that they could scare him into forgetting about matches. If this goes on it might be a good idea to talk to a child psychologist about him and take him for counseling.
19 Mar 07
My brother also liked to play with matches until he and his friend almost burnt our balcony. They were about 12 years old. Luckily, they extinguished the fire very quickly, but after that they never did something like that, at least at home. I don't say it's the way to disaccustom your son to play with fire, no, God forbid! I think I would let try to pay his attention to some other inerests like going in for some kind of sports, etc. Good luck!