Fires are perceived as dangers to all of us and we cringe when we see a child anywhere near a fire. The good thing is that most kids are afraid of fire, as they should be. But there are some kids that have an obsession with starting fires and repeatedly find things to set on fire. I have a nephew who use to set just about anything he could get his hands on. It was a major concern for the whole family. My sister realized that he needed a therapist to get to the bottom of his fire starting.
We learned a lot about why kids engage in this behavior and how it can be prevented. Younger children will set fires because they are curious or they accidentally get a hold of mom’s lighter and play around with it until something catches fire. The problem is that even though these kids are curious and will set a fire, the have no clue what to do when a fire occurs.
As kids get a bit older, some may see fire as a fascination. They will set paper on fire or play with the candles in the home. But the cause for concern comes after they have been told several times and punished for their behavior. My nephew was told over and over again that it was wrong to set fires and he was put in time out and was sent to his room many times to think about what he had done.
A few days after he tried setting the house on fire by lighting his mattress on fire, my sister called his family physician to see if he could recommend a mental health professional. The therapist stated that kids who exhibit behaviors including stealing matches or lighters, lighting candles or fireworks after being told not to.
Kids that are fire starters are usually angry or seeking out attention. It may be they are having a hard time at school, being neglected or abused at home, being bullied by another kid or any other number of reasons. But it really doesn’t matter why the kid is doing it; parents need to seek professional help so they can get to the root of the problem.
You can prevent your kids from starting fires with just a few simple tips. The first thing is to keep you home safe by hiding all matches and lighters. Never leave candles burning around children. Parents need to set a good example for their kids by using lighters and matches appropriately by only lighting candles, wood stoves, fireplace or bonfires.
Parents play a huge part in making their kids aware of the fire dangers. We also need to keep our eyes open to signs that our children may be starting fires and if so, get them the help they need.