Expert Advice

Playing with Matches

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q
How do you stop an 11-year-old from playing with matches, lighters, etc.?
A
The first thing you must do is to put all matches, lighters, etc. out of the reach of children. Have a calm, serious talk with your child and listen to what the curiosity is, calmly explain dangers, and discuss the rules and consequences regarding playing with matches, etc. It's very important to follow through on the consequences. Kids shut out our preaching and threats.

Check with the school to see if the local fire companies put on fire prevention activities in the school. If they don't, perhaps you and other parents can help the school to coordinate such a program. The local fire department might work with your child on an individual basis.

If you believe this is beyond the normal interest -- and none of these suggestions work -- I would strongly urge you to find a professional licensed counselor who specializes in children's issues. I know you want to protect your child, your home, and your family from any harm that could come from setting fires.

Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.