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 Post subject: Consequences for playing with fire
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 11:03 am 
Just Arrived

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:23 pm
Posts: 6
Our 12 year old son hasn't had any history of fascination with fire, playing with fire, etc. Nevertheless, he recently lit a fire in the yard. When he saw that it worked, he stamped out the fire and tried to dispose of the evidence by throwing it over the fence. Unfortunately, it wasn't out, and there was some minor damage to a neighbor's shed.

The natural consequences are that he'll have to pay for the damage, and is also likely to have to deal with the police. But this all grew out of two things:

1) He was bored, and
2) He was disobedient. He knows he's not allowed to "play" with fire.

The question is, how do we connect our own consequences to what he did? More to the point, how do you have consequences for something you DON'T want a child to do. It's easy to say, "No electronics until you clean up your room for three days in a row." But you can't say, "No more electronics until you don't set another fire for three days."



 Post subject: Re: Consequences for playing with fire
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 11:34 am 
Experienced EP Member

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:20 pm
Posts: 50

You ask some really important questions here and you’re actually off to a fantastic start as far as handling this effectively. You’re making sure that your son makes an amends for the damage that he caused and it sounds like you’ve stressed that because it is a safety issue the police may need to get involved. Another natural consequence is basically less personal space for him, you may explain that you’re going to be checking up on him a lot more to ensure everyone’s safe. When he can demonstrate that he can control the urge to start a fire when he’s bored then he’ll have more room to do his thing. Basically, this is a serious offense and the way to look at it is that he’s going to experience a penalty as a result of his choice. Remember that the program encourages short-term consequences so it could be something like you’re grounding from going over to your friend’s this weekend because you didn’t follow the rule with this. Before life can move forward in your home, make sure to hold your son accountable to discussing with you what his plan is going to be to make sure this rule is being followed in the future, as well as challenging him to come up with some appropriate ways to entertain himself.

Tina Wakefield
Support Line Advisor

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