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Fire Safety and Pre-Teens

I have a 12 year old son who is sweet, funny and curious. When he was little he tended to really follow rules, and was a very easy kid to parent. Then he turned 12, and things started to change. We’ve been through slamming doors and talking back, and then much to my horror I found a used match in our sink.

My husband and I had gone to the grocery store and left our little Darling at home alone. We have lovely neighbors (Right side: retired, older, grandparent-like couple, left side: a couple who are working on a family of their own, and one is an FBI agent), so I feel every safe when he is there alone as we all look out for each other. Imagine my surprise when I put something in an empty sink and see a spent match!

We’ve had many conversations about fire safety since we live in a house with gas appliances, and a fireplace. We’ve discussed where to meet should a fire break out, and how to call

9-1-1. We’d never specifically said “Don’t play with matches”, but I think we just never thought he would since he’s more of a rule-follower than a rule-breaker.

Working for Auto-Out I see fire related news and information on a daily basis, and in some cases have shared fire stories with my family. So he knows what fire can do, or at least I thought he did. So coming home and seeing that match in the sink made me realize we can’t assume anything!

We sat him down and had a very frank discussion about what could have happened, and we talked about being curious, and being careful. We also spoke about how just because we haven’t told you NOT to do something, doesn’t mean it’s okay to do it, and how at 12 years of age he knows right from wrong, and if it’s wrong-DON’T do it!

I think we got through to him. I hope we got through to him. If not, we discussed future consequences, but I am really hoping we don’t have to use them.

As one concerned parent to another- if you have an older child, I suggest you speak to them again about fire safety, and this time include NOT lighting matches as a part of that talk!

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