Lighting matches again!!! He's almost 14 !

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I just smelled something a min. ago ... matches, candles ... easy child loves that kind of stuff but she's away at school. I went into difficult child's room and his light was on, he had a paperback there he was reading, but he wasn't there. I called downstairs and found him in the kitchen getting salsa and chips. (Yes, it is 10:49 p.m.) I asked him what he was doing with-candles or matches.
    "Just lighting matches in my room."
    "What for?"
    "Where did you put them when you were finished?"
    "In the trash."

    He had a box of matches AND a lighter.
    Two burned matches on the nice Land's End white blanket. Luckily, no fabric had burned.
    He has so much junk and paper in his room, if it started to burn, it would be the end of everything.
    I'm going to clean out part of his room tomorrow while he's at school, and buy a 2nd fire extinguisher to keep upstairs.

    And I'm going to bring it up with-both the therapy doctor and psychdoc. Scary stuff.

    He'll be lucky if he lives to be 30.

    by the way, he was an absolute jerk tonight. He asked for extra time on the computer if he did more chores. It worked once, but not the second time. He just went straight back on the computer and ignored everything. Incl a friend from his old school who was worried about him and heard a rumor that he wasn't coming back. I called difficult child 4X to come to the ph, and had friend call back twice. The last time, I took it off the hook upstairs and told difficult child to get off the computer NOW. He'd had an hr worth of warnings. He blew up and used the F-word ... and the friend could hear everything.
    Nothing like ticking off your mom and your friend. (Maybe ex-friend, at this point.)

    difficult child was marginally better after we gave him his clonidine. He ate a bit of dinner, which shocked me, because I made a very complicated bunch of Indian recipes and thought he'd hate them all. He ate the veg rice and curried chicken, but not the palak paneer (spinach). He refused to set the table or do any dishes.

    Tomorrow can't come too soon.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I feel for you. There is no magic cure for difficult child'dom. If I had it to do over again, I swear there are tons of things I would do differently- starting with my outlook and priorities. Would it have helped? I have no earthly idea. Rewards/consequences didn't help, medications didn't help, etc. I guess that's why I still struggle with the fact that the approach recommended by the expert psychiatrists that no therapist would use and the legal people and sd would never get on board with might have helped. All I know for sure is if it isn't working, you might as well try something else but I have no idea what the "something else" is.
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I feel for you. easy child 1 and difficult child 1 used to burn stuff. Thankfully, we lived in the country where they were largely harmless if they did it. It was still disturbing. easy child 1 outgrew being a firebug. difficult child 1 was 15 or 16 when his ' I just want to see what would happen" resulted in his brother's bed smoldering for an hour while we ran around looking for the source...We spent about 6 months after that making sure difficult child 1 was never unsupervised. It hoovered, big time, but what else can you do?
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    I don't know what to say...I've been on this page with difficult child 1 for literally months. I finally told him that I'd break his hands if I caught him with anything like matches or lighters again.

    He's just hell bent on putting you through the wringer right now which totally stinks.

    Hugs to you -

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Some kids huh? I dont know, it just seems like there are some kids that are harder to get through to than others. I wouldnt do those teen years over again if someone paid me a million bucks. I keep thinking Jamie wants to move closer to home so I can help him deal with his two when this stuff hits the fan and I just dont think I can go through it
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    To be fair, in the world of difficult child's, he has been tossed out of a school suddenly and had to adjust to a new school in very short order. There is no easy way to get him through the transition but I wonder if it triggered him back to old behaviors because they comfort him?
    If I had been booted out of school, I wouldn't want to talk to anyone from there either. Unfortunately, our difficult child's don't know how to express that embarrassment and/or anger at what they perceive as injustice.
    Probably talking to him about how he feels may help. I always put the crux of the problem on my difficult child's choice of behavior but I always tried to help him with his feelings of failute. It's pretty powerful stuff.
    I know your difficult child is complicated but I thought I would throw that out for consideration.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 3 does this, and other related things. He insists he is doing it safely, he thinks he is being safe, but he just doesn't know enough. His current 'game' is to buy party poppers and take them apart, collecting the various bits together so he can blow up the gunpowder etc separately. The room he is doing this in (when he's not doing it outside) has a very sensitive smoke detector and also is separate from the house.

    We went through this with difficult child 1 too. He would bring home lighters and lighter fluid. We would find cans of lighter fluid in his bed, under the couch, everywhere. As we found lighters and lighter fluid, we confiscated them. We're just beginning to run out now (he's 27 and been married for almost 2 years).

    What worked for us is to give them a pyromaniac outlet. I would sometimes toast marshmallows with the kids. We have a cast iron pizza oven in the backyard, and a lot of windfall timber (constant supply). I'd get the kids to help clean up the timber and get a fire going. Sometimes we'd also make pizza, but the aim was to keep the fire going to get rid of a lot of the timber (keeps our property safer to get the fire hazard down). But the firebugs would watch the fire and within reason, I would let them play. Safely. It did help them. It didn't eliminate the silly stuff (such as lighting matches - I can always smell when they've done this and there has to be a good reason for it) but it did greatly reduce it.


  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sigh. Thank you all.