How to Punish a Child for Using a Lighter

Children often have a fascination with fire, leading them to experiment with or play with fire, according to the Focus Adolescent Services website. When children play with fire, it can burn out of control, leading to devastating damage and injury. If you find your child using a lighter, take immediate steps to teach your child that fire play is not permissible.

Speak with your child about the incident to communicate your concern and learn details about what happened. Find out what your child was doing and what his purpose was for using the lighter. Tell your child that using a lighter is unacceptable and that you will not allow him to use a lighter under any circumstances.

Give your child specific consequences for using a lighter if he disobeys your rule. You might say, “I am sure you will follow my rule about using a lighter, because it is so important. If you do break the rule, though, you will need to deal with a consequence.” Then give your child consequences that are likely to deter her from using a lighter again.

Explain fire danger to your child so she understands the potential risks, advises the KidsHealth website. Tell your child that fire can burn quickly and out of control, burning down a house or a building before it’s possible to stop it. Make it clear to your child that only adults should use fire and lighters.

Monitor your child’s activities and conduct to ensure that he follows your rule. Children might even be at risk for fire play in bedrooms, according to psychologist Robert Cole and professor Daryl Sharp, writing for the Fireproof Children website.

Follow-through with consequences if you discover your child disobeying your rule about using a lighter. Tell your child, “I am very concerned that you broke the rule about using a lighter. The consequence was that you will lose television and computer time for one week, so that starts now.”

Speak to your physician about your child’s behavior if you have concerns. A child engaging in fire play or who seems to have an unusual fascination with fire may need professional help, advises the Focus Adolescent website.