Cornerstone Family Counseling Services has created a set of tips on how parents can watch for arson tendencies, and the importance of bringing their children to counseling before law enforcement gets involved.
Parents should ask themselves the following questions:
* Has your child set more than one fire?
* Have you caught your child playing with matches, lighters or setting something on fire more than twice?
* Have you found lit matches, gasoline or burn areas?
* Is your child secretive about social media?
* Have you seen an increase in anger outbursts?
* Is your child isolated from family and peers?
* Have you heard from peers or their parents that your child may have a preoccupation with fire?
* Is your child experiencing an increase in tension or anxiety?
* Has your child shown obsessive interest in fire and anything related to fire?
Setting a fire is made up of five subcategories, Cornerstone staff said: the curious fire-setter, the sexually motivated fire-setter, the cry for help fire-setter, severely disturbed group, and the rare form of pyromania, which typically surfaces in childhood.
Child pyromaniacs are usually filled with an uncontrollable urge to set fires to relieve tension.
The causes of fire setting among young children and youths can be attributed to many factors - individual (includes antisocial behaviors and attitudes, or attention seeking), and environmental (includes poor supervision, parental neglect, or stressful life events).
Anyone who sees their child or other children engaging in these activities is encouraged to contact Cornerstone Family Counseling which, in partnership with the Madera County District Attorney’s Office, began a juvenile arson treatment program earlier this year.
Juvenile arsonists have been responsible for numerous fires in the Mountain Area’s recent history, including the 5,702-acre Willow Fire last summer, the John West fires in 2014, and Sundance Fire among others.
Details: (559) 641-6321.