Two 15-year-old boys were using matches to light leaves on fire in the back yard. The fire got out of control very quickly and ended up damaging a barn that belonged to the neighbor. The boys participated in diversion and were able to learn more about the crime of arson and its many consequences. They were also able to hear from the neighbor and understand the distress that the neighbor faced over the damaged barn. Both of the boys told diversion staff that they were unaware of the dangers of fire before participating in diversion and now are able to make better choices because of what they learned during the process.
From a parent of a child who made a bad decision…
My first reaction to having my 10-year-old son be involved in the mandatory Juvenile Firesetter’s Intervention & Prevention Program was, “Wow, they really care about my son’s well being .” My son has mild ADHD and sometimes his literal understanding of things gets in his way, but the staff person assigned to our case was so patient with his questions, nurturing in how they reprimanded him, and very professional, organized and thorough in the presentation of the educational meetings.
My son was with a neighborhood buddy when his fire incident occurred so they were in the program together. Although I was shocked about the situation, I realized that being part of starting a fire, though not actually being the one to initiate the action, was just as wrong . My son tends to follow, than to lead when it comes to getting into mischief at times. Beware that although you may think your child is the wiser, peer pressure is powerful. Be careful who your child considers a role model. The videos we saw were right on target when it exemplified how peers can influence good and bad decision making.