Don’t set yourself on fire.

According to the internet, right now kids are setting fire to themselves on purpose. The Fire Challenge sounds (and is) incredibly stupid, but when I was a kid we did the eraser game (erasing the skin on our hands to see who could get the worst scar) and the fainting game (hyperventilating and getting choked in the bathroom until you pass out) and we even did the Chubby Bunny challenge (packing marshmallows into your mouth and saying “Chubby Bunny”) until some girl suffocated from it. Then you’re suddenly confronted with the fact that you’re mortal.  I mean, death by marshmallows?  Nothing was safe.  So then we stopped doing stupid, dangerous things until we turned into teenagers and began doing different stupid, dangerous things.

But here’s the thing…  Am I supposed to tell my nine-year-old child not to set herself on fire, or is it just a given that I respect her intelligence enough to know that she’ll instinctively know not to set herself on fire. Or will mentioning setting herself on fire just put the idea into her head? They never cover this shit in the parenting books.  I mean, setting yourself on fire seems pretty up-front in the “DON’T DO THIS, YOU IDIOT” category, but then again, intentionally peeling off layers of your own skin and letting people strangle you for fun isn’t exactly “normal” in hindsight, so maybe it wouldn’t hurt to mention it.

“Hey, sweet girl,” I whisper to Hailey as she drifts off to sleep. “Sweet dreams.  Sleep tight.  Don’t set yourself on fire.”

My work here is done.

224 thoughts on “Don’t set yourself on fire.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. what the actual fuck?

    Yeah, I don’t think I would have to tell my kids not to set themselves on fire. I HAVE had to tell my husband that, though.

  2. HA! I just had the “don’t set yourself on fire even though other kids are doing it because they are dumb” talk with my daughters… encouraged them to do the “do your fucking homework” challenge instead.

  3. We did that hyperventilate-and-then-get-choked-out thing,when I was a kid, too. And that is one of a myriad of things I look back on now in abject horror as I then view it through the lens of having a 9-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.

    This parenting shit is terrifying.

  4. When I was a kid it was cool to set your socks on fire and see how long you could keep them on your feet. I was always the person mocking everyone with their socks up in flames while standing over them with a jug of water. Kids do weird things.

  5. It’s probably just a fad, like clothing trends. Or just like how the ice challenge went viral. I’m pretty sure it’ll fade out once people get over it and realize how dumb it really is.

  6. My daughter and her friends played Ransom. This is where they would blindfold one of them and then drive them to an unknown location where they would then have to find their way home without a vehicle. I went ape shit when I discovered this was an actual thing.

    Needless to say, I would at least mention that fire leaves disfiguring scars or that arm hair really stinks when set on fire.

  7. I have an 11 year old boy. Thinking I’ll mention the whole not setting himself on fire thing to him this afternoon.


  8. I was an honor roll student and when I was 11 I still snorted kool aid with a bunch of other kids at recess. I have no idea why. I think it wouldn’t hurt to mention it to her, even the smartest kids to stupid things sometimes.

  9. Seriously I worry that saying, “Don’t do this” will just encourage them. I had an uncle who was told not to put beans up his nose and guess what he did? (Of course, he’s that family member we don’t really talk much about anyway…)

  10. I’ve set myself on fire many times… but never on purpose. It’s not fun, I don’t recommend it. Fire hurts. A whole fucking lot.

  11. The problem is we have come up with so many ways to protect the lives of morons, such as warning labels on jars of peanuts that say “May contain peanuts” that they are now breeding a new generation of morons, who set themselves on fire just for fun. Perhaps if we stop saving these people they will wipe themselves out.

  12. Just subtly play anti-fire songs when she’s around from now on, to get the point across without nagging. I suggest you start with “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and then maybe. “Ring of Fire” – that should work.

  13. I am mid-30s, and my friends did this when we were teens. Dip your hand in rubbing alcohol, set your hand on fire. I never did it, although I did my own share of stupid things. But that seemed too dumb, even for me.

  14. When I was nine we used to play a game called ‘milkshake’. We used to all jump up and down on a trampoline wearing flip flops. The first one to twist their ankles was the winner.
    When I was nineteen we used to go out and take as many class A drugs as possible. The first one to pass out or end up in a random mans home was the winner.
    Now I am thirty nine still and alive. I worry about not wearing high enough SPF, even on a winters’ day. You just have to hope that you are one of the ones who makes it through to being an ‘adult’.

  15. Turns out, jumping out of airplanes without a parachute is also kinda dangerous. Who knew?
    puts parachute back on
    Definitely tell her.

  16. We played bloody knuckles (card game)… I don’t remember the rules, but the winner was whomever’s knuckles bled first from getting whacked with the deck of cards.

  17. I was a senior in college when I picked up a mattress off the street and slept on it for two years. You can never be too old or too smart to something really, really stupid. (before you hurl, there were no stains on it and bedbugs hadn’t come to our state yet)

  18. If setting yourself on fire is what the cool kids are doing, I’ve never been prouder to say that I’m not cool. I’m so totally not cool that my skin is not aflame. Wait… is it ironic if “cool” people are hot because they are on fire while the “non cool” people are cold because we aren’t on fire? Is the opposite of cool, hot? Not in the attractive sense, of course, though we geeks appear to be hot at the moment. poses with a TARDIS Can being uncool enough make you “hot” enough to set you on fire? Is the fact that I’m wondering this making me more uncool (i.e. hot) by the second? brain asplodes ironically setting me on fire

  19. Maybe give her a healthy sense of how very stupid it is to be, say, the girl who died with a mouthful of marshmallows. You know: don’t be like the kid who ruined lawn darts. That sort of thing.

  20. I have seen the fire challenge stuff as well. I really didn’t do stuff like that as a kid…I rode my bike and hiked up mountains without permission and waded in creeks and cut my foot open. I did things that require tetanus shots……not skin graphs

  21. I take the “don’t play with matches” approach, hoping that they aren’t twisted enough to think that if they do it as part of a “challenge” then it isn’t PLAYING.

    That said, I watched my kids dump a bucket of ice water on their heads over the weekend, so perhaps I’m not the one who should be in charge of this particular sideshow.

  22. I think it’s better to pose it as a question. “I hear kids are setting themselves on fire for a dare. What do you think about that?” “Would you do that?” “How would you stay safe?” “What would you do if people asked you about it?”
    Although for some reason, my kids are much more safety minded than I am. We regularly blow things up/set them on fire/break them but we always make a safety plan first.

  23. I never set myself on fire on purpose. Accidentally, in Advanced Chemistry lab, with a Bunsen burner and the cotton ragg sweater (it was the 80s and I was in Oklahoma. This was totally a thing then) I was wearing? Yes.

    Trust ol’ Uncle Jim, kids: setting yourself on fire, even accidentally, is a terrifying event. Not as in “hey, that was kind of a thrill!” terrifying, but in “HOLY FUCKING SHITBALLS I COULD HAVE BURNED TO DEATH AND I HEAR BURNING TO DEATH IS ABOUT THE MOST PAINFUL DEATH THERE IS!” welcome-to-mortality-kid terrifying. Actual had to sit down because I was shaking so badly terror. And that was without any of my actual body being burned. I was just enveloped in a knitted cocoon of flaming cotton ragg fuzz.

    Remember when you were 5 and you touched the stove burner or the pot on the stove and your finger burned and it hurt really bad and maybe even blistered a bit, and it hurt for what seemed like FOREVER? Yeah, now imagine that level of pain over a much more significant part of your body.

    Yeah, yeah, you’re all “[eyeroll] WhatEVER, Grandpa. That can’t happen to me” about this. Newsflash: Yes, it can. And it will. So don’t set yourself on fire on purpose. And try not to do so accidentally.

  24. Just make sure that if she does the fire challenge, she immediately follows it with the ALS ice water challenge.

  25. Dude, I’m worrying about how to talk to my kids about racism and privilege. Now I have to worry about telling them not to set themselves on fire? I give up.

  26. When I was a teenager we did this with perfume, sort of. Me and my friend would pour nasty perfume on her night stand and then light it on fire. It would burn the alcohol and not damage anything. Until that one time we were adding more to the burning area and lit the curtains and her bed on fire. We put it out. Laughed like hell. And thankfully didn’t burn the house down. I think that was the last time we did it. I really do have to say “I think.”

  27. A guy in my hometown (Augusta, GA – `nuff said) let his buddies pour alcohol on his head and light it on fire in a bar. They played the footage from the security camera on the evening news. My first thought was, “I really hope that in some twisted way he thought this was going to impress a girl.” Sadly, I think the only people he was aiming to impress were his douchy friends.

  28. ok, this is what I actually wrote:

    a friend at work just warned me about a FB trend for teens to “stop their hearts” basically by hyperventilating until a friend pushes on their chest, which renders them unconscious and then they stop breathing and will supposedly restart. She wanted me to warn my kids not to do this prank and to warn their friends that it was dangerous.

    Here’s what – My kids arent that stupid…..(you hear me, Gabe, Nick, and Lici – you guys arent that stupid, right????) who would willing stop their hearts and breathing, just for fun??? Didn’t you watch Flatliners???? you will bring back all your old mistakes and ghosts IF you are so lucky as to return to the breathing side of things…. (side note – if you havent – you totally should – its Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and Julia Roberts at their cutest

    Here’s what else – if their friends are stupid enough to do this, then STOP HANGING AROUND THOSE FRIENDS! I totally believe in natural selection, so….ya know, Thin the Herd…..No Srsly – this reminds me of the “Cinnamon Challenge” which was just plain stupid….or the Choking Challenge – these are NOT challenges, y’all. Challenges are living life with the random things that get thrown at you and you live with them with grace and dignity and overcome them! These are just kids with too much time on their hands. Come on y’all. Let’s raise our kids not to be so damn silly. Just Say No (to stupid tricks and pranks that can render y’all dead)

  29. We did the “go into a dark room with a mirror and chew wintergreen Life Savers and see sparks” challenge. Which really works, btw.

  30. I have a friend who can set her nipples on fire. Its a cool party trick.
    I am pretty confident my nine year old step daughter is smart enough to know not to set herself on fire, but I may bring the subject up with her just to get her reaction. Her reactions to the stupid fad things some kids do is usually hilarious.

  31. “Yo, spawn! You’re damned smart kids. Fucking geniuses, even. Don’t do stupid shit like lighting yourselves on fire. If you – for some reason – need to know what a severe burn feels like, turn on the stove, smash your bare boob against the burner, and walk away. You won’t soon forget that pain. Now stop being a dumbass and go read a book.”

  32. 15 years ago, I was riding in the passenger seat of my friend’s car and our friend in the back seat said, calmly, “My hand is on fire.” I turn around and he’s got a tiny bottle of hairspray in one hand and a lighter in the other.

    This friend now has an eight-month-old baby. I am eagerly waiting to see how this turns out.

  33. Yes, please also add the “No sniffing Sweet n’ Low,” thing… unless that might be suggestive? As a former teacher I have had to deal with this. The worst thing we did as kids was take a thread of carpet, attach it to a pin, put it in a ball-point pen casing, attach that to a compressor, and shoot the pins into a garage door. At least we didn’t shoot each other.

  34. When I was a teenager, we lit each others red flannel lumber jackets on fire. Yes, this was in Canada, and yes, lumber jackets were quite the fashion statement if you lived in the country. Canada was grunge before grunge was a fashion. It was entertaining to hold a lighter to part of the jacket and watch as the flame licked up the fabric. Once a jacket had been lit enough, however, it wouldn’t do it any more since the fluffy bits were all gone. I didn’t do this myself, I loved how soft my lumber jacket was, and I have always had long hair. Setting fire to one’s outerwear and having long hair is not a great combination.

  35. Kids just don’t have a filter between life and death. It’s up to us. Good job, mom.
    When my daughter was young she told me about the time she and her friend had planned to run away, but she said she would miss the rest of us. I said I was glad she decided to stick around because brownies. Is it ok to bribe a kid to keep her from doing dumb things?

  36. Never too early to have the Talk. I linked the news story to my 14 year old stepdaughter’s fb wall and said, “Very Real, Please never do this.” Her response was “DUH.” But at least it was addressed. My 9 year old boy couldnt believe this was even a “thing.” So we got to discuss peer pressure and how it can alter your actions as you get into those tween-and-teen years.

  37. We had the eraser game too, and the dizzy game (spin around looking up at the sky until you pass it), and there was always the one kid who snorted pixy stix and hold lit firecrackers and stuff.

    I feel like childhood is one of those lose-lose situations.

  38. Is that like I was I told to jump off a bridge even if my stupid friends did it? I never jumped off a bridge, but I did drive home one night without my lights on in protest of having to go home. Does that count as something I should tell my kids never to do?

  39. I remember the hyperventilating thing. I never had the guts or stupidity to do it. I know what you mean by the power of suggestion. I don’t think I’d mention it, unless my child was a pyromaniac.

  40. I would mention it. I am trying to decide whether or not to mention it to my 16 year old. I am freaked out enough right now because she will have her license in less than two months.

    Years ago I dated a boy who “accidentally” shot his brother in the head with an arrow. I had forgotten about him until someone mentioned not setting their brother on fire in one of the comments. He definitely needs to be added back to my list of “What the crap was I thinking?”

  41. That’s probably the best way to tell your 9 year-old not to set themselves on fire!
    You’re next book should be a parenting advice book.. One that covers these subjects! I have a 2 year-old, I’m gonna need all the advice you’ve got!

  42. I never understood these sorts of things and then I had two younger brothers who ended up being 8 and 10 years younger than me…sht got real and I questioned so many of their crazy choices (at least neither of them have set themselves on fire *yet). I wish I would have been around more but I don’t know if that would have made a difference.

  43. Dang. And I thought it was stupid when we played wizard with lighters at summer camp. No one smoked — we all had lighters so we didn’t have to worry about wet matches when it was time to light the campfire. But we had more lighters than campfires to be lit, so the rest of us tried to catch butane in our fists and make a fireball next to a candle. (Before Texans and Californians gasp in horror, there was no campsite burning down — It was the northeast and had been raining for days.)

  44. I never saw a single word about setting yourself on fire in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. However, in What to Expect the Toddler Years, there were times when I FELT like setting myself on fire. Luckily I never accepted that challenge.

  45. I’ll never forget the shock of someone dying from chubby bunny, of all things.

    And I think you should lead by example. Set yourself on fire in front of her, of course, so she can see what a monumentally idiotic thing it is to do, and learn from your negative example. Isn’t that the secret of parenting?

  46. They sure are escalating in pushing the boundaries these days. I remember playing Chubby Bunnies at youth group and marching band functions (cool kid right here). But setting yourself on fire? I am pretty sure there was a terrible screamo band called I Set Myself On Fire. Dear Lord, I hope they didn’t start the trend…

  47. Where the crap are all of your fans from Jenny? These comments are terrifying! That being said, I am now going to tell my teens not to
    1. Set themselves on fire
    2. Not set anything on fire with alcohol or perfume
    3. Not to TRY to sprain their ankles on a trampoline
    4. Not take type A meds to pass out or end up getting molested by a stranger
    5. Not let their friends choke them out (seriously WTF?)
    6. Not to erase their skin until it scars
    7. Not to snort kool aid
    8. Not to stick beans up their nose.
    I’m totally going to let them do the Chubby Bunny though, it’s all a part of growing up:)

  48. The left believes kids should be told all about the dangers of lighting fire to one’s self, and that school nurses should hand out safety matches and buckets of water, so that teens can practice safe-fire.

    The right thinks that by talking about it, parents and schools are condoning it, and that it’s better just to preach flame-abstinence. The religious right, furthermore, wants to start a conversation about “when does a spark become a flame?”


  49. I think informing a child that fire is bad and will hurt is a good thing but you’d think they’d have enough common sense to not go and find out for themselves. Guess I was wrong lol! Some are just down right crazy. Particularly the mother of a boy who set himself alight. She sat and filmed the whole thing! claps excellent parenting. Bravo! shakes head

  50. When I was a young teenager, my friends and I would dart across a road with heavy traffic, sort of like Frogger. Actually, exactly like Frogger. Extremely stupid thing to do, but something I probably would’ve done even with parental warning. That’s just how kids are. But, as a parent, I still would tell my kid not to dart into traffic or experiment with self combustion — just so I can tell him “I told you so!” after the fact.

    Also, this is my first comment on this blog — on any blog, in truth. I’ve discovered this blog by pure chance and have been a happier person since. I’ve also read the book. I have a huge girl crush on you, Jenny. I hope it’s not (too) weird.

  51. Kids, even the most down to earth, will amaze you with their lack of common sense. I think the reason my brothers and I survived childhood was because a the dinner table we spoke of everything. It was almost always clear what my parents felt was and was not acceptable. And – at the end of the day – if we would have set ourselves on fire, we would have been dead ducks ’cause if the fire didn’t take us, Mom and Dad woulda dispatched us. #DarwinismRocks

  52. Other things I never thought I would have to tell my children:

    1. Don’t drink hand sanitizer – I don’t care if there is alcohol in it..
    2. Don’t eat bath salts – or you might eat someone’s face off
  53. I have to say, I’ve never heard of the Chubby Bunny thing.

    But what I wanted to say was that I’m trying to teach my daughter to think for herself and not to fall into following the fads, especially when they involve doing things SHE KNOWS are stupid and/or dangerous.

  54. People choke each other for fun?

    Even as a kid I was not a bit ashamed for avoiding pain. It just seemed (and still seems) to make sense.

    Avoid the things that hurt. They suck.

  55. so glad I have dogs and not kids. None of my dogs have to be told not to set themselves on fire; not to choke themselves unconscious; not to snort Pixie-stix. On the other hand, I do have to tell Ziva, 3 yr old German shepherd, not to run with rocks in her mouth. (Side note: You do the Heimlich maneuver on dogs just like you do on humans)

  56. Mother being brought up on charges here for video taping her son’s fire challenge. Who whispers common sense to them when they fall asleep?

  57. I’ve only been set on fire twice in my life. I was fully an adult both times and only the second time was on purpose. Although both did happen in front of an audience.

    Full disclosure: I’m a chemist who did shows for local grade schools during her grad years (accident involving a hydrogen filled balloon with a small leak). I also happen to have friends who eat fire professionally (it was my birthday and who wouldn’t want to be part of something called the “triple tongue transfer” with two hot guys).

  58. I’ve only heard of the Chubby Bunny thing in the context of my father showing everyone how beyond-CUTE it was to grab my face and make me say it. It also had an additional character – “Fat Rabbit”. So I’d stand there stifling laughter with my father’s meat-hand wrapped around my lower jaw trying to say “Fat Rabbit; Chubby Bunny” coherently and without drooling. 😉
    That subliminal sleep-whispering thing was brilliant!

  59. We shaved my brother’s head, sprayed it with hairspray, & lit the hairspray on fire when I was a kid. Of course my mom looked out the window right as we lit his head aflame. She was so quick to run outside, she didn’t even notice we had a soaking wet towel which we threw on his head as soon he told us he felt warm. No scars.

    But I will not tell my daughter’s about this until their prefrontal cortexes have fully developed.

  60. I did the eraser thing. I also did the “stick a safety pin under a layer of skin to leave a skin tunnel” all up and down the sides of my hands and fingers. Yeah, boys lined up to hold MY hand, heh. So far, my boys haven’t done anything uber-stupid (that I know of), but I’ll give them time.

  61. The only thing I remember in school is the fainting game… I never did it but I witnessed it many times around the side of the building where the nuns couldn’t see us. I don’t remember any of those other games and certainly would think my children would have enough sense NOT to set themselves on fire… but I will tell them anyway because that is my job.

  62. I’d go with “You know not to set yourself on fire, right? Even if your friends think it would be cool?” … but you’re probably safe on that one, she seems like a sharp kid.

  63. Wow–I feel kinda depraved onnaccounta I was deprived…I never did anything dangerous or physically painful on purpose…things were scary enough at home…though my brother was always setting stuff on fire and falling off buildings and shit…good times.

  64. What the HELL?

    Wait, I remember a “thing” in jr high when we all set the fuzzies on our cotton socks on fire a few times (because we were unbelievably stupid), but no one ever got hurt from that, and once moms saw scorched socks it ended pretty quick.

    I approve of the subliminal message. Or maybe just a reminder that you know she’s smart enough not to do the stupid shit her classmates might do?

  65. Don’t we all have to say weird shit to our kids though? Just recently I had to say “don’t stick your bum down the drain”.

  66. An actual comment I heard on the bus as a sixth-grader:

    “Hey, if you lick a Cinnaburst wrapper and stick it to your head, it burns.”

    And thus began a three-week spree of kids licking cinnamon gum wrappers and sticking them to their heads. Fully aware of the consequences.

  67. I wonder if the light-bulb-eating guys that HuffPo mentioned were from the Jim Rose Circus? Those were the days…watching trained professionals lie on beds of nails, swallow razor blades, have darts thrown at their backs, get their stomachs pumped, swing not one, but two irons from a Prince Albert piercing…oh, yeah, and eat light bulbs. (Apparently the trick is to grind the glass down well with your molars, but I think I’ll just leave that one to Jim, Enigma, and Lifto.) Damn, I miss the ’90s sometimes…

  68. Can we please get kids behind the “Clean up the damn bathroom already!” challenge.
    You know… certain kids have been known to get high from scrubbing toilets and wiping down sinks… oh yes…. you should never every scrub a toilet. For god’s sake don’t wipe down a sink. Ever. And don’t let your friends pressure you into scrubbing toilets. Be smart kid! Just say no!

  69. Not setting yourself on fire… sounds easy, right? And yet, in the park not far from me, girls film themselves beating the crap out of each other. In large groups. :/ I know that being a teenager is hard and stuff, but really…

  70. I don’t know, Hailey seems like a smart kid. If you were to mention it to her, I’m sure she’d be all like, “Mom, what did you set on fire? Are we going to have to move? Do you need help to hide the body?” They grow up so fast.

  71. When my parents would go out and leave the two of us alone for a few hours, my mother would always tell us not to burn the house down, or drink bleach. So far I have managed to become an adult and not to do either of those things. I’m fairly certain that I didn’t need telling though.

  72. I alway found the dinner table was the place for this sort of discussion. Hey, I read in the paper that kids are…. They don’t seem to realize they can cause themsleves serious harm, pass the green beans

  73. When Daughter was younger, it seemed like any time I was out of town…this child who might not exchange 10 words with me any given day after school would suddenly need to call and talk to me RIGHT NOW eighteen times in an afternoon. More, if I were in a meeting with anyone important. Eventually, I’d be driven to the point of answering the phone, “Sweetie? Are you bleeding or on fire? Then you’ll have to wait for me to get off work and call you back.” I never ONCE thought that she’d have actually set herself on fire.

  74. Also, this whole fire challenge business is bringing to mind the George Carlin routine where he points out that, at the time, he led Richard Pryor 2-1 in heart attacks, but Richard had him beat, 1-0 in burning oneself up…

    On the brighter side, Jenny, you could be author Seanan McGuire’s mother, and have a daughter who did things like this:

  75. I just remembered a stupid thing. My sister and I may not have drunk bleach or burned the house down, but we did discover that the tempered glass shelf in the fridge would NOT hold the weight of an 8 year old when you try to stuff her in there to see if the fridge light does indeed turn off when you close the door. We got in a LOT of trouble for that one.

  76. I accidentally lit myself on fire last week. It was scary for a couple seconds & then awesome because I didn’t actually get burnt, my contacts did not melt to my eyeballs, & I no longer need to wax my eyebrows! I’m not sure I can help you….

  77. Common sense requires a mature brain and children just aren’t there yet. I’m afraid adults do sometimes have to be the common sense voice for kids. We can’t police everything they do but if were lucky maybe we can stop the most dangerous stupid things they might try.

  78. When I was in Junior high girls would spray their arm with hairspray and light it on fire. I was always the kid standing around saying, “I’m surrounded by fucktards”. Seriously though, what dumbass said, “You know what would be fun? Setting ourselves on fire and then convincing other dumbasses that it’s fun and safe so they’ll do it too!”. People scare me.

  79. The eraser challenge is still a thing. My 7th grader did it last year. As she’s recovering from self harm, you can imagine my worry and fears. Parenting sucks, and I wish someone would write a manual with all the answers.

  80. Wow, I had a tame existence growing up…. I never heard of any of these things and now I am worried I have to teach my kids to not set fire to themselves. What next? Good grief.

  81. Realistically giving advice though…one of the smartest things I ever did was make a pact with my daughter and a close friend of mine (that she had known her whole life and who would take a bullet for her in an instant). I talked with the friend first to make sure she understood my sincerity, then the two of us sat down and talked with my daughter…and I told her that if there was ever ANY situation that she found herself in where she was confused and scared, but that she did not want to come to me with (and I hoped that never happened, but you know kids)…then she could call this person…this adult who was responsible and who loved her but was not a parent. And I told my friend that she could do whatever needed done (extracting her from a party with drinking or drugs, getting her BCPs, etc) without tattling as long as she was safe. (Friend was an OB/Gyn). I thought that this was much more reasonable than the MADD pact…because really, you still know that deep down if you’re 15 and call your parents because the kids you’re with are drunk, they are never gonna let you see them again…so maybe you’ll just take this one chance of going just a couple of miles with them…
    I know we both felt better with this safety check in place. And yes, she did once or twice go to this adult with something she wasn’t ready to tell me about. And when, a few weeks/months later, she DID tell me about it and realized her trust had not been compromised, she was very reassured.

  82. I would sit her down and explain that any kind of a “dare” is a set up. That she’s suppose to fail or be embarrassed or both so she shouldn’t accepting them. I’m sure you can come up with an awesome witty comeback for her to decline with!

  83. At the school I work at, we have a rule that says “we show safety” so I would just ask them if they were showing safety by setting themselves on fire and they would say “no”. If you have a similar rule that might work. But then again, friends of mine when I was young totally sprayed their hands with axe and then lit themselves on fire because it “didn’t hurt” so really my generation isn’t any better than yours. (I’m gen Y if anyone wants to know; most people call us millennialist but I loathe that word.)

  84. I’m pretty sure this is why they taught us stop-drop-and-roll so much as children. Preventing without putting the idea in our heads. nod

  85. My friend told me when The Boy began dating that every time her son left the house to go on a date she would tell him “I love you. Don’t have sex, but if you just have to…use a condom.” I’m going to text The Boy tonight, even though he is now in the Air Force and remind him NOT to set himself on fire. Better safe than sorry, I always say!

  86. I see the “fire challenge” as a way of thinning the herd. If someone thinks it’s an awesome idea to set themselves on fire, I think it might be for the best to let them. (Then again, I did the “push on the pulse points until you lose consciousness” thing, so I might have sustained brain damage.) But I’m certain that your daughter is much too smart and independent to fall for any of that. She’ll come up with a new trend of coming up with cynical put-downs to shame ignorant people or something.

  87. I must have had a VERY sheltered childhood. The worst I did was rub Elmer’s glue on my hands, let it dry, and then peel it off while pretending it was my skin. Maybe I’m the one that’s not normal?

  88. I even mentioned this to my very level-headed 18 year old.

    “Hey, have you seen on the news about kids setting themselves on fire? This ‘Fire Challenge’ nonsense?”


    “That’s pretty idiotic. Don’t do it, mm-kay?”

  89. I was never tempted to do stupid/scary things as a kid… unless you count learning to shoot a shotgun at age 8 or racing motorcycles at age 12.

  90. As an employee of the Burn Operating Room in Augusta, GA, seeing people with 90% of their bodies burned and replacing their skin, I highly recommend NOT setting yourself on fire on purpose..or on accident. There are lots of other things I can also recommend not doing.. we see it all.

  91. We only threw knives at each other’s feet.
    What’s wrong with these people?

  92. I’ve heard of most of these things being done by my peers (except chubby bunny) but here’s a bonus to being the non-popular freak in school–no one asks you to partake! I wasn’t that hard up for friends that I would have if they did. Who wants to be friends with dumbasses like that?!

  93. I’ve never understood any of this. Even as a kid, I never had the urge to rub erasers on myself or set myself on fire. Last weekend I made a fool out of myself screaming for my life on one of those big spinny swing things at the state fair. I just live life far, far from the edge.

  94. I do talk to my kids about these things. I like to think that they wouldn’t even consider it….but I bet those other parents thought that too.

  95. Christ on a crutch! I haven’t heard about this. So far my children seem relatively unburnt, but who the fuck knows what goes through their little heads. I’ll tell them, just in case, because I too played the pass-out game. shakes head Idiots.

  96. So we can add what to tell kids not to do is 1)crush smarties and then snort them! (why couldn’t we just snort lic m aid),2) don’t throw knives at each others feet 3) don’t heat up a lighter and then press it on your arm to make a smiley face. 4)don’t fill your mouth with butane and then light it 5) don’t put a cat in a garbage can and roll it down a hill 6) don’t sled ride into a major highway down a really big hill….. Seriously Jenny if we have to list everything we did we wouldn’t have cool scars…but maybe you should tell her not to set herself on fire. I’m going to text my brother not to do it and he’s 45!

  97. I’ve never had children. I can’t even imagine having to worry about this kind of stuff.
    My brother lit his farts on fire, and drove too fast when he got his license, and back then this was considered living on the edge.

  98. I’m just going to have my (almost) 12 yr old daughter read your post. Thanks for doing my job for me Jenny 🙂

  99. Just get them hooked on video games as early as you can , and you won’t have to worry about them doing anything else. Its the last week of summer, and I can not drag them away from the computer. I’d almost rather that they be out setting themselves on fire….joking of course but REALLY!

  100. When I was 13 my friends were setting their pants on fire, then slapping it out. They thought it was great fun. I refused to join in. They continued to play with fire. Long story short, they accidentally set me on fire. I had 2nd and 3rd degree burns on 15% of my body. So I was 1/2 dead. I spent a month in the hospital. I am scared from my head to my knees. Every new person who meets me, says, “What happened to you?” So, I tell me story over and over again. Tell your kids. Tell everyone. DON’T SET YOURSELF ON FIRE!

  101. I apparently lived a very sheltered life as a child, because I never heard of any of these (not that I would have participated – too much of a chickenshit).


    Man, I wish you would have told me that a week ago before I taught the game to my seven year old son and CHALLENGED him to put a couple more in his overflowing mouth.

    Feel free to send that ‘mom of the year’ award this way.

  103. Teaching your kids about safety WITH dangerous things worked really well for me as a kid. I was raised by a pack of hippies, so I had random aunties & uncles teaching me about fire safety (how to make a controlled fire, using a fire extinguisher, etc). There were similar lessons for electricity, power tools, different kinds of fires, water safety, you name it. I got to play with the things all kids crave playing with (explosives, fire, electricity) in a controlled and supervised manner. The few times I experimented with things by myself it was always less fun than with my family. The exception to this was lighting farts as a teenager. That was kinda fun!

  104. When I was in college, the cool thing was to take a trash bag, twist it up really tight and tie knots in it, and then hang it over a wastebasket of water and light the end on fire and get stoned while watching the melting plastic drip in all kinds of cool shapes and colors. Which was fun until two guys down the hall set their room on fire doing it. Oops. 🙂

  105. We used to do this with lighter fluid when I was a kid. We didn’t have the tech to record our stupidity. Also did the hyperventilating but did not know about the marshmallows. That was in the late fifties and we were very kewel.

  106. My son has always been the level-headed one, and would always roll his eyes upon hearing something like this. I never needed to mention things like this….until this year…when he turned 17….and suddenly its like he’s been abducted by aliens and replaced with a replicant…a very, very interested in risk-taking replicant with a lack of common sense. I’m hoping he hasn’t heard of this, because if I mention it, the more I point out the down sides the more he’ll want to do it. Can this year be over soon?

  107. I always told my child not to do the obviously stupid thing – simply because he was a kid. And kids can be incredibly stupid. In fact, I still tell my son not to do the obviously stupid thing that “everyone” is doing because he’s a teen. And teens are also incredibly stupid.

  108. I come from a long line of people who will explain how to build a clock when we’re asked the time.

    So, yeah, I’m in the, “I know you’re too smart for me to tell you not to do this, but it’s keeping me up at night worrying, so I have to say don’t do this even though I know you’re too smart to do it.” Which is how I handled all that stuff. (You should hear my no drugs talk.)

  109. Also, I’m getting way too big a kick out of being comment 1-2-3. And now I have the Jackson 5 singing in my head. A-B-C, do-re-mi, 1-2-3 baby, you and me, girl!

    I am a big believer in sharing my earworms.

  110. we used to play the game “pass out” which kind of explains itself. very quick way to alcohol poisoning

  111. Oh, and then there was the time I was helping a boyfriend at his summer job of helping his dad clean out his industrial chemistry lab. (This was also in college. What can I say? We had just survived the ’60s, so we thought we were invincible.) We took magnesium balls and threw them in the river to watch them burn. Fortunately, none of them ended up sticking to the moisture on our hands and setting ourselves on fire.

    Apparently that lack of understanding of personal mortality is an eternal problem for kids and teenagers…

  112. STOP the press! Grace Lawson has a friend who sets her nipples on fire? I need to know more.

  113. My youngest cousin died playing the choking game at school when he was only 12. They had those cloth hand towel loops in the school bathroom and he strangled himself accidentally. 🙁

    Who thinks of these asinine games?

  114. 2 kids drowned in our neighbourhood in the creek. We were all allowed to play there unsupervised. Keep in mind, this was before you could sell your kids on eBay so it was ok.

  115. I hadn’t even heard of the fire challenge. Great. I’ll add that to the list. We just had the “Don’t Put a Spoonful of Cinnamon in Your Mouth Because That’s Fucking Stupid, Not to Mention Dangerous” talk.

  116. My god, I had a boring childhood…
    The most dangerous thing I did as a kid was annually building a race course with my neighbor in the woods separating my house with his and then racing Big Wheels .
    Granted, I lived on a “small” mountain, and he lived halfway down it….
    Did I also mention the log or stone jumps? We had those…
    Plus we winded our way, mostly successfully, between trees on the way down.

    …I want a Big Wheel now. 🙁

  117. It is worrying how children have the urge to self destruct. But perhaps it isn’t the horrors of living with a young mind. Perhaps children are just curious about their bodies and the world they live in, and are simply experimenting.
    When I was a kid my brothers and I regularly discussed how we would prefer to die. Leg chopped off or smothered? Eaten by a tiger or shot? We always took care to stop when a grownup came by, for we knew our ways were not their ways.

  118. When my son was in 8th grade, he and a friend at school took turns saturating their jeans with Axe body spray and then lighting them on fire. While they were WEARING them – bending their heads over the flames to watch. Of course, they were caught – and of course, they were suspended.

    I comfort myself with the fact that the son of one of my friends (even younger) went into the girl’s restroom with a couple of gals and they all decided to pierce their nipples with needles. So, perhaps there is a child out there with even less sense than my son.

    My kid is 20 now – and still alive – so I guess something is going right!

  119. I shake my head in disappointment every time I remember I use to play the choking-till-you-pass-out game and the eraser game. I’m not sure how I even allowed my self to think those were ever good ideas.

  120. Wow. That’s actually a legit parenting issue. Makes me suddenly happy that I’m not responsible for a small human.

  121. You might as well start practicing with an easy one, cause before she’s grown you are going to utter a whole lot of sentences you can’t even imagine. For the record, the sentence sounds like this (as do most of them) “the news says I’m supposed to tell you to not set yourself on fire, but I don’t think I need to…” Which leads to her asking the questions (and later denying crap too quickly). You’re welcome.

  122. I never thought I would ever say something like this, but, “What is going on with kids these days?!” This coming from someone who used to set lots of things on fire, but NEVER my own body. And it was more like trying to set inflammable things on fire, you know, as a challenge, so it never worked very well. Then my aunt caught us playing with matches and yelled at us, so we decided to go jump off roofs instead.

  123. Sounds like Darwinian natural selection.
    I’m sure you’ve brought Hailey up well enough to know where to draw the line when it comes to danger, doing dumb things, and the like.

    No parent is perfect, and children (even as they grow into teenagers and adults) will do things that disappoint or scare their parents, whether it’s sky diving, marrying someone they don’t approve of, or just buying a crappy car.
    The best you can hope for is that you’ve taught enough by example and actually communicating with your child that they know right from wrong, a bit dangerous, from deadly, and where to draw the line.

    That said, as a kid I used to go hunting deadly funnel web spiders at night with a friend.
    No one got hurt, no one died, and my parents still know nothing of this.
    So I guess you also have to hope that if Hailey is doing stupid dangerous stuff you don’t know about, that she’s very careful and keeps schtum until she’s old enough, and you’re senile enough not for it to detrimentally impact your relationship!

  124. I admit that I’m only about halfway through the comments, but I am surprised to see that no one has mentioned lighting darts on fire yet. Is that still a thing? Or is it considered innocuous these days?

  125. Classic auto correct (ROTFL!!!) They even did a thing about it in Despicable Me- “dart gun, I said DART gun!” So what I was trying to say is lighting Farts on fire…

  126. yes kw, but beware the infamous and deadly suck fart, where you light your insides on fire!

  127. Ahh the choking game, thank goodness the internet was not around when we were kids. I just try to go with the parenting mantra of ” stupid is as stupid does, so don’t be stupid love you!”

  128. I do remember licking the cinnamon gum wrappers and sticking them on my forehead in 7th grade to make a “burn” mark. And one time my youger brother and I lit matches in the house just to blow them out (we were such rebels lol). But seriously I would never have set my self on fire no matter what my friends said to try and convince me.

  129. I teach & kids really do some crazy stuff. Last year, they decided to crush up smarties & snort them. The school nurse had to do a power point explaining that you could get maggots in your nose if you snort smarties. One year, the boys had created a “booger wall” in the restroom & would push each other into it. Love teaching such creative young people!!

  130. When I was a child, my mother pulled a pan out of the oven and said, “Don’t touch, it’s hot!” So what did I do? I instinctively reached over and grabbed the edge.

    While I’d like to think that I grew up to be marginally less of an idiot than I was then, I am painfully aware of the fact sometimes I just don’t learn, because every time I’m out to dinner and a waiter places a dish in front of me with the caveat, “Careful, the plate’s really hot,” my first instinct is still to reach out and touch it.

    Granted, I have never felt the urge to actively set myself on fire, but I guess kids these days are upping the ante on everything.

  131. Or reverse psychology for teens ? ” honey you really need to set yourself on fire after you unload the dishwasher”

  132. Oh My GOSH!! I must have been the MOST NAIVE child on the face of the earth. I did none of these things. I was so clueless that my mom completely had me convinced that our tv only got PBS and, by some miracle, CBS on Fridays so she could watch Magnum, P.I.

  133. Yours is smarter than mine. I swear he only hears the last few words of anything I say. so he’d definitely hear “set yourself on fire” and do that. Just like if I say “Don’t jump on those loose rocks, you’ll fall down the cliff” he just flings himself down the cliff.

  134. The chubby bunny thing, when i was in middle school it was done at an assembly or something. As in officially, at the direction of teachers.

  135. Recently I was telling my boyfriend about learning to ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll’ as a child. As he’s British, and I’m American, this important bit of information was never drilled into their little British heads. He then proceeded to make fun of ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll’ because, as he put it, ‘Kids are always randomly catching on fire. You Americans have to make a drama out of everything.’ Well, I’m going to show him this blog, because evidently kids not only catch fire, but they also set themselves on fire. I say bring back ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll’.

  136. Sounds like another manufactured scare to me. I really don’t think I’d spare another brain cell on the matter.

  137. My husband has tried to set ME on fire numerous times with his cigarettes. And that’s why smoking is bad for you.

  138. I only found out about the Chubby Bunny phenomenon a few months ago. Late to the party, I know… When I heard kids had died from it, I had the same response: DEATH BY MARSHMALLOW??? REALLY????

    The lighting-self-on-fire thing is even more a head-scratcher to me because it seems so …obvious. i.e. Maybe you could not do too much damage erasing your skin, or getting choked, or stuffing marshmallows in your mouth – but with fire…there is little doubt, right, that you will be hurt.

    There are only so many things we should have to warn kids against, and at some point you just need to allow Darwinism to run its course.

  139. My daughter (she’s 9) and my nephew (he’s 10) tried the “salt challenge” the other day. My nephew was telling me about it. You put salt on your hand and then you see how long you can hold an ice cube over the salt before you have to drop it because it’s burning. I explained to them how stupid that was and that we don’t try to hurt ourselves on purpose. Of course, they tried it in my kitchen the minute I turned my back. Morons.

    The cinnamon challenge is even worse and people have died from that one. You try to “eat” as much powdered cinnamon as you can. ???

    And I remember the fainting thing too! I guess every generation has some stupid thing they do!

  140. When I was in high school we had a game of dipping our finger in rubbing alcohol and then setting it on fire (with a candle) we all sat is a circle and passed the fire with our finger -putting it out when it wasn’t our turn. Loser was the one who put the fire out before it was passed. I suppose that isn’t the current fire game though.

  141. Show her the movie “Girl, Interrupted” and she’ll see the aftermath of setting oneself on fire. Mental wards, nasty scars… She’ll never go near a bonfire again.

  142. I’m a fire spinner. Someone asked me if I’ve taken the “fire challenge” and my response was essentially “No, because I’m not an idiot.”

  143. So I don’t want to ruin your newfound calm but you forgot to mention marshmallows. “Don’t set yourself on fire and don’t overstuff your mouth with marshmallows.” Maybe tonight, eh? 🙂 Did I mention my cousin was once almost killed by a swarm of hornets from a nest also? You might want to mention, “And stay away from hornets’ nests . . . ” Oy vey. Here we go.

  144. My daughter was a pretty smart cookie, telling her fire was hot was enough to keep her from playing with the stove and matches. Now as a lovely 20-year-old she is a fire dancer and I have to tell her “don’t set yourself on fire.”

  145. And to think I used to laugh at my mother when she said, “If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?” in her “don’t follow the cool kids” rants. Now I have to change that to “don’t set yourself on fire even if everyone else is doing it” for my kids???

    So, here’s the list so far – 1. Don’t jump off bridges. 2. Don’t overstuff your mouth with marshmallows. 3. Don’t hyperventilate and then have someone choke you until you pass out. 4. Don’t talk to strangers (with or without the Rick Springfield song). 5. Don’t sniff glue, or turpentine, or anything other than roses and the flu mist vaccine. 6. Don’t stick beans up your nose. 7. Don’t snort any kind of candy, crushed or not. 8. Don’t set yourself on fire. And – the most common phrase heard in our house — 9. Don’t torment your sister.

  146. The problem is that the brain does not hear or register negatives….which is why when we tell ourselves or the husbeast “don’t forget to pick up the baby from day care,” well, that is why there is always that teenager in daycare.

  147. I read this, then looked at my 13 year old daughter and told her not to set herself on fire. After examining my request, I got the inevitable “I’m not that stupid, mom”. That’s what I get for caring, I guess. 🙂

  148. My BIL- as an ADULT- decided one dark night that he needed to free up a sticky high bean switch, the old kind that sat on the car floor up to the left of the clutch pedal. He found a can of WD-40- quite flammable- to spray on it. But it was too dark to see the switch, so he flicked his BIC and held it near the switch and sprayed at it…. you can guess the rest.

  149. We played bloody knuckles with a comb balanced on your fist. The other person would grab it and smack the hell out of your knuckles with it. If you managed to move your hand out of the way in time you got to smack the other person. The shit we did as kids.

  150. I can honestly say, in this particular department, I lead by example. ‘Don’t EVER do that!’ Sounds completely reasonable after they’ve watched me inadvertantly light my sleeve or something.

  151. Is forced hermitage really such a bad idea? I mean, really? Is it?

    For every good thing I seek, there seem to be 50 horrible, awful, very bad things that I want to run from screaming with all my precious cargo in tow. :<

    I guess, I'll just casually mention to Thing 1 & Thing 2 later today that should the opportunity ever arise, just say no to becoming a human torch. Ugh!

    StOOpid challenges.

  152. Sweet lord, we never did anything like that when I was a kid! Self-immolation? Choking yourself? Peeling skin?? We just sniffed markers like normal, damn kids! Or maybe my town was really boring?

  153. alright I speak as a teenager who is aware of all the complete stupidity surrounding her and the idiocy of her peers. And yes telling kids about this when they haven’t even considered something like this is RIDICULOUS. For many kids it can mean the beginning of the end of our childhood and innocence. (and that SUCKS) You have to know how your child will deal with this kind of information; are they going to panic or want to try it to experience it or will it sit in their subconscious till they’re old enough to full understand it. there are so many ways a person ,young or old, might deal with this information it’s really a coin toss. But you have got to teach your children COMMOM SENSE. and it’s not just telling your kids, children are copycats and you have to practice what you preach. Show them a good safe happy person and they WILL pick up on that. kids aren’t inherently stupid we show them how to be.

  154. Cats and their 9 fucking lives have nothing on teenagers. Perhaps we should also add “Don’t climb a billboard with a 12 pack of beer and pass out on the catwalk” to the list.

    Not that I know anyone that has done that. Probably.

  155. I have never heard of this thing. You bring so much joy and confusion and fear into my life.

    “Hey, sweet girl,” I whisper to Hailey as she drifts off to sleep. “Sweet dreams. Sleep tight. Don’t set yourself on fire.”

    That’s just good parenting. To play it safe, I think you should always tuck her in with a warning. Don’t try to eat live scorpions. Don’t dip yourself in a vat of industrial waste. Every day is a mystery and an adventure. You don’t know what she’ll encounter. She needs to be prepared.

  156. I don’t know. I kinda wonder if someone sets themselves on fire for a challenge, should we just allow Darwin to be right at this point? I mean, if they’re stupid enough to do it, do we want them in the gene pool?

    Tough choice.

  157. So this has nothing to do with setting yourself on fire (I think – unless some of the chickens are vaguely suicidal, in which case pass the barbecue sauce?) but when I saw this I immediately thought of you. Chickens – charities – all-around weirdness, it just screams Bloggess!

    Anyway, at this website: you can adopt your own wild chicken that is currently running around the Cayman Islands! Then when you go on vacation you can spend your whole vacation trying to figure out which one is your chicken so you can smuggle it onto the plane to take it home (or have a barbecue, whatever floats your boat).

    For each chicken adopted, they donate money to the Cayman Islands National Trust to preserve historical and wildlife sites around the Cayman Islands so our kids and grand-kids can enjoy them and hopefully not set themselves on fire.

  158. I hope you’re happy…I CANNOT get the picture of a cherubic 9 year old with a face full of marshmallows out of my mind. Ew. We never did dangerous stuff like that when we were kids…we just rode in cars with metal dashboards and no seat belts, and once we had a Worchestershire drinking contest. You can imagine how that turned out.

  159. I’d just say it at random points during the day. She walks through the room to go to the bathroom and you just shout “DON’T SET YOURSELF ON FIRE!”

    Leave notes around the house:
    1. Clean your room.
    2. Do your homework.
    3. Don’t set yourself on fire.
    4. Clean the litter boxes.

  160. We had a Thanksgiving dinner during college and proceeded to get ridiculously drunk because the turkey wasn’t defrosted and took too long to cook. (pssstt we were in college) In a drunken attempt to light the candles at our “fancy” dinner table, one of the guys overreached, brushing the flame. It ran up his arm, burning all the sweater nubbins off his Cosby sweater then went out. That was awesome.
    Setting yourself on fire intentionally, not so much.

  161. This is a crazy sad world we live in. I wish that more people would stop and think before they did things. I mean a lil common sense goes a long way and could even keep you alive!

    Thankfully we have peeps like you who are raising their kids right!

  162. I think my kids are too young to set themselves on fire yet. I mean they don’t have any social media. I wonder what the normal age is for the infamous, “Don’t set yourself on fire” talk.

  163. When I asked my husband to keep the baby away from the fire pit he replied, “It’s just a small fire. It’s not hot.” I’m afraid my children will have the lack-of common-sense gene.

  164. ….I never realised cinnamon was so dangerous!
    At primary school, we were warned about a knock-yourself-unconscious game, but they made sure not to give us any hints about how to actually do it. We’d heard of glue-sniffing too, but I don’t know anyone who did it. (A friend of mine once did some work at a secondary school which had empty glue-tubes littering the playground.)
    I guess it’s worth “having the (don’t set yourself on fire) talk”- a kid who knows in advance that stupid dangerous dares are stupid and dangerous is less likely to get swept up in the heat of the moment.

  165. I never did the eraser game but did see others do it. We did do the choking game though and yes, looking back I think wow – that was dumb. I have to think that both of my kids wouldn’t set theirselves on fire….I hope.

  166. I swear, this world is something else.

    Next it’ll be, “Hey…don’t drive into that brick wall” or “Please don’t hammer your head today.”

    I am too old to get it and I’m too old to try.

  167. When I was 12 my parents told me that if I wanted to try pot I should tell them, they would get some that would be safe and I could try it. I’m now 51 and I have never tried pot. Two things: 1. my parents offered it to me, how interesting could it be and 2. my mother told me that when she smoked pot she had the sensation that her arms and legs left her body and I wanted no part of that.
    But seriously, one hopes that one does not have to tell their 9 year old not to set themselves on fire.

  168. I had no idea what the eraser game was when it was done to me. It was explained as a de-facto test of manhood and I let my hand get erased until I was told that others did it until they started bleeding. I think it was a couple of weeks (?) of blistering before it healed and I still have the scar on my hand ~25 years later.

    Maybe the moral should be ‘don’t do stupid shit until you stop and think what is likely to occur and what might occur’

  169. I tell my kid things all the time that should be obvious JUST IN CASE. LIke when he’s shooting baddies in a video game and I tell him not to be a serial killer. Betcha most serial killers’ moms never told them not to do that.

  170. I am going to have a discussion with my boys about not shoving firecrackers up their asses and lighting them. I totally live in fear of them doing this.

  171. PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE! I never have done any of these crazy stupid things! And can’t ever remember my mom telling me NOT to do those things. Glad I am not a parent. Don’t know how you get through it!

  172. I never participated in the eraser game, but I definitely saw the scars…was trying to remember if I was ever choked in the bathroom until I passed out…then realized that I couldn’t remember the H.S. bathrooms at all…now I fear that I never peed during H.S….explains a lot…thank you…
    P.S. I heard that setting yourself on fire causes cooties two weeks later.

  173. One of the kids who ended up in the hospital’s mom was his assistant pyromaniac. Pretty sure that means your leaps ahead of the competition.

  174. I remember being at some summer camp-like event and being instructed to play Chubby Bunny, and all I could think was, “shit! They’re trying to kill us!”

  175. Wow. So much I missed by growing up in the 60s and 70s. We had to make do with doing drugs (which I was never cool enough to be invited to do) and having our parents freak out at us over one hoax (satanic peace signs) after another (glass clackers will set your house on fire) after another (LSD is being sold on lickable tattooes! RILLY!!!) after another. Apparently there was a lot of sex going on back then, too, and the only STDs were curable with penicillin.

    Jenny, at least you have this going for you: the video of teens doing this makes it clear that once the fire appears, all semblance of a plan (“i’ll just step under the shower stream”) vanishes, and the lizard brain takes over. And the lizard is in full fight-or-flight. And the teens on fire look like complete idiots.

    Sum it up like this, people: “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, LOIS. THIS IS CAMP. GET TOUGH OR DIE.”

  176. I firmly believe fucked up, disturbed kids do fucked up, disturbed shit. This is not a lesson one really needs to teach the kids. Sort of like you don’t have to teach a kid not to eat their own shit. I mean, there’s really not a point where you have to be like, “Timmy, how many goddamn times have I told you not to leave the silverware in the bathroom when you eat your own shit?”

    The world is crazy, man. Crazy.

  177. It’s okay. My mom used to say to my brother every time he left the house, “Love you, Don’t do meth”

  178. How else should we cull the herd? Let your daughter figure this stuff out on her own and if she makes it to 18 you’ll feel good about your parenting choices. I confess, I have a scar on my thigh where I dropped a hot marshmallow I was roasting with burning newspaper that had floated up into my face. Lesson learned? You bet. Thanks, Mom!

  179. I don’t have kids, but I have a herd of twenty something boys working at my company who I am now apparently work mom to. I am constantly reminding them to do their paperwork, do their chores and pull their pants up. And now, just to be safe, I am going to remind them not to set themselves on fire.

  180. Oh, the good ol days of making yourself pass out just to get out of running the mile in gym class. How about letting the flame of a lighter get the metal good and hot, then burning yourself with it because it left a smiley face burn/scar. One would hope our offspring would have more common sense than we did, but, alas. Since they don’t listen to a single word we say anyway, go ahead and tell them not to set themselves on fire. But if they insist to be the type to never back down from a challenge, thank god there’s the ice bucket challenge to douse the licking flames of stupidity.

  181. I think it is such a balance between enlightening your kids to what the world is and exposing them to harmful ideas they wouldn’t otherwise know. Very insightful thoughts!

  182. I have a 14 year old teen son. He is in the gifted program but being a 14 year old boy means that he is generally fairly stupid at times. I told him not to set himself on fire. Let’s hope I didn’t put ideas in his head!

  183. This setting yourself on fire thing is NOT new, I have a good friend whose brother set himself on fire for funsies and to prove he was tough and/or cool and died of his burns. He was 13 and the son of the local minister and had only just moved into town, so there must have been a lot of pressure to prove he wasn’t a goody-two-shoes to the “in” crowd. That was over 20 years ago.

  184. So many comments, I didn’t make it through them all, so I fail, and I someone else may have already mentioned this. But in line with someone WAY UP THERE (^^^^ points up ^^^^) who said they used to does their hand with alcohol and light it, Richard Feynman talks about doing this with I think lighter fluid as a kid and lighting it, sort of as a cool magic trick? in his book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” He said that the fluid burns off fast enough that it doesn’t hurt you at all.

    However he goes on to say he was trying to explain this to a fellow scientist when he was an adult, who didn’t believe him, so he did it to prove it. And afterwords he said, “you know, this works much better before you’ve grown hair on your hand……”

    This proves a couple of things, one is that you can do stupid things as a kid and turn out just fine, and the other is that physicists aren’t nerdy humorless men in white lab coats, they are actually men (and occasionally women) in white lab coats with the most batshit insane sense of wackiness you are likely to ever encounter. If you’ve never read Surely You’re Joking, you really need to one of these days. Lighting their hands on fire is probably the least of their problems.

  185. Also, I think my sister-in-law summed all the good advice up in the words she says she always gave her kids on their way out the door:

    “Stay safe. Make wise choices. Keep track of your shit.”

  186. I have always had a healthy aversion to pain so anything that ever happened to me was an accident and that hurt enough. I just don’t get it. smh

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