Please don't light the toads on fire, OK?

I love kids, and since I can’t have any myself I enjoy the time I get to spend with them. When the neighborhood kids come over I try and teach them ecology, environmentalism, and kindness. We have a little pond with 50 fish, toads, and a few frogs. We’re trying to create a self-sustaining Green Frog population… which is very difficult to do as they’re very sensitive to the loads of chemicals people literally cake all over their lawns and surrounding wildlife.

I also try and be a good influence and reinforce how they should listen to their parents and be nice to each other. At any rate, one of the older kids from further down the street is 12 or 13 now and though he still plays with the younger kids, he’s obviously not the same child he once was. I don’t want him to be a bad infleunce on the younger kids and was shocked to hear some of the younger boys giggling how they heard he was lighting toads on fire. I was aghast. I love toads, and they are really good for our pond (keep ing it algae free with tadpoles).

So today when he stopped over I took him aside and said, “Listen, I don’t know if this really happened, and if it did, I don’t even want to know about it. But please, don’t pour lighter fluid on toads and ignite them. We like all the little critters, and we’re trying to save as many as we can. It doens’t help if someone is killing them off. Also, the other kids in the neighborhood look up to you since you’re so much older. Please be a good influence to them. You’ve always been a really good kid, and we enjoy having you over, but please be kind to the animals.”

I then went on as if nothing happened, and he stuck around to check out the fish and frogs that are in holding pools right now.

I’m not a parent - so I’m wondering if what I said was all right… and I’m also wondering if this is just a growing up thing boys do, or if there’s a greater need for concern? Torturing animals is sometimes a prelude to psychotic behavior, but I know when I was little I used a magnifying glass to burn ants on my Mom’s rose bushes. Personally I would have never dreamed of torturing an amphibian or anything larger.

Any advice on this?

You were very nice. I can’t imagine any gentler way to go about it. I consider myself pretty laid back and averse to punishment of children (not that I have any kids) but I would have been pretty pissed off, and that kid would have known it and understood it, and his parents would have known it – and if I saw any more evidence of such behavior again, the police would know about it too.

But if that kid has a grain of sense, which is after all possible, what you did might well have been for the best.

If someone can get expelled and sent to reform school for creating a map of his school, this little fucker can get the same for torturing animals.

Torturing animals can sometimes be an early sign of sociopathic behavior. Of course, it isn’t a perfect correlation…

This thread is useless without pictures!

Seriously though, why not take some and let us see your toad setup!

And chemicals on your lawns? I detect a thread mashup in the making!

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Frogs don’t feel fire. It’s ok.

What is this, animal abuse week?

That’s really freaking sick. Ants with a magnifying lens is where I draw the line. Even a dog can feel empathy - When I’m sick and bedridden, the dog likes to come and keep me company, looking sad too. Maybe it’s just bored, thought.

12-13 year old acting out doing outrageous stuff they know is wrong - classic cry of attention because even negative attention is good attention. If there’s any bullying as well I’d be very concerned. I have a cousin in Canada around 11 years old up in Toronto area. Last April I’m outside the sidewalk by a busy road with cars zooming by. He brings the house dog outside in his hands which I’m pretty sure he’s not allowed to do, as the dog is one of those fluffly, dumbass useless ones.

Kid asks me, “What would you do if I released the dog?”
“Erm. I’d probably try to jump after it.”
Malicious grin. “Why?”
“Because it’s like, stupid, and out of four directions there’s a pretty good chance it goes into the road.”
I walk real slow towards him and get the dog out of his hands.

No real idea who’s treating him and for what. He spent a couple of weeks with me and I was ready to take this kid and slap him after a few days. And I swear, I am not a violent man! All I did was tell him to give me his hand and slap it since he was not responding to any sort of cuddling, reasoning, or babying. You gotta learn limits, and not that you can play one parent against the other. He already got kicked out of one school, bullying and fighting. Somehow his shrink is treating him with … amphetamines? Seems like a weird idea to give a jumpy kid uppers.

Sorry I started rambling. I have no idea what you can do - Who are his parents? Would they be somewhat reasonable people? I suppose all you can do is report what you have seen. You probably will get a denial and angry parent, but perhaps that will be one more sign they need to know. Seems like the best you can do.

It doesn’t seem likely you can convince the kid he’s doing the wrong thing - unless you’re somewhat young, and he forms a bond with you.

His mother would spank him silly, and he’d not so the light of the day for months (seh’s super strict). He really used to be an exemplary child, and he still might be? I just found out he has a 22 year old - older brother who lives in a run-down area of town. He likes to ride his bike down to his brother’s apartment.

Since he’s adpoted I think this brother might be a biological brother. His parents seem to young to have aan adult offpsring. Maybe that’s where this bad influence is coming from?

It’d be a bad idea to beat down toad burner boy if you didn’t have any smoking toads. Those other kids could be trying to get him in trouble, or he could just have gotten caught up in a dick measuring contest.

Smoking toads? HEY, I HAVE A GREAT IDEA…

Tell him licking toads will get him high. No dood, I R serious! They get you HIGH.

Then have him put a toad half in his mouth and lick the back of it. Guaranteed the toad will piss down his throat. EXCELLENCE.