Help!! My daughter won't stop catching on fire! by Abi Marie Palmer

Abi Marie Palmer shows us an internet chat forum discussion about a desperate mother whose daughter suffers from spontaneous combustion.

CuddleMama79 posted (3 months ago):

Calling all parents! I'm posting on this forum because I'm at my wit's end. My 12 y/o daughter, Maddie, will NOT stop spontaneously bursting into a swirling pillar of flames. I have asked her to stop several times, grounded her, taken away her TV privileges etc., but she just keeps doing it. It's having a really negative effect on family life and has already caused lots of expensive damage to our property. Life has been tough enough, with my recent divorce and our move to a new city, and now this! Does anyone else have a child who catches on fire? What can I do to get her to stop?

G1asgowGal commented (3 months ago):

CuddleMama79, you're not alone! This is a much more common issue than you might think. The official term for this behaviour is "Adolescent Combustion Syndrome", or ACS. You'll find plenty of ACS mamas on this forum. As for advice, I've heard that hanging lavender around the house can reduce the burning smell. Hope you find the answers you're looking for!

ImogenCrochets commented (3 months ago):

Hi CuddleMama79, mom of three flammable children here! I feel your pain. It can be frustrating to have a child who is constantly on fire. When my triplets first started sending up smoke, I thought I had failed as a parent. I felt like my dream family was slipping through my fingers. But I'd like to reassure you that once you fire-proof your entire home, you'll be surprised by how normal your life can be! I've successfully managed my children's condition by feeding them my special aloe vera wholegrain smoothies (you can find a recipe on my blog). There is light at the end of the tunnel! Don't give up!

GlammyTonya85 commented (3 months ago):

I agree with what ImogenCrochets is saying. This is not the end of the road for your family! Just because your daughter is constantly engulfed in red-hot flames doesn't mean you can't have the family life you've always wanted. I swear by fresh air and exercise for flammable kids. Taking part in team sports can also help to distract your daughter from the pain of being often, or always, on fire. And remember to take time for YOU, CuddleMama79! Living with a loved-one who is living with ACS can be very distressing, so... have a spa day! Drink a margarita! You're doing just great.

DangerDad commented (3 months ago):

CuddleMama79, welcome to the fire tribe! My son Blake first went up in flames when he was only five years old, and it almost tore our family apart. But with a lot of love and care, he's now thriving and has found success as the world's only flammable skateboarding teen roadside performer! Blake and I have actually just been the subject of the Great Parenting channel's documentary "Raising Hell: The Blake and Barry Rhodes Story". You should check it out. It'll help you see that having a burning child is the best thing that's ever happened to you!

DotReed56 commented (3 months ago):

Honestly, you people have lost your minds! The number of inflamed youths I see roaming the street nowadays absolutely disgusts me. Just another example of poor discipline among today's wishy-washy parents. When I was growing up, any girl who DARED to be on fire in public was dunked in the lake until she learned her lesson. You need to take responsibility for your children's flammability before they burn this country to the ground. Shaking my head.

CuddleMama79 commented (2 months ago):

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words of encouragement and advice. (Except for you, DotReed56. What is your problem?) Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse. I have tried the aloe vera smoothie, the team sports and lots of fresh air, but everything I do just seems to make Maddie worse! Yesterday, I innocently suggested that she could take up scrapbooking to help her work through her issues, and she melted into a puddle of lava! It really ruined the mood of games night. I just don't know why she is being like this. I've tried seeking medical help, but there aren't any child flammability specialists in our area. Does anyone know if there are any medical treatment courses available?

GlammyTonya85 commented (2 months ago):

Sorry to hear things haven't improved. Sending you hugs and love! 😊 😊 😊

DotReed56 commented (2 months ago):

Are you still letting this behaviour continue? A good lake dunking is what that girl needs!

CuddleMama79 commented (2 months ago):

Kindly @*#%& off back to the fourteenth century, DotReed56.

ErinLake commented (2 months ago):

I'm sorry you're still struggling, CuddleMama79. To answer your question, there has been some promising medical research on the potential of cryogenic freezing as a treatment for ACS. Of course, it is quite an extreme treatment pathway as it leaves the patient completely immobilized and unconscious. Still, it's something to consider if things get really bad!

CuddleMama79 commented (2 months ago):

Hm, it seems a little extreme for me, but thanks for the advice, ErinLake.

ErinLake commented (2 months ago):

I hope it all works out!

CuddleMama79 commented (1 month ago):

Me again, you guys. I need to vent. I feel as though nobody else understands what I'm going through. Maddie's behaviour has gone from bad to worse! Last night, she caused a massive scene by setting off the sprinklers at the convenience store. And all because some local boy called her "Cinder-smella"! The clerk demanded over eighty dollars for damaged items! I really don't know how much more of this I can take. The neighbours are always in a mood with me, the school has told me not to send Maddie any more, and the fire department has stopped answering my phone calls. Maddie's always on the boil, and when I punish her, sizzling tears erupt from her face like a hot spring. I really don't know what to do. I really don't.

GlammyTonya commented (1 month ago):

Here for you!

G1asgowGal commented (1 month ago):

A hundred kisses! Hang in there!

HannahMay80 commented (1 month ago):

I'm no expert on these things, but perhaps there is a deeper reason why Maddie has been catching on fire. Has anything happened that might have caused her mood, or behaviour, to change recently? She's at a difficult age in her life...

EmberCryoClinic commented (1 month ago):

You should leave the advice to the experts, HannahMay80. Hi CuddleMama79, we are the Ember Cryo Clinic, and we are the experts with the solution you have been waiting for. Your daughter is in dire need of our patented "child-glaciation" treatment. Adolescent combustion can be resolved in one way, and one way only: The complete immobilisation of the affected child through full-body freezing. Our prices normally start at $8,000 (plus annual maintenance fees) but we are currently running a one-time-only promotional offer, with prices starting at just $2,500. You can visit our website for full details.

CuddleMama79 commented (2 weeks ago):

Thank you for getting in touch, EmberCryoClinic. Your treatment service sounds... interesting, but I have some concerns. Is it safe? Will it stop Maddie from growing? Will it affect her brain development? Is it true that she will be unconscious during the treatment? And how long does it take? I'm interested, but I don't want to do anything that will harm Maddie.

EmberCryoClinic commented (2 weeks ago):

You needn't be concerned, CuddleMama79. Maddie will be totally safe and unchanged by the procedure. In fact, she will be much better off, as she will no longer be troubled by flammability. Our techniques are tested and industry-leading. You will not find a better place to freeze your child. But remember, our special offer ends in just a few days. Visit our website now for full details.

CuddleMama79 commented (2 weeks ago):

I don't know...

EmberCryoClinic commented (2 weeks ago):

We're only a phone call away, if you change your mind.

CuddleMama79 commented (1 week ago):

Fellow parents, help!! I urgently need help! I just sent Maddie to her room after she melted a hole in our garden furniture, and now red-hot lava is descending the stairs at an alarming speed! I've barricaded myself with my laptop and phone in my garden shed until it is over. Any advice on cooling down a girl who has literally transformed into a volcano? The fire department are still ignoring my calls.

ImogenCrochets commented (1 week ago):

Oh, mine used to do that all the time! Usually, a nice sprig of basil in their dinner calms them right down.

CuddleMama79 commented (1 week ago):

That is not going to work this time, ImogenCrochets.

G1asgowGal commented (1 week ago):

You are so strong! Keep fighting.

CuddleMama79 commented (1 week ago):

Ugh, is there really no help I can get for a girl who is literally on fire?

EmberCryoClinic commented (1 week ago):

We are here to help, CuddleMama79. Did I mention we offer an emergency pick-up and clinic transportation service? Our specialist team can be at your house to transport your daughter to our clinic in as little as fifteen minutes. Just call our emergency helpline for immediate pickup.

GlammyTonya commented (5 days ago):

Are you okay, CuddleMama79? Did you find a way to stop the lava flow?

CuddleMama79 commented (5 minutes ago):

Hi, fire tribe! I'm reporting back with some good news. Maddie underwent the "child glaciation" treatment this week. At first, she was very resistant to the idea. But I explained to her that it was for her own good and that she will eventually thank me when a cure for her condition is discovered and she is able to regain consciousness in the future. The Ember Cryo Clinic were complete professionals, and I could not be happier with the results. Maddie's incendiary behaviour has completely stopped since she has been frozen. I could not wish for a better-behaved child. Of course, I sometimes miss her cheeky smile and her silly jokes... and her cute obsession with insects, and her habit of hugging me from behind. And the little songs she sings when she thinks nobody is listening. And hearing her voice at all, actually. But I keep reminding myself that this is for the best. She can be a useful member of society one day. We'll no longer be the scourge of the neighbourhood. I can rebuild the decking in the garden. We can be a normal family again.


  1. Hilarious but ultimately very dark humor that parodies difficult decisions some parents face.

  2. Funny story with a darker undertone, I agree with David H. The online comment format is a clever parody also. That's where everyone goes for teen daughter advice these days he he.

  3. Definitely felt the anxiety as this company preyed upon CuddleMama79's desperation. Hope the poor kid turns out okay.

  4. This is wonderfully hilarious. It captures the desperation parents of challenging children feel.

  5. Darkly funny and a little disturbing. Nicely done.

  6. Okay, this was funny. Very funny and I like the way it was presented. Ms. Palmer took a chance telling it this way and was successful, maybe more of us authors should follow suit as she did and as a fellow name Bram Stoker did in his dark epic...

  7. Great format for this story, which is both funny and a darkly-drawn comment on the "support" that's out there for parents with teens with less-than-perfect behaviour.