Nobody ever thinks it can happen to them. Nobody thinks they know a child predator. Until it is too late.
Child predators are not some strangers in a dark alley. They are people we all know. They are our friends, our relatives, our teachers, our youth leaders and our kid’s coaches. The best way to keep your kids safe is to learn their tactics. Ignorance and naivete is dangerous in this situation.
THEY GAIN TRUST
The most important step in grooming a child is to gain the trust of those around them. Predators are skilled at taking on the attributes of a “good guy” and that is unfair to the REAL good guys among us. Before they even meet their victim – Predators often place themselves in a position of trust. They seek out roles that place them around children. They ingratiate themselves into your life and into your routine. Predators are often patient and they will take months or years building up the trust with those around them.
THEY GIVE GIFTS AND FAVORS
Once the predator has established a role in your life and has gained your trust – they take things one step further. They might offer to do you favors or bring gifts and treats for your children. They appear extremely helpful and friendly. They may be playful and silly with your children, but they are careful to not be overly attentive to your children in your presence.
THEY ISOLATE CHILD
By now the predator has gained your complete trust and approval. Your child knows you trust them – so they trust them too. It is at this point the predator’s goal is to isolate your child. They might offer to babysit, give your child a ride, tutor them or give them extra coaching. The predator continues to work on the child’s trust and tries to develop a “special” bond with the them.
THEY DESENSITIZE THE CHILD TO TOUCH
You may get comfortable leaving your child alone with this “good guy.” Your child is always eager to go with them and they seem happy upon returning. It may be at this point that the predator starts to touch your child. At first it may be a tickle fight – where the predator “accidentally” touches the child’s private parts. The sexual contact will progress from there.
THEY SECURE SECRECY
Young children may not understand what the predator is doing. They may not know they are being abused. The predator might convince them that they are playing a secret game or have a secret bond. Older kids may think they are “special” or have a relationship with the predator that no one else would understand. Some kids are told that no one would believe them or worse – that their family will be hurt if they tell.
YOU PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN:
-Look for these warning signs.
-Understand that no role or position exempts a person from being a predator.
-If something feels wrong in your gut
– trust your instincts. -Keep the communication open between you and your child.
-Talk to your child about their time away from you.
-Talk to your child about sexual abuse and arm them with knowledge.
Knowledge is power. Spread the word. Share with others.
If you’re a parent, please make sure that your children are aware of the dangers online.