Child predators do not want you to know this information. They have a specific way of targeting not only your children, but you as parents as well. They operate in a specific pattern and rarely deviate from it. By learning how they work, you can recognize them and stop them from harming your children.
Remember, molesters are predators. They stalk and hunt our children. We want you to know what they do and how they do it so that you can arm yourself with knowledge.
Child molesters do something called grooming. Grooming is how a predator develops a friendship with the child, creating a bond, preparing them for sexual assault. Predators start by choosing the parents. They will push the boundaries of acceptable behavior to test parents and see if they can take advantage of them. They literally seduce the parents into allowing them access to their children. By charming parents and gaining their trust, the predator gains access to the family and is not suspected of inappropriate behavior.
Molesters are liars. They lie because they can and because their victims want to believe them. They create a false image within a community. By ‘charming’ the adults to believe they are a good and decent person, they have created protection for themselves if they are ever accused. This is called image management. It is planned out very carefully, and it is all a lie to get you to trust them.
Don’t give these predators power over you by accepting their lies. They rely on the embarrassment of talking about child molestation. They know that most people won’t bring the subject up. They use this to their advantage. Don’t let them.
A child molester can be anyone- man or woman, young or old, married or single. Just because a man has sex with his wife, doesn’t mean he won’t try to have sex with a child. Because these predators vary in appearance, you must look closely at their behavior in order to recognize them for what they are.
After a molester is exposed, it is common for adults to say things like, “He was the last guy I would suspect to do something like this.” Molesters become friends to adults, helping them out, being friendly and nice, and just doing things that friends would do. They don’t do this out of kindness; they do this to get to your children.
Most molestation’s are ‘explained away’ with excuses. Knowing these excuses can help you recognize how these predators operate.
“She was trying to put on her bathing suit and needed help.”
“He complained of being sore. I was just checking him to make sure he was ok.”
“He felt like he had a temperature. I was just checking him. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
Deferring the Blame-
“Her parents never did like me. They are just saying these horrible things about me to keep me away from my children.”
“I was giving him a bath. I wasn't doing anything wrong.”
“She was just curious and asked me some questions. I was explaining the birds and the bees.”
"He asked me a question and didn't understand what I said, so I was just showing him."
How can you protect your children?
Talk to your kids - Parents are one of the single most effective tools in the fight against child sexual abuse. This may be an uncomfortable subject, but remember, you aren’t talking about sex, you’re talking about personal safety. You can use other safety issues as a ‘lead in’ to this topic.
Read to your kids – Sit down and read about safety. You don’t even need a book. Set time aside to sit down and have a discussion.
Listen to your kids – Dictating, preaching, demanding, are all negative ways to talk to your kids. Even very young children need to be able to tell you their feelings, thoughts and fears. Make sure that you take the time to listen to your children.
Teach your kids – Teach them to trust their own feelings and instincts. Tell them it’s ok to say “no” and to be rude to people in order to protect themselves. Teach them about “good touch, bad touch”. Bad touch is where their bathing suit covers them. Make sure your children know to tell you if something does happen, or even if someone just makes them feel uncomfortable. Keeping secrets is not only wrong, but dangerous. If you don’t teach these things to your children, then you are leaving them open for the predators to teach them whatever they want.
Watch your kids – Keep a watchful eye on your children. Kids get distracted and often don’t think about dangers until it’s too late. Know where your kids are, what they are doing, and who they are doing it with at all times.