A Child Predator looks just like you and me, which is why child predators hiding in plain sight can be hard to see. How to spot a Child Predator: Red Flags & Warning Signs of a Pedophile. Know the child grooming techniques child predator uses.
Learn how to tell if someone is preying on your trust, taking advantage of your situation & innocent child. How to spot a child molester & signs of predator grooming from other children, family and adults. Warning Signs of Child Abuse including Signs of Sexual Abuse, Signs of Physical Abuse & Child Abuse.
A Child Predator Looks Just Like You and Me
As a parent, one of your strongest instincts is to keep your child safe – from harm, from abuse, from being preyed upon. Predators – do you know what to look for if someone is “grooming” your child?
Predators are hidden in plain sight – they can be an older sibling, family member, relative, colleague or friend. In fact, 90% of the time a predator is someone with a relationship to the victim and the family.
You may be thinking… that won’t happen to my child, that can’t happen to our family. But it can. The best thing you do is to be prepared to spot the red flags BEFORE something happens. Predators have child grooming techniques you can learn to spot.
Statistics are frightening – 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys are molested before the age of 18. This statistic only comes from the number of reported incidents, not the actual number of events. I’d expect this number to be much higher if all cases were in fact, reported.
I can personally think of five friends I know were molested as children – four of which, the abuse was perpetrated by a close family member or sibling – all of which were not reported.
How to tell if someone is a child predator?
Child Molesters are very cunning in their deception – they have to be in order to get away with these despicable acts. Children – innocent, naïve and trusting – are the most susceptible to the deliberate tricks and ploys a pedophile uses to gain their trust, as well as the family’s trust.
Signs of a child pedophile?
They’re notoriously friendly, engaging, nice and likable.
On the outside, they have a great looking life and are well-liked by others. They strategically target their victims, often installing themselves into a child’s life through family, school, church, sports, and activities.
A CHILD PREDATOR GAINS TIME WITH CHILDREN
- They spend excessive time at your home and with you and your family. This includes a sibling, relatives, family friends, neighbors, colleagues, cousins, a coach or teacher who have taken a special interest in one particular child.
- They will work very hard to arrange for alone with your child – they are not doing you a favor or helping out of the goodness of their heart. Alone time is a seized opportunity.
WHAT DOES A CHILD MOLESTER LOOK FOR?
This isn’t about the appearance of a person, but decoding their behavior which always, always, always will reveal their intentions.
- Vulnerability. A child that may be in need of extra attention, affection or who may be more of a loner and in need of friendship or guidance. This child may lack confidence or seem shy.
- Opportunities. Watch your surroundings and gatherings. Normal adults with chit chat with children for a few minutes and then turn their attention to adult conversations but if a grown-up prefers to spend time with the kids playing – this is a red flag.
SIGNS OF A CHILD PREDATOR: HOW TO IDENTIFY GROOMING BEHAVIOR
A Child predator is an expert at grooming children and their parents, by gaining trust, using gifts and attention. These are the first warning signs of a predator.
- What do kids love more than toys and gifts? A predator is an expert at finding the soft spot of a child because they work especially hard to relate to kids and speak their language. If someone is gifting items to your child that you may not be able to afford, seems excessive, gives an adult an opportunity to spend more time with your child – this is a major warning sign.
- A predator will prep your child – they’ll test the waters to make sure your child can keep secrets.
SPOT THE SIGNS OF A CHILD PREDATOR IN ACTION
- Spends most of his/her spare time with children and has little interest in spending time with people his/her own age?;
- Repeatedly ignores social, emotional and/or physical boundaries and limits;
- Singles out a child, lavishes them with extra attention, affections, gifts and develops an age-inappropriate relationship;
- Pushes and regularly suggests “alone” time with your child;
- Pushes physical boundaries with a child including hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling or holding a child even when the child resists physical contact or attention;
- Shares inappropriate, adult-geared personal or private information with your child;
- Points out sexual images or tells inappropriate or suggestive stories in front of children;
- Appears “too good to be true” and is frequently swooping in to babysit your children for free, help out often, takes your children for overnight outings, take your children on special outings alone, buying them gifts for no apparent reason – especially a person who does not have children of their own
- Frequently walks in on children/teens in the bathroom
Recommended Books on the Topic of Child Safety:
THE BEST WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN FROM PREDATORS
- No Secrets. We have a strict rule in our house – no secrets, ever. Not even for games or between one parent and child. If secrets are ever ok, the line has been blurred and a child will continue to keep secrets between another adult and themselves. A predator will test this out to see how “safe” a child is to their game plan.
- Open Communication. Talk to your children about inappropriate behavior, inappropriate touching, sexual abuse, physical limits, not keeping secrets and how to use their voice. Make sure each family member knows what healthy sexual development in children is and what might be of concern. Teach children the proper names for body parts and what to do if someone tries to touch them in a sexual way. Make sure young children know that no one has the right to touch their private parts (unless for medical reasons) and that they should not touch anyone else’s private parts. If your child ever experiences attempted or perpetrated child abuse, using a safe word can help them communicate with you.
- Be a Visible Parent. How involved are you in your child’s daily life and activities? Are you present or is another person doing you “favors” and helping out with your child’s schedule and activities – especially if it involves a lot of alone time with another person? This is a major deterrent for a child molester because the more visible and present the parent is in the child’s life, the harder the target becomes.
- Set Clear Visible Boundaries for Your Family. Set clear family guidelines for personal privacy and behavior and discuss them with all members of your family and model respecting guidelines. Discuss these guidelines with any other adults who spend time around or supervise the children. (e.g., if a child does not want to hug or kiss someone hello or goodbye, then he or she can shake hands instead.) Safety Rules are important to begin talking about at a young age.
- Let Your Child Set Boundaries of Their Own. Let children know that if they are not comfortable being around a particular adult or older child, then you or another adult will let that person know this. (e.g., tell him or her that you don’t want your child to sit on his/her lap.) As a child matures, boundaries may need to change (e.g., knock on the door before entering the room of an adolescent.)
- Trust Your Gut. The people closest to you should be the people that you can trust the most. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case but being a smart and present parent, you’ll notice the red flags that are present with someone is “grooming” a child for their own disgusting purposes. If you have any red flags – if your gut is telling you someone is not right – do not allow any one-on-one time with that individual and your child.
PROTECTION FROM A CHILD PREDATOR: CREATE A SAFETY PLAN
- Learn as much as you can: Learn about the warning signs of child abuse and what to look for in adults, teenagers, and children.
- Open communication: Communicate often about having an open door policy when it comes to talking about anything and everything. You child needs to know they can come to YOU if something happens. Opening discuss your family doesn’t keep secrets and keep tabs on those around your child.
- Set clear family boundaries: Teach all members of the family to respect privacy in dressing, bathing, sleeping and other personal activities. Anyone who violates boundaries – even once – need to face consequences.
- Take responsibility: Speak up when you see something that doesn’t seem right to you. Interrupt behaviors and talk with the adult, child or teenager in the situation about what makes you uncomfortable. Be your child’s biggest advocate. Always trust your gut and mothering instincts when it comes to who is around your children.
- Get other safe adults involved: Be sure that no one in your family feels alone. Involve those you trust about your safety plan, safety rules and zero tolerance for broken boundaries and unsafe people and situations. Let your children know they can go these other “safe” people for help as well.
- Stay involved: Become a resource person for an adult, child or teen – there may be no more important gift you can give those you love.
It’s a parent’s job to be alert of certain behaviors in those who interact with your kids.
If you notice red flags and your gut is screaming something isn’t right, limit interactions between that individual and your child BEFORE anything damaging can happen. If you can, distance yourself from that individual or sever the relationship.
Another important read Safety Rules to Teach Your Children which talks about strangers, body safety and other safety rules you can teach your children.
SEEK HELP AGAINST A CHILD PREDATOR WHEN YOU SEE SIGNS OF GROOMING
Reach out to a professional for help if you notice red flags. Confronting the person who is raising these red flags will be difficult and needs to be handled the right way.
RESOURCES FOR HELP
Stop It Now!
Helpline: 1.888.PREVENT (1.888.773.8368)
Email: [email protected]
Additional Child Safety Reading:
- Drowning is Quick & Silent. Know the 5 Signs of Drowning
- Why Every Family Needs a Safe Word
- Don’t Miss These Signs of Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse
- 7 Critical Safety Rules for Kids: What They Need to Know
- How to Create a Positive Home (And Why this Will Affect Your Kids Forever
- 9 Proven Ways to Boost a Child’s Confidence
Good thhings to know thank you
Glad you’ve found the info useful. Being aware of the signs is so important! Thanks for your comment!
Sexual abuse happened in our family right under our nose without my husband and I not recognizing. We both worked with abused kids and still didn’t see it coming. It occurred by my 14 year old stepson toward both my step daughter who was 12 and my daughter who was 5yr olds. The predator threatened secrecy, and planned on times when they knew we were busy, example washing dishes, or when they both leave the table early because they said they are done eating. My stepson first did it to my 12 yr old step daughter. This occurred at their moms when they were left alone watching TV. She was treated to secrecy. I did not know my 14r old step daughter was getting abused until I caught him abusing my daughter on a day he thought I was doing the dishes. Then i spoke w my shy step daughter and she confirmed the worst thing that any parent would want to hear, that she was abused too. We had a blend family of 8 children, he preyed on the girls during that confusion. It has been 10 years and alot of therapy sessions later. My husband and I have never forgave ourselves for not seeing it in our family. It took many years to forgive my step son but i will never forget.
I would like to add that not only do you have to watch for the predator seeking alone time with the child but watch for weird behavior right in the room. My dad was a child molester and I remember catching him countless times molesting one of my younger sisters sometimes RIGHT THERE IN THE ROOM with my family of 8 siblings surrounding him. I however didn’t tell anyone as we were taught we should never say anything about our parents doing something wrong since it was disrespectful. Now a couple years later my dad is in prison and mom living by herself (because she knew the abuse was happening and never reported it) and my younger siblings in foster care because I finally found my voice.
You did a really brave thing Barbara, thanks to you that disgusting pervert wont be able to hurt any more children.
Thank you, from one survivor to another!
What do I do if my neighbor is blowing kisses at my 9 years old daughter. I just found out and im a mess not knowing what to do. As a child I was spoken to sexually and touched by my step father i was never actually molested Thank God but I suffer from the memories and how discusting it is how older men act with young girls. Please help me jn what steps to take. I live in apartments and my manager has told me in the past his record is clean.
JD Stilton says
Remember that it may be completely innocent as old men often find children charming, reminding them that life may be worth living after all. That being said, there needs to be a discussion with your neighbor about the fact you feel his behavior may be confusing or even disturbing to your daughter. When I was a kid, it was common for adults to be friendly to children. Explain that today kids are taught to be suspicious of any non-related adult showing any kind of interest in them.
I don’t think this is the kind of thing that can be done by proxy. Part of being a parent is to do the tough things that put you out of your comfort zone for the sake of your child. But, you would probably feel more comfortable doing this with a friend at your side. Remember to keep the situation calm and civil. Also, the less that is said about it, the better. It is an embarrassing and upsetting situation for both you and your neighbor. Exactly what to say and how to say it has to be left to your good judgement. Good luck.
The CDC says the numbers are 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys. As one a male survivor I have found that society put more shame on me for being a victim than on him for being a pedophile. I have called crisis lines and been hung up on been told it’s a woman’s issue and all manner of insensitive hurtful things.
That is heartbreaking!! I am shocked that I live in a world where people would treat a survivor that way especially after finding the courage to speak out! I’m so sorry that these things happened to you. I wish that I could take it all away. From each and every one of you! Hugs!!!
My step daughter that’s17 yrs. old she gave her 2 yrs. old brother a hickey on his neck. I know this isn’t normal at all. This not first time either. I caught her taking my 3 yr. And she was 8. I should’ve saw the red flags.
This is a very big issue in the world. One hardly spoken of. Both men and women prey on children. This is bad because these victims too might grow up and think it is okay. May not even be able to have a good relationship with family or friends or even a significant other. I too been preyed on as a kid and thank god never hurt. If I suspect something I will do something and not ever let my children be violated by no one. One thing I dipise is child predators. They mess up the upcoming world and should be judged sooner than later.
Ara Staniskis says
My 12 year old daughter spends 1 week at my home (mom) and 1 week at her fathers. He father is remarried, and his wife has an 18 year old son. I’ve had concerns since day 1 because her father doesn’t parent, he’s the fun dad. He’s also not an honest person and his wife was convicted of 3 felonies and many other crimes in the past. It’s been over 5 years since she’s committed a crime as far as I know. I recently learned while my daughter was in their home, both my child’s father and step mother went out of town and left my daughter with the 18 year old step son overnight. I message my daughters father and requested she stay with me in the future and I had a concern with her being alone with him overnight alone. He attacked me and said nasty things about me and my childhood and said the stepsons affection for our daughter is “brotherly love”! And continued to call me disgusting names. Since then a family member of the stepmother, reached out to me and said the stepson is way to close to my daughter and I needed to get her out of her fathers home. Now I found messages where there is clearly a relationship beyond, brotherly. He’s 18 she’s 12! My ex, her father refuses to address my concerns. What do I do?
You may need to contact CPS and have documented proof of their inappropriate conversation. I would screen shot the conversation and document everything. Record conversations. If the person is 18 years old, check into a restraining order. If the person is grooming your child, your child may deny or cover for them.
I have concerns about my step dad trying to groom me into trusting him with my daughter. Although he’s never asked for alone time, he’s made an inappropriate joke about my daughter being a groupie because she loves the wiggles. My child is still a baby. I’m disturbed by the fact that it would ever cross his mind to label an innocent child like that. My mother was in the room and said nothing. He tried to back track and say the old meaning of groupie is to be a fanatic. It still doesn’t sit right with me. I’ve had encounters with him when I lived at home where he was verbally abusive and got the feeling I wasn’t safe. My mother confirmed my feelings when she told me over the phone that she’s glad I left because he confessed some weird things he was thinking towards me. But they are still married. My gut feeling is telling me that if he ever got a chance to hurt my daughter, my mother would stay quiet to not rock the boat. In the past, he’s been saying how beautiful my daughter is and asking me if I’d ever put her in baby adverts. I feel he is just trying to flatter me and the bad tasteful joke is to test me to see what I’d let pass. I feel angry and sad that I’m confronted with yet another pervert because I’ve grown up around them and my own mother wouldn’t help me when I needed her to watch for red flags. I was a child watching out for my own safety and safety of others. Am I right in my feelings about this “groupie” remark or am I looking too much into it?
Trust your gut – your intuition is telling you what you already know. Keep your guard up.
My father was convicted for years of abuse to my older sister. He was sentenced 2 years jail. I was a young mother years later and he gradually built trust back into family and again it happened to my daughter but he was not convicted. I have disowned my father but my sisters with young children have been progressively letting him back on the scene and from what I am hearing the grooming has began “gifts, more time around, helping out, bringing up the past”. I have reported to child abuse report line but i feel like nothing can be done to protect the children i am in another state and my sisters do not understand the nature of pedophilia and the likelihood of him re-offending (I have done much research since my daughter was abused). My daughter is now 18 and very placid, shy, has messaged my sisters to say she can only hope they watch him like a hawk so he does not do the same as he did to her but because of their perceived need for help from their father they are just letting him stay in the picture and I do not know what is best to do. I am mostly concerned for my niece she is 7 years old, how to gently approach conversations on protective behaviors with a 7yo?
I’m sorry you have to go through this. People DO NOT change and you know this. Use books to teach and have frequent conversations about no secrets and she needs to tell others she doesn’t keep secrets, what’s appropriate and not appropriate, and ask for information often about her interactions with him.