The Sandusky verdict prompts me to remind you it’s an adult’s responsibility to protect children. This means if you are concerned about an adult in your child’s life, please do something about it, rather than putting your head in the sand. Contact Stop It Now! for help if you have questions about an adult’s behavior.
Here are some things to watch out for with regard to adult behaviors that could be “red flags.” Share this info with your kids – they need to be empowered to tell you if an adult or older kid is doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
These are just suggestions and won’t actually “diagnose” a pedophile but will give you guidelines if you are worried. And remember, 93% of the time, the person is known to the family.
1) Are they more interested in hanging out with kids than adults?
2) Do they have loose boundaries and insist on tickling, wrestling, hugging and touching kids even when the child has asked them to stop? Do they have loose emotional boundaries as well?
3) Do they hang with kids and make their home very welcome to kids (even though they don’t have any of their own)? Do they have all the latest and greatest toys and video games?
4) Do they seem “too good to be true”, i.e. frequently babysits different children for free; takes children on special outings alone; buys children gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason?
5) Is their contact with a child outside of their job description/role? i.e. Coach giving rides home, teacher offering special tutoring sessions out of class/school, texting “just to say hi”, school music teacher offering private lessons, etc.
6) Takes the child into their confidence by sharing secrets or adult information? Do they talk to children about sex?
7) Do they view child pornography?
8) Do they give you an uncomfortable our “uh-oh” feeling when you see them interact with kids?
9) Do they photograph children “for fun”?
10) Did they sexually abuse or molest you when you were a child?
11) Are they a pillar of the community? Charming, attractive, nice, friendly and very concerned with the plight of children in your community?
12) Do they buy special gifts for your child, praise them, tell you how amazing and special your child is?
13) Do they volunteer and/or work with children at school, church or in community organizations?
14) Do they seem preoccupied with your child?
If the adult is a problem, most likely there will be more than one thing on this list. Just because someone is actively involved in a youth ministry, it doesn’t mean they are a problem. But if they are involved in the youth ministry AND shower your child with praise and gifts, I’d be on alert.
Learn more here:
Prevention tips – your kids need to know how to protect themselves: