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4 Red Flags for Parents Concerned About Their Children

4 Red Flags for Parents Concerned About Their Children

Never has it been more important for us, as parents to be aware of who is in our children’s lives. Not a week goes by that we do not hear about a teacher, clergy, coach or community leader being arrested for child sexual assault. As parents, we absolutely cannot ignore this reality. 

There are plenty of indicators of sexual abuse, but for attentive parents who may already be uneasy about a specific person in your child’s life, there are some key red flags that you can look for. 

#1 – An Adult Wants to Spend Time Alone with Your Child 

This is true for adult males, in particular, but there are female predators, as well. But iIf a coach, Boy Scout leader or teacher of some kind wants to spend personal time with your child, then you need to immediately be asking yourself ‘Why?’ If the coach, for example, does not even have a kid of his own on the team, then why is he there and does he really think your child needs extra batting practice? Or maybe it is the violin teacher who has suddenly decided that it is best if you are not in the room during lessons. This desire for time alone with your child should be a huge red flag for you. 

Your child should never be alone with a man. Ever. 

#2 – They Are Giving Your Child Gifts 

If an adult is giving your child gifts, especially if it is for no apparent reason, then you should be questioning their motives. Gift giving is often how a child molester grooms their victims and obtains their trust, or keeps them quiet after an assault. And parents sometimes fall for it, too. You may just think that your child’s math tutor is especially proud of them or that the coach really just thought they deserved something special after their hard work in the last game. 

Do not let these tactics fool you and do not ignore this big red flag. 

#3 – They Are Contacting or ‘Friending’ Your Child on Social Media

Social media has made it easier than ever for child molesters to prey on our children. Today, kids have cell phones in their pockets, tablets in their bags and social media accounts all over the Internet. And child predators are using this to their advantage by contacting kids through social media outlets. 

If you do not have access to your kid’s social media accounts, get access.  – Immediately. See whom they are friends with and who is sending them messages, snap chats and pictures. If an adult figure is following, friending, messaging or liking your child through social media, that is a clear red flag that they are preying on your child. There is never a reason for a teacher, pastor, coach, neighbor, etc. to be friends with you child on any social media outlet. 

#4 – Your Child Displays Behavioral Changes

Aside from the potential predators themselves, you should also be paying close attention to your child’s behavior. If they are withdrawing socially, avoiding school or practice, acting out, using sexual language they have never used before, eating too much or too little, anything out of the ordinary for your child, then pay attention. While behavioral changes can sometimes be attributed to puberty, these same changes are also common for a child who has been sexually abused, so don’t dismiss them as simple signs of “‘growing up.”’

At the end of the day, you really need to follow your gut. If something does not feel right, it probably is not. Trust your instincts and find out what is going on with this person in your child’s life. 

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