Protecting Our Children from Predators Article 3: Predators Pay Our Unpaid Bills as Parents

By: Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

As I continue to research the issue of protecting kids from pedophiles and sexual predators I had a very uncomfortable epiphany. As I reviewed a study done to determine the tactics that sex offenders use in seducing their target victims, it dawned on me that they say and do things that parents should be doing already. In fact, they often target kids who have a void in their hearts and lives in the particular areas of affirmation, value, and self-esteem. They actually pick the kids who are missing attention and affection in their lives. In fact, sexual predators often act very “fatherly” in order to gain the trust and affection from their victims. Pay attention to the following list of “grooming” techniques used by those sex offenders in one particular study:
• Spending a lot of time with the targeted child: 95.6%
• Giving them a lot of attention: 95.6%
• Touching them non-sexually: 91.3%
• Telling them personal things: 78.2%
• Telling them how special they are: 69.5%
• Playing with them: 69.5%
• Doing what they like to do: 65.2%
• Saying loving, caring things to them: 65.2%
• Letting them decide what you will do together: 52.1%
• Giving them special rewards and privileges: 43.4%
This is just a sample from the list (Leclerc, Proulx, and McKibben…2005). But doesn’t this list give you, as a parent, a kick in the gut? It does me. Sex offenders…PREDATORS of our kids…….employ techniques that mirror what we should already be doing and saying as parents. They target kids with these kinds of voids in their lives.
So…..parents…..ME included……….one of our best weapons against predators gaining intimate access to our children is that we constantly strive to fill up our kids’ hearts in these areas. Let’s make sure that our kids have as little a void in their hearts as possible. Let’s FILL THEM UP….so they are not very good targets for the predators who constantly prowl around, seeking children who they sense are lacking emotionally. Even today parents….let’s vow to do a better job of:
• Spending time with our kids
• Offering them lots of attention even if we’re tired
• Touching them in much-needed and appropriate ways, like hugging, kisses, squeezing their shoulders, rubbing their hair, patting them on the back and more…
• Emphasizing just how special they are to us
• Playing what THEY like to play
And more…
Basically, let’s make sure we are as connected to our children as possible. If WE are connected to them, then they won’t be looking for connection from someone else and THAT makes them less of a target.
Here’s to our kids…

Aaron Welch is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor and certified sex offender treatment specialist. He strives to fight for the hearts of his clients and empower them to build a legacy that impacts the world. He is part of a team of experts at “The Lifeworks Group, Inc”. For more information about Aaron or Lifeworks, please visit www.lifeworksgroup.org or www.legacycounselingservices.org

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