Protecting Children from Sexual Predators

Protecting Your Children from Sexual Predators

Child sexual predators seem to be all around us--in our communities, in our schools, in our churches and even in our families. Having their child experience sexual abuse is, understandably, one of every parent's worst fears. Since we can't be with our children to protect them every waking moment of their lives, it's easy for us to feel overwhelmed and powerless to protect them from the people parents loathe and fear most. But, fortunately, there are steps we can take to keep our children safe in a world that can seem scary at times.

Tips for Preventing Your Child from Becoming a Victim of Sexual Abuse

Follow these tips to help prevent your child from falling prey to a sexual predator:

1. Be a hands-on parent. Be a BIG presence in your child's life. Know your child. Know who your child interacts with--at home, at school, on the playground, in the community, etc. Be a regular spectator at your child's sporting events. Volunteer to be a room parent in your child's classroom. Volunteer to chaperone field trips your chld will participate in. Go to your child's school for open house, family night, parent council meetings and other special events.

2. Know your child's friends...and the people your child's friends spend time with. Introduce yourself to the parents of your children's friends. Visit the homes of your children's friends. Know who lives there. Know who hangs out there.

3. Join neighborhood watch and community policing groups. Attend meetings regularly.

4. Check the sex offender registries in the areas where your child spends time--the community, the park, the playground, school, church, etc.

5. Do not allow your child to visit other people's homes unless you know them and trust them.

6. Talk to your child about sexual predators. Educate them about the tactics pedophiles and other predators use to lure children. Develop a plan with your child so he or she will know what to do if they encounter a predator.

7. Establish regular check-in procedures and times for occasions when your child is not with you.

8. Make your child feel comfortable talking with you about ANYTHING. Be understanding, comforting, reassuring and nonjudgmental.

9. Make it clear to your child that if someone touches them appropriately or attacks them, it is NEVER their fault, regardless of the circumstances.

10. Exercise sound judgment when it comes to allowing others access to your child. When in doubt, check them out! Do not ever feel guilty about doing what is necessary to protect your most precious gifts: your children.

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