Paedophiles are sexually attracted to children of the same or opposite sex.
On a regular basis, depressing stories of victims as little as three years old find their way into the limelight, serving as sad examples of several of such incidents that go unreported on a daily basis.
No parent wants their child to be a victim, that’s why it’s crucial to be able to recognize red alerts and take necessary precautions swiftly.
Here are the basics on likely ways to identify a potential paedophile and what to do subsequently in order to protect your innocent child:
The overtly nice neighbour, family or friend
The paedophile is usually someone the child is familiar with. They are usually extremely nice, often paying odd compliments to your child. They also tend to be physical or affectionate with your child.
Treats your child as an adult
They often want to discuss with your child or in their presence. Sometimes, they give adult responsibilities to your child. Also look out for adults who always want to be with your child alone.
The generous giver
Watch out for an adult that singles out your child for special gifts even when the occasion does not warrant one. It’s wise to also tell your child to always check with you before accepting gifts so you can identify the giver with ulterior motive.
Be careful about that person who is always too busy to help with anything when your child is not involved but always overzealous when your child is.
It’s said that crime is not usually written on the forehead of the criminal but profilers say otherwise. Most criminals are said to have a mean look but paedophiles, they say, usually have a combination of a smirk and grin on their faces. This is called the paedosmile. A smile is sure to wins their victims’ hearts.
What To Do
Shower your child with love and attention
It’s important to make sure your child knows that he is loved. Show love in a way they will understand by being affectionate, acknowledging their feelings and problems, giving them undivided attention, paying sincere compliments and listening to them. They won’t feel the need to entertain unnecessary ‘attention’ and ‘love’ elsewhere.
Win your child’s trust and love
Do this before a paedophile capitalizes on the loopholes. It starts from making only promises you can keep and keeping the promises you make. On those rare occasions, when you are unable to keep your promises, talk it over with your child and make sure they understand why. Also, keep tightening that special bond between you and your child.
Educate your child about sex
It’s important to tell your child about their body and how it changes. Let them know that the areas where the swim wear covers should never be touched by anyone else. Tell them the difference between a harmless touch and dangerous one.
Sex education starts as early as they start to talk. Name their body parts correctly instead of made-up names. This will help them clearly explain a situation in case they meet a paedophile.
Build confidence in your child
A paedophile often looks for a child who is vulnerable or with low self-esteem. Confident children are often vocal and cannot be easily manipulated. They make the job of a paedophile difficult.
Teach your child to say no
African society tells us never to say no to an adult as a sign of respect, but we need to teach our children that it’s okay to say no to an adult as at when due. Practise with your child when and how to say no.
Always observe your child. Take a child who suddenly becomes jumpy, resistant, over-excited, frightened or cold around a particular adult as cue to start an investigation.
Install a nanny cam
Install a nanny cam if the suspect stays in your house or has access to your child in your home. This will serve as evidence. Please ensure that you watch it daily before it becomes too late.
Don’t laugh off your child’s concerns
Listen to your child, read between the lines and ask questions. If you have taught your child to express herself properly, it will be clear when they relate their story. This is why it’s important to teach your child in exact terms their body parts. Follow up on the issue, investigate and take proper action to protect your child.
Be bold to confront a suspect, no matter how close they are to you, and be firm. Your child is more important and anyone should be willing to respect the boundaries you have set for your child.