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Learn the signs of child grooming

Posted on Tuesday, May 9, 2017
As promised in our last blog entry, we were going to touch base with child grooming and the warning signs of your child being groomed by an older adult.

But first, you need to understand some statistics:
Accoring to Statistic Brain 93% of boys and 80% of girls who are molested were molested by someone they knew. This could be ANYONE, but more than likely, it's someone you or your child knows. This could mean it could be a babysitter, an uncle, a teacher, the neighbor, a family friend or gardener. Scary right?

So how does child grooming fit in with the statistics I just gave you? Think about it - would your 15 year old daughter just run off willingly with their teacher to Mexico? Odds are, no. So, she must have been what we call groomed.

What does child grooming mean exactly? According to Wikipedia Child grooming is befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child's inhibitions for child sexual abuse. It lures minors into trafficking of children, illicit businesses such as child prostitution, or the production of child pornography.

Wait a second, child grooming is what lures children into underground pedophile rings? Absolutely. How did you think young children get into these rings, willingly? No way - they are promised housing, money, a great paying job, nice clothing, fancy dinners - sometimes only to receive a cot in an abandoned house. So we as parents and caregivers need to learn the signs of child grooming and how to protect our children from being groomed.
Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional.
Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age.
Many children and young people don't understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse.

The signs of grooming can include:
- A child being very secretive, including their online and mobile activities and messages
- Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend or unhealthy obsession with an older adult
- They may go to unusual places to meet their friends, like a train station or building
- The child may have new clothing, mobile phones or gaming systems that they can't or won't explain.
- Drug and alcohol use

Behaviors can include:
- withdrawn, anxious, depression, suicidal
- they can be clingy, develop eating disorders or skip school
- a child may have trouble sleeping, nightmares, soil their clothing or wet the bed

How to help prevent your child from being groomed? Family Watchdog suggests learning all about child grooming so you can better approach it. This site has a ton of information on child grooming and everything you need to know before tackling this conversation with your child head on. It's a talk that you should have with your child when the time is right. And of course we always suggest having the "good touch, bad touch" conversation with your child at a young age and teach them not to keep secrets.

What should you do if you suspect a child is being groomed?
All too often the signs of child grooming is overlooked. Trust your gut instinct and then act on it. Sometimes parents can be afraid of how their children will react if they prohibit their child seeing a person they like, but it is important if you have concerns about a person's relationship with a child, be willing to stop all contact immediately between your child and the potential offender. It is also important to listen for statements or questions from your child that would support your suspicions, and to encourage your child to tell you more about the time he or she spends with the person.

We also found this site that explains in more detail some tactics that groomers will use to groom your child and how that can effect you as a parent.