3 Critical Signs that Your Child is Being Groomed for Sexual Exploitation by a Narcissist
It might surprise you to know that all pedophiles are narcissists.
Narcissists are experts at engaging in a series of behaviors designed to target, draw a victim close, then make it extremely difficult for a victim to escape abuse.
This is called grooming a potential victim.
Narcissists who are also pedophiles use grooming behaviors as precursors to molestation, sexual abuse, and exploitation.
So, it’s vital that you know how to spot these 3 signs of grooming behaviors so that you can consult with an attorney to intervene and protect your children before they are abused and sexually exploited.
1. Pedophiles Love Bomb Children
Love bombing is the manipulative act of lavishing a person with attention, gifts, and other acts of wooing to gain their trust.
Pedophiles engage in love bombing to draw children near—just as narcissists engage in love bombing to get adult victims to trust and fall in love with them.
Love bombing can look innocuous and may include lavishing children with:
- Physical affection.
- Gifts and toys.
- Elaborate trips.
- Expensive and trendy clothes.
- Spending hours at game arcades or amusement parks.
- Fancy electronics.
Often, parents do not recognize the manipulative aspects of love bombing children. Parents might think:
- “Wow, so many gifts. My ex’s new boyfriend is really trying to impress my daughter with all the extra attention.”
- It’s nice my ex and her new husband have the financial resources to treat my child to all the things I can’t afford.
- My ex-wife’s husband and family are making the effort to accept and love my children by treating them well with all these gifts and special trips.
Since love bombing can appear innocuous, parents may not realize that pedophiles are using love bombing to manipulate children in very specific ways by:
- Eliciting higher levels of trust which will create an emotional bond between the child and the pedophile.
- Eroding physical and emotional boundaries.
- Creating a brain rush of dopamine (from the pleasure of receiving attention, gifts, and fun activities) that further bonds the child to the pedophile.
- Building higher levels of loyalty so that when the pedophile asks your children to engage in sexual acts and keep quiet about abuse, your children will comply fully.
Imagine this scenario.
You are a father with a three-years-old son who is spending lots of time with your ex and her new boyfriend.
You notice that the boyfriend takes your son out on long fishing trips where they are gone for most of the weekend, buys him lots of new clothes and toys, and is very physically affectionate.
Initially, your son returns home from these visits happy and smiling, with lots of chatter about all the fun he had.
As time goes on, you notice that your son:
- Is not quite the happy, chatty child he used to be. He also hesitates to share details about his time with your ex’s boyfriend.
- He seems torn and confused about going on the visits—looking forward to it but then also resisting by acting out more on days when he knows your ex and her husband are coming to get him for visitation.
- He seems more lethargic lately.
- You notice he’s engaging in touching his own genitals more and not being respectful of other people’s personal body space.
You try to talk to your child’s mother about your concerns, but she blows you off by saying you are jealous that her husband is a better father.
She just doesn’t see the danger and has no concerns.
It’s because the pedophile has already love bombed the mother and elicited her trust so that now she has become a passive enabler.
Often, after a divorce, women are especially vulnerable to being preyed upon by narcissistic pedophiles who see them as easy targets to manipulate.
The mother is blind to the fact that the pedophile is grooming your son by slowly exposing him to steadily more sexualizing situations in preparation for sexual abuse.
If you suspect that your ex is giving a pedophile access to your child, it is imperative for you to move quickly and consult with an attorney , like Keesha Montoya, who is experienced with handling cases that involve sexual exploitation of children.
2. Pedophiles Normalize Lying and Lack of Transparency
Pedophiles cleverly engage in games and rituals with children that teach them how to keep secrets.
With older children and teens, you can have discussions with them to let them know that it’s important to never keep secrets from you—no matter how much another person might say that is a good thing to do.
You can ask them, “Is anyone asking you to keep secrets even as a game?” and explore different scenarios with them where another person might ask them to keep secrets.
Yet, with very young children who lack verbal skills, it can be harder to know if they are being trained to keep secrets.
You can use story time to read colorful picture books like “No More Secrets” by Chaya Richik so they can understand that it’s not a good thing if someone is asking them to keep secrets from you.
There are also wonderful children’s books that teach your children about the importance of keeping their private body parts private.
3. Pedophiles Normalize the Violation of Sexual Boundaries
Pedophiles often groom children for abuse with games involving tickling or touching body parts that are private.
They also often have an overbearing way of hugging children or showing other signs of physical affection.
Pedophiles normalize inappropriate touches as part of the grooming process.
They also normalize sexualizing children by exposing gradually exposing them to highly sexual situations, images, clothing, and behaviors as part of everyday life.
Imagine this scenario:
You are a mother of a beautiful four-years- old daughter who is spending a lot of time with your narcissistic ex and his new wife on the weekends.
You notice that your daughter is engaging in behaviors where she is engaging exploration of her own body parts, which is normal, but you also notice that she is lingering more on her sexual organs.
She has also tried to kiss other little children on their mouths in a sexual way during play time and even touched your breasts in a way that made you very uncomfortable.
You voice your concerns to her father, but he dismisses you with, “You’re just jealous and imagining things. She’s fine.”
During a holiday visit at the mall to see Santa Claus, she is chattering away happily.
When she gets on Santa’s lap, she her eyes glaze over. She gets a blank stare. She looks utterly loss, like a deer caught in headlights.
As you watch this, loud alarms go off in your mind that something is terribly wrong.
You take her to a child psychologist who discovers through play therapy, that your narcissistic ex and his new wife have been forcing her to sit nude on their laps while they watch pornography.
Unfortunately, this scenario is not rare—nor is it the worst scenario.
According to RAINN’s website, “Every 9 minutes, child protective services substantiate or finds evidence for a claim of child sexual abuse.”
But your children do not need to be part of these statistics.
By recognizing grooming behaviors early and intervening to prevent your children from being around adults who may be sexual predators, you can prevent your children from experiencing sexual exploitation and abuse.
If you suspect your children are being groomed for sexual exploitation by an ex-spouse, partner or any other person that your children are around, please quickly schedule a free consultation so that we can walk you through the legal options to keep your children safe.
Must-see Film for Parents
- “No More Secrets” by Chaya Richik
- “I Said No! A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private” by Zack and Kimberly King
- “How to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse: A Pocket Guide for Parents and Families” by Barbara Coffman