“The line differentiating a close, personal relationship between an adult and a child and one that is paving the way for potential abuse can be razor thin.
At first, they can look the same; a special bond between the two. The child will confide with the adult, share secrets and talk about their feelings. The adult is someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, is a mentor and a source of comfort.
But there’s a reason for the similarities: It’s called “grooming,” a slow-evolving process in which an adult predator can gain the trust and comfort of a child they target for abuse by taking advantage of certain vulnerabilities.”
It’s tough out there. As someone who doesn’t have kids, but would perhaps one day like to be able to work with kids as a coach or mentor, I recognize that may be almost impossible in our current social climate. I would, obviously, be acting in much the same way that a pedophile would be when it comes to grooming a child. I might do everything I could to never be alone with a child, or other things to help differentiate, but to many people, I could never do enough to be in that position in the first place.
That’s why I think the answer lies not in trying to identify every potential predator out there, but in making children less likely to succumb to grooming behaviors. Kids with a stable home life, an open relationship with their parents, a proper sense of themselves, etc. are less likely to fall into this trap. Kids who are likely to tell their parents and not keep secrets are dangerous to a predator, and make for bad targets.