Child abductions are a scary thought for any parent. No one wants their child to go missing and be in the hands of someone that wishes to do them harm, even if most children are returned to their homes. The physical and psychological damage that a kidnapping can do to a still-developing mind can be catastrophic, even adult abduction victims usually need years of therapy to heal from the trauma. Luckily, there are some behaviors you can instill in your child and steps you can take as a parent to make your child as difficult a target as possible.
Be As Involved In Your Child’s Life As Possible
Many abductors target children in broken homes because they are easy targets. They also use social media to get close to their targets without parental intervention. Making sure that you show up to every single one of your child’s extracurricular activities, recitals, sports games, science fairs, the whole lot, makes your child a much more difficult target for a possible abductor to try and get close to your child. If a kidnapper sees that a child’s parents are around, it’s less likely that they’ll try to target that child.
Also, make sure to know who your child is talking to both on the phone and on the internet. This is very important, as kidnappers and predators alike use these as tools to gain the child’s trust without parents being aware. Once the kidnapper has their target’s trust, they’ll begin to employ manipulation tactics to try and lure the child in. Usually, they’ll prey on things like guilt and child naivete.
Be On Watch For Red Flags
The easiest way to stop a kidnapper is to catch them early and stop them before they can even earn the child’s trust. This isn’t always possible, but the sooner you can catch it the better. Some red flags include the person being oddly gravitated towards your child and being strangely helpful. In many cases, the kidnapper will not only try to earn the trust of the child but the trust of the parents as well. This makes it a lot easier for them to get close to the child.
Trust your intuition, and teach your child to do the same. If the situation feels weird, there’s a good chance that it is. Make sure your child knows appropriate and inappropriate behavior from adults, and to let you know if an adult is acting strangely towards them. Preventing kidnappings is a team effort, especially considering most kidnappers go in with a plan.
It’s exceedingly rare for a kidnapper to randomly take children off of the street. Less than 1% of missing children are abducted this way, so while stranger danger is important knowing how to spot a kidnapper before they have a chance to make their move is important. Checking sex offender registries can be helpful to give you a hint of who to look out for, but knowing the warning signs will always be the best way to catch a kidnapper before they abduct your child.
Plan For Safety
Planning for your family’s safety is important, and kidnapping is a very real thing that can happen to any family. Making sure to plan ahead allows you and your family to have a contingency plan if a kidnapper infiltrates your family. These people, unfortunately, do exist and for the most part, are acquaintances or even family members, usually a parent during a custody dispute. With combined effort from your whole family, you can easily thwart any would-be kidnapper.