Healthy boundaries imperative for preventing child grooming

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 11:11 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month.

Allison Porteau with Scotty’s House joined the Three to share what families should look out for when it comes to grooming a child.

“The important thing to know is it’s not just the child that is groomed, it’s the whole family,” says Porteau. “It’s almost always somebody that is not just known to the child but is known to the whole family that is going to end up being the person that abuses a child.”

Porteau said it’s important that children have a trusted adult they can go to. Parents and guardians should also show kids what healthy boundaries are.

“Unfortunately, it looks like somebody that just really cares about your kid and wants to play with them, spend time with them, but may start having a lot of unsupervised alone time with the child and very gradually starts crossing boundaries,” said Porteau.

By providing a safe space for a child to talk about things they might be uncomfortable with, it allows them to understand their boundaries. And they should be encouraged to set these boundaries in every part of their life, according to Porteau. An example Porteau provided, if a child does not want to hug or kiss a family member, parents should not pressure them to do it just to be polite.

She emphasizes that with children and families that turn Scotty’s House, there’s usually an overarching pattern.

“The vast majority of the time, this is people that they trust, that they care about, that the parents trusted and thought were safe with their children.”