We’ve all head about priests and pastors who turned out to be sexual predators. But what about the affable volunteer who loves ‘ministering’ to kids? And why aren’t we as parents educating ourselves on how to spot potential predators and teaching our children how to respond? This book will equip you to empower your children and keep them safe from predators.

We've all head about priests and pastors who turned out to be sexual predators. But what about the affable volunteer who loves 'ministering' to kids? This book will equip you to spot common grooming behavior by predators and help you empower your children and keep them safe from predators. #sexualabuse #church

Protecting Your Child from Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger

Beth Robinson, EdD and Latayne C. Scott, PhD, Bethany House Publishers, August 6, 2019, 240 pages.

Everyone from parents to pastors, teachers to teenagers needs to read this book. While written from a Christian perspective, Protecting Your Child from Predators provides everyone with solid advice for both spotting potential predators and arming children to keep themselves safe.

The authors point out that most predators don’t wear trench coats and lurk in dark allies. They don’t lure unknown children to them with candy, either. Most predators disguise themselves as trusted family members, coaches, and church volunteers. In fact, the authors point out that churches provide prime ground for predators due to lack of training and oversight of church volunteers.

According to the authors, the people you sit next to at church each week may have suffered some kind of abuse, “on average, 1 in every 4 female churchgoers has been abused in the past, and 1 in 6 of the males.” Those statistics boggle the mind.

Even more chilling is the authors’ assertion that,

“Like Satan, who “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He [a predator] will charm the socks off parents. And the pants off their children.”

This could quickly turn into a fear-mongering book with example after horrifying example of exactly how predators operate. The authors avoid this by giving case studies and then practical steps for parents of each age group.

Call to Action

The book acts as a call to action for parents to beat the statistical odds of having their child abused by a predator in common situations (church, babysitter, organized sports, sleepovers, family situations, dates, etc.). The authors share research which points out that volunteers commit 50 percent of sexual abuse in the church and paid staff commit 30 percent (they don’t elaborate on the other 20 percent).

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. The past is not the future. This can stop now, and it can stop with the active involvement of parents to inform and protect their children. You can protect your child by empowering him or her to have a warrior heart.”

The authors continue the theme of having a warrior heart throughout the book. They give practical steps for both parents and children to develop their warrior’s hearts. The authors give brief examples of real-life situations (names changed to protect the innocent) and explain how the family handled the situation and what important lessons the readers can learn from it. They teach ‘safe tactics’ instead of employing scare tactics which might leave the reader feeling helpless.

Solid Parenting Advice

Along with specific advice for helping our children grow up predator-proof, the authors include solid parenting advice. “Listen more and talk less,” ranks up there as the most important parenting skill—one I often failed to heed as my children transitioned into the teen years.

We've all head about priests and pastors who turned out to be sexual predators. But what about the affable volunteer who loves 'ministering' to kids? This book will equip you to spot common grooming behavior by predators and help you empower your children and keep them safe from predators. #sexualabuse #church

Fortunately, people can change, and I’ve worked at this skill for the past six years and discovered its importance not only with my own children, but with the teenagers I work with.

Another parenting gem has to do with mercy and grace. “There is no value in humiliating our children if they make mistakes.” Amen. Yes, we can learn by humiliation, but the consequences of being shamed overshadow the lesson and build resentment and a desire to go elsewhere for affirmation. Which will in turn make your child more vulnerable to predators.

Above all, the authors encourage parents to teach their children self-awareness and how to use their own inner safety monitoring system. Teaching our children these skills will also help them avoid bullying and peer pressure.

The authors point out differences in development between children today and in previous decades.

“A college freshman today has the social and emotional development that a high school freshman had twenty years ago.”

Although they don’t point fingers at the cause, I would hazard a guess that technology plays a part.

Who Should Read this Book?

Everyone. Regardless of your religious persuasion, you’ll find this book chock-full of sound advice for equipping your children to both avoid predators and to mature socially and emotionally.

Although the authors designed the book as a grazing experience (you may read only the sections pertaining to the current age or situation of your child), I read the entire book.

Each section (divided by children’s’ ages) starts with a summary of what the authors think children should know about human sexuality, procreation, relationships, and human nature. The chapters within each section end with messages parents should impart to their child and a list of actions to take if you suspect abuse.

This book is a MUST READ for parents who want to equip and empower their children to deal with predators. #sexualabuse #predators #parenting Click To Tweet

I can’t say enough about the helpfulness of this book and the authors’ no-nonsense approach to equipping our children to recognize unsafe situations and communicate their concerns to the proper adults.

Every teacher, preacher, parent, youth leader, and law enforcement officer needs to read this book.

I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.