Dear Sue Ellen,
We just moved to a new neighborhood where we don’t know any of the people around us yet. It seems like a nice enough place to raise our daughter, but there is one guy down the street that lives alone and is strange. He takes walks around our block at night and it gives me the creeps because I feel like he is looking into people’s windows. He came over and tried to talk to my little girl the other day when she was playing outside. I made her come inside. How can I find out if he is a sex offender?
Thank you for being vigilant about your daughter’s safety. You can go online and google the sex offender registry in your state. Do you remember when universal precautions came out for disease control? (maybe not…you are probably too young). It was an incentive during the Aids epidemic in the eighties. We all learned the importance of washing our hands and taking other preventive measures to avoid contagious diseases. If I were to win the lottery (I would have to buy a ticket first) I would invest in a national educational campaign that would teach all parents ways to keep their children safe. The sex offender registry is a good start. Here are some other suggestions for protecting children from child molesters:
1. Never leave your child alone and unattended with a coach, priest, music teacher, Sunday school teacher or any other person in authority over children. If your child takes music lessons, make sure there is a window in the classroom and you are just outside.
2. If your instincts tell you something is not right, don’t dismiss it. We all have this natural human function and it is there for a reason. Pay attention to your instincts.
3. Listen to your children. If they say they don’t want to be around a certain adult, there may be a reason.
4. Sex trafficking is a growing problem. That’s where kids are seduced through the internet and sold into sex slavery. All parents should be monitoring their children while they are on the internet and teaching them about internet safety.
Keep in mind, most children are molested by someone known to and trusted by the family. It is quite often a family member. People that are child molesters work hard to appear normal and trustworthy. There is no law against being a creepy neighbor, but I would definitely keep an eye on him and if he approaches your daughter again, ask your husband to warn him against going around your daughter.
Please email your parenting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Parent’s Corner on the subject line.
Dear Sue Ellen,