What to Watch for When Adults Play with Children

Have you ever watched someone playing with a child and felt uncomfortable with it? Perhaps you thought, “I’m just overreacting.” Don’t ignore the behavior and learn how to ask more questions about what you have seen.

The following checklist offers some warning signs. Do you know an adult who…

  • Refuses to let a child set any of his or her own limits?
  • Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with, or holding a child even when the child clearly does not want this affection?
  • Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (e.g., talks repeatedly about the child’s developing body or interferes with normal teen dating)?
  • Manages to get time alone or insists on time alone with the child with no interruptions?
  • Spends most of his or her spare time with children and has little interest in spending time with someone his or her own age?
  • Regularly offers to babysit many different children for free or take children on overnight outings alone?
  • Buys children expensive gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason?
  • Frequently walks in on children or teens in the bathroom?
  • Allows children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate sexualized behaviors?

If you answered “yes” to some of these questions, be aware and present when your child is with the individual in question. If you are uncomfortable, be sure to trust your instincts and ask questions.

For more information and advice on how to talk to someone, please call Blue Sky Bridge at 303-444-1388.

To report child abuse in Boulder County, please call 303-441-1309.

Source: National Child Advocate, Vol. 5, No.2