Boundaries, Part 2

security-cameras-over-fence-mounted-steel-barbed-wire-30665401Ok, here is the post you all have been waiting for. . . from the perspective of a pedophile’s son, and as one who educates others on a professional level, what are some of the boundaries for my own child? I must preface this post by acknowledging that simply coming up with boundaries will not protect your child. Rules are meant to be followed, manipulated, then broken–in that order–by people seeking access to your child. It is essential to learn how a pedophile typically thinks (not pleasant, I know) in order to understand just how important it is to enforce and adapt your boundaries. As a general rule of thumb, pedophiles will take the path of least resistance. Offer little resistance, and you increase your child’s vulnerability tenfold.

The following boundaries are not exhaustive. In fact, I only list my top 5 here. My wife and I are constantly adding, removing, and adapting boundaries based on our daughter’s age and surroundings, and you are encouraged to do the same. Also, you should be aware that pedophiles are extremely adaptive to technology and environment, and they are generally very patient if it means they can gain access to a child’s body. It may take up to a year or more for them to groom a child and his or her parents in order to have one sexual encounter. Many Christians I know have adopted a “give the benefit of the doubt” mentality to most people and they legitimately feel that it is unfair to assume that someone could be a pedophile. I strongly argue the exact opposite. It is unfair to your child to assume that someone couldn’t be a pedophile.

John the Baptist, as he was baptizing people, said, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8, ESV). In other words, prove that you have changed, don’t just say it. Paul, in giving a defense before Roman authorities, tells King Agrippa that he preached the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles, “that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance” (Acts 26:20, ESV).

In other words, Paul didn’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Paul wasn’t so naïve as to think that, just because people claimed that they loved God and were good people, it meant that they really were. He demanded, as John did, that they prove themselves through their actions. Jesus, as he sent the 12 out to preach, warned, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). In other words, don’t be naïve and think we live in a safe world where all people should be trusted. Remain innocent, but don’t be fooled. So with that in mind, I demand that people prove themselves when they question my boundaries. You want me to believe you are a good person? Don’t violate my boundaries and then we’ll talk!

Boundary #1–Deny Physical AccessThis is going to sound radical to many people, but we don’t want adults to be alone with our child unless we have a sitter who my wife and I both approve (we only have 2 sitters who we trust and have used; they are both women). Because the majority of molesters are men, we do not allow any men to be alone with our child. We do not apologize for this. It’s not that women can’t or don’t offend, but there are far less women than men who do. We are still vigilant with the women who watch our daughter on rare occasions. There are other physical boundaries–tickling, wrestling, holding, certain types of hugs, etc. are off limits. Period.

Boundary #2–Deny Picture/Video Access of Our Child to the Public
I see it too many times–the majority of my Facebook friends incessantly post “cute” pictures and videos of their kids for the world to see. Natalie and I rarely put any pictures or our child up. When we do, they are set so that only our friends can see them and our daughter is fully clothed. We have made a decision not to send any pictures of our daughter to dad, either, despite his repeated pleas for photos of “the grands.” July of 2011 is the last he has seen our daughter. Just last week dad wrote me saying that he doesn’t understand why we don’t send him pictures and he hopes we change our mind. I doubt we will. It is very sad, but when you remind yourself how someone takes something very innocent and manipulates it into something perverted for masturbatory fantasy, you will (hopefully) stick to this boundary as well. I’ve written on this before (see my Facebook: Playground for Pedophiles and How You Dress Your Child Matters). I assured dad that withholding pictures is not a punishment. His prison sentence is a severe punishment for his crimes. Rather, it is a protection for our daughter. There is a big difference between punishment and protection.

Pedophiles constantly rob public photos and videos of young children from Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pintrest, Flickr, etc., fill their hard drives with them, and share them with each other. The following is a video that, most likely, some innocent mother originally posted of her waking up her young daughter. Someone grabbed it, reposted it with a different title, and it is a pedophile best hits video. If you don’t believe me, look at the comments and the other videos that appear on the sidebar. Some of the comments are: “im actually a multi millioanire businessman who travels the world frequently, and i need a plaything as a stress relief, if anyone can get me into contact with this little princess i will wire you US$1,000, im desperate for some young blonde flesh” and “God dangit. What is it about a girl just waking up that’s such a turn on? And my god she’s gorgeous.” and “She is soooo Hot! I’d love to be under them sheets with her!”.

It’s hard to tell, but she is probably about 10-12 years old. It’s hard to believe that this video is such a turn on, but it has become grossly sexualized by those living in fantasy land. Think like a pedophile before you post pictures and videos of your child for the world to see (or as in this case, for over 107,500 to view).

Boundary #3–Don’t Be the Sole Helper With My Child In the Bathroom, But Don’t Leave Her Alone Either
This one is difficult to enforce, but since my wife works at the daycare where our daughter goes, we have a major upper hand. Children should not be allowed to go to the bathroom alone; they should take bathroom breaks in groups. Being alone makes them very vulnerable for a number of reasons. For one, they can get hurt, get locked in the bathroom, or mess themselves and nobody would know it. For another, any adult roaming daycare, school, or church halls could easily walk into a bathroom and sexually offend a kid and nobody would know it. An adult helping a child solo is a terrible idea, too. Believe it or not, one tactic for some pedophiles is to feed children laxatives so they poop their pants. Then the “super hero” comes in to change the child’s clothes and clean him or her up. There is a lot more than cleaning going on in this scenario.

So, either take your child to the bathroom yourself (if you are physically present, like at church) or insist that two adults assist your child with zero or minimal physical contact. This includes at school, too. I’ve spoken with elementary teachers who told me that there are private bathrooms attached to each classroom and they’ve seen other teachers go into the bathroom with just them and a child and then close the door. That would be my daughter’s last day of school if this happened to her. Be aware of your school’s policies and if bathroom accountability is not scripted into the policy, demand that it be or pull your child from school.

Boundary #4–Doctor’s Visits With My Child Include Me or My Wife Too
As far as I know, there is no standard policy where doctors must have an aide present with children. I have a brother who is a doctor, but I haven’t asked him what his policy is. But it doesn’t matter much. I know what my policy is. When I was in high school, I had to have a physical by a guest nurse who came to our school because I played basketball. The nurse was a she, she was young, and she was attractive. She commanded me to “drop my drawers” and so I did–with just her and me in a room. While nothing sexual happened, that was a horrible call on her part. I do not allow any doctor to shut him or herself in alone with my child for any reason whatsoever. This includes pediatric doctors, dentists, nurses, or anyone who can gain physical access to my child in any way. My wife or I will make ourselves available for all of her (and our soon to be boy’s) appointments. And we will be present in the room with the doctors and/or nurses.

Boundary #5–No Secrets With My Child
Another technique in the playbook of grooming children is to tell them something like, “You’re my special friend. I’ll let you have candy (or whatever the parents forbid), just don’t tell them. It will be our little secret.”

We all do it with our kids. We playfully tell them little silly secrets. I’ve caught myself being reeled into this child’s play with my daughter. “I have a secret. . . . Daddy loves you.” But then I catch myself. If I love my daughter, why turn it into a game whereby I program her to normalize something that is crucial for predators to operate and offend? Why not just tell her, “I love you”? I have to constantly remind myself not to play the “I have a secret” game with her, because I don’t ever want her to think that, because daddy tells me secrets, it must be ok for others to tell me secrets. Secrets are not ok. As adults, we are unforgiving of secrets and they are associated with gossip or betrayal. Why, then, do we normalize and play games telling secrets with our children? It may seem trivial, but it’s really not. I have a stack of about 30 books on pedophilia. There’s one thing that is in every one of those books–pedophiles constantly groom and test children by playing “secret” games.

Let me know your thoughts. What are some of your boundaries? What are some things we can do to make sure our parental boundaries are not crossed?

30 Replies to “Boundaries, Part 2”

  1. These boundaries can be life-saving! Especially, “We have made a decision not to send any pictures of our daughter to dad, either, despite his repeated pleas for photos of “the grands’.” …..Thank you for posting specific instructions from the bible’s perspective that *all* must prove repentance. As was written in previous posts, a truly repentant pedophile will make every effort to stay completely away from all items related to any child.

    1. There are more boundaries that we have, but I didn’t just want to post boundaries with no explanation. That’s why I chose to post the top 5. And the picture thing is a difficult one to stick to. Pictures are a dime a dozen and most people take/post so many of them that they don’t think about the impact each one of those will have. It is insane to see how many young children’s pictures and videos are being taken, renamed, and traded among “admirers” of children. And yes, acts of repentance must be proved. Saying sorry doesn’t really prove repentance any more than saying someone’s an astronaut makes them an astronaut.

  2. Jimmy, This was one of the most difficult (but necessary) posts for me to read. I applaud you for having the courage to write this, and for following everything that you’ve stated as being a safeguard for your daughter (and son who is on the way).

    Since being shoved into the world of pedophila, I am so acutely aware of things now that I never, ever thought of before. I was innocent to the point of being stupid. Thank God for information such as you’ve given parents — ways of keeping their children safe!

    I can’t finish watching the video of that young girl. It made my insides shake. The minds of pedophiles are very sick, and they take innocence and distort everything about our children. The educational tools you’re giving is invaluable!!

    I’m reposting this on my blog, and praying that thousands upon thousands of parents will read this important message you’ve given us!!!

    1. Thanks, ma! It was the most difficult to write for several reasons. I had to narrow the list of boundaries down to my top 5, so I could expound upon them. There are others, and there will be more as our children get older. I hope others will at least explore possibilities for coming up with boundaries for their kids, and understand why they need to do so.

  3. I too, couldn’t finish watching the video of the young girl.It is so beyond my comprehension to think these things do actually happen. Yet, I know they do. Jimmy thank you from the bottom of my heart. for writing and posting this difficult and emotional piece. I understand so much better now why my daughter in law and son are so adamant about not having pictures of my granddaughter, their daughter on face book. I just never dreamed all of this happens. As a teacher of toddlers and preschool at church, we will definitely have two adults to help our little ones during class time or keep the large outer door open if only one adult. This is heart breaking.

    1. Melody, I’ve done a training workshop for our congregation already on child sex abuse, and will be doing one each year. We are working a policy right now that will change the way everything is done at our church building. There will be an open door policy for all classes, 2 approved adults in each class room, a hall monitor, etc., etc. All churches should have policies that hinder physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children. It is hard to imagine how a perverted mind works but unless we do so, we won’t understand how dire the need is to protect our children.

      1. If there is a resource for churches you could point us to, or if there is a way for you to share your seminar, it would be very helpful. I am currently researching this topic so I can help recommend a plan of action and work on educating our church staff of these things.

        1. There are some great resources out there. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad ones too. I’m still picking the wheat from the chaff as I sort all of it out. Right now, my seminar is only available through my store at a minimal fee. Unfortunately, because I am not funded by anyone I had to pay to produce it and I pay a monthly fee to have the videos parked. I’m actually losing money on it at this point:-) The good news is that I intentionally did not copyright it so, once each video is purchased, I have no problem with people making copies for friends, family, church staff, etc.

          I’ll also point you to some free resources that are excellent. I highly recommend reading this article written by a mentor of mine, Victor Vieth. He is the executive director of the National Child Protection Training Center and is an expert in this field. It is well worth the read. I also recommend checking out the resources page of netgrace.org, an organization that Boz Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham, is part of. They have excellent articles and if you click on videos under resources, there are several videos for free that are top notch. You can find the resources here.

          Also, on my resources page there is a link to some church policies that I’ve found helpful. I actually contacted one of the Mennonite churches and got permission to adapt one of their policies for our church. But, policies alone are not enough to protect a church. There has got to be training for church staff so they know how sex crimes are committed, how to prevent future abuse, how to properly screen volunteers and staff, what mandated reporting laws require, etc. As far as I know, there are very few of us who actually do this type of training. Rick Braschler is one who developed a very good 8 hour training seminar for youth serving organizations. We’ve been in dialogue to see how we can partner to equip churches in the absolute best way possible. Policies alone are not enough. A summary of Rick’s workshop that he conducts nationwide can be found here.

          Also, it’s not on my resources page, but I recommend the book Child Sexual Abuse & The Churches: Understanding the Issues by Patrick Parkinson. It is a great resource for church leadership. Hope this helps some.

  4. Well done (again) Jimmy! Your boundaries are all great ones and not too hard to start either. It is a scary we live in these days. I have become very very selective of all pictures I post of my kids on FB and it scares the willy’s outta me when I see my friends posting all kinds of crazy pictures! I look forward to hearing you in October (both my older kids go to Somerset Christian School and Isaac goes to daycare there)!

  5. Thanks Jimmy! I really appreciate hearing the boundaries you have come up with. I was wondering if you would be willing to do a part 3 and tell us the rest of the boundaries. I realize each family needs to tailor some of the rules for their particular situations , but I would value knowing what y’all have done. Thanks!

    1. I probably will do a follow up part 3 on boundaries. There are still important boundaries, as well as principles and values that need to be instilled in our children. For example, most children never tell their parents of abuse. Later in life, survivors of abuse say that the #1 reason they don’t tell is that they were afraid they would get in trouble or they were just too afraid and ashamed to tell. We can do better as parents and openly tell our children that they can tell us ANYTHING without fear of being shamed or yelled at. Victims who tell only tell when they completely trust someone. These are some things I could cover as well.

  6. These are all great rules and are all part of our top ones as well. We have three girls and as a victim of sexual abuse as a child, I am determined to do everything in my power to protect my girls from such life shattering abuse. Another top rule we keep is “Doors are ALWAYS open”. We have always made it a major rule that bedroom doors and doors to other rooms in the house (excluding the bathroom when they are not needing moms help) are to always remain open. I never want them to think it is ok to be in a room with the door shut with another adult, no matter who it is or how well they know them.

    1. You are absolutely correct. Open doors is a great policy. It’s not fail safe, but it is certainly a great policy to have.

  7. There is an older man (in his sixties) in our church, who is liked by everyone (even though somehow I’ve always had a bad feeling about him). He is funny to the point of being ridiculous, and he is crazy about young children, and they about him.
    He will hug them, tickle them……. right in front of the parents. He is the only male who volunteers to help in the nursery (babies to age four).
    Fortunately, he is never allowed to be alone in the nursery, there is always a female present as well, and he isn’t allowed to take any children to the bathroom.
    I don’t know if he’s ever tried molesting children….. but somehow I wouldn’t put it past him. My son is the youth pastor, and responsible for all the kids………. from babies until the end of high school. And he has enforced very strict rules to protect children (he has five himself).
    Do you think men should help in the nursery? Of course, there are men and women being Sunday school teachers, ages four and up.
    Just these past three years I think my son has also enforced a rule that nursery workers can’t change baby’s diapers any more…… they have to get a parent to do it. I’ve never understood why, until reading your and your mother’s blog. I now realize that it is actually a good rule.
    The nursery is open (with a movable barrier with a gate to keep the kids in), and the classrooms all have a large window in the door……. which is also a good thing. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough teachers to have two in every classroom.

    1. I have a suspicion that you’re not the only one who has a bad feeling about this man. Carla van Dam’s book (you can find it in my resources page) talks about “the Iceberg,” where we only can see the tip of the iceberg for sexual molesters. There is A LOT that goes on in private. She recommends networking with other people and finding out if there is merit to bad vibes. Are there other parents who feel the same way but who are too afraid to say anything? We often don’t say anything about suspicious behavior because we feel like we’re over exaggerating or that we’re the only ones who have a bad feeling. It’s worth asking other parents how they feel, even if nothing concrete can be “proved.” Trust me. There are several red flags that should cause major concern–you have a much older man crossing physical boundaries and having inappropriate touch, someone who is very passionate about kids who are not his own, he is too helpful by (I assume) being quick to volunteer with anything that involves kids, too good to be true, etc. If he is single–or even if he is married–and he prefers to be in the company of young children rather than people his age, this is another huge red flag. Also look for grooming techniques. Does he bring toys, candy, money, stickers, etc. as presents for the kids? Is he quick or persistent to offer to watch others’ kids? Does he offer to take kids to a place to isolate them from a crowd (i.e. his home, nature hikes, etc.) or does he offer to offer transport kids? If he offers to drive kids around with no other adult in the car, this should be a major red flag.

      There should be a policy that bans adults tickling children. Period. Hugs? We shouldn’t be afraid to offer affection to children but there should be definite guidelines for what constitutes appropriate/inappropriate hugs and any other physical contact. And no, we would never have a man in the nursery at our congregation. We have had men teach younger children, and men should be encouraged to teach children, but never in the nursery (plus we have mothers who breast feed, another reason not to have a man in there). It sounds like your son has come up with some pretty good policies, but the church itself has to have a written policy, and all the leaders need to be behind it. Right now we have 2 adults in all but 2 classrooms (which will change soon–I’m working our policy with a team of church members) and we are stopping unsupervised roaming kids in the hallways. We don’t have enough teachers to have 2 in ever room either, but we can still get volunteers just to be present, or use volunteers as trainees to be future teachers. At a minimum, there should be an approved adult hall monitor who is designated each time you assemble to randomly drop into a classroom. This is an alternative if you can’t find 2 people per classroom.

      As far as tickling in front of parents, my dad recently wrote me a letter describing in detail a physical progression of touch that he used in front of parents. What began as innocent (tickling, piggy back rides, etc.), gradually shifted to quickly manipulating digits into very inappropriate positions, within inches of the parents. He is not the exception. I’ve read accounts of adult church members masturbating children in the back seat of a car while both the child’s parents are in the front seats. There are very good reasons why certain types of touch, like tickling, are inappropriate. I would have the tickling stopped immediately. Hope this helps.

      1. This man is married to his second wife, who is dying of cancer right now. He does have grandchildren, but not in this country.

        Yes, he brings sweets for the kids at times. They’ll go to him to get them. I don’t know if he ever transports kids at all, as in our church families come together, and we don’t have camps for young kids……. everything is done as a family until kids are old enough for youth groups (grades six to eight, and high school).

        We have a policy in our church that men can’t transport children that aren’t their’s unless there are several of them (and unless they’re older…… my son will take a whole van full of teenagers to events, but he would never take just girls unless his wife is present).

        Actually, the policies I mentioned have been made official church policy, and are also now national church policy for our denomination.

        But yes, this older man much prefers the company of children. He does sing in the worship team. But while up there, he’ll wink and wave at children!

        I’ve noticed that he is especially fond of the foster children of one of our families. I think I’ll first talk to my son, to see what he thinks. And ask him to implement a ‘no tickling kids that aren’t your’s’ policy. I don’t want to stir up a hornets nest if I am wrong, especially because of this man’s wife being so ill.

        It is a very tricky situation.

        1. It sure sounds like he is a very high risk to children. Winks are another red flag called “knowing looks,” and being fond of children who are in poor home situations is another. Many pedophiles specifically target children who are starved for affection and love because they are easy targets and nobody would question anyone who is so “kind” as to show love to those who are in need. If you haven’t ever heard Jerry Sandusky’s very first interview he did from jail, you should listen to it. He talked to the point of obsessing about his love for underprivileged children.

          I recently met a worship leader who told me he was teaching high school kids at a school where all the children were court ordered because of juvenile felonies. He struck me as very strange and then it came out, and I quote, “I just LOVE these kids. I even have a homeless kid who I pick up on the way to school and I have to bathe him every day.” Nobody questioned this man because his wife was in poor health and was suffering greatly. He was the kind of guy you just feel sorry for by looking at him. After our conversation, I was not one of those who feel sorry.

          Nobody should feel bad about enforcing a no tickling policy. I wish you guys well, this definitely is not an easy situation.

  8. Thank you so much for your honesty. I know it must have been difficult to write about it. I had a series of very unfortunate experiences with an older cousin when I was a child (and I am almost certain he had been abused by a different person as he should have been too young to do such things–but I have no direct knowledge of that). As a result I try to be vigalent about protecting my young ones. Your suggestions are on target and very good.

    One thing we do is we teach our children from the time they are very young that their bodies belong to them, that no one else is permitted to touch them, especially in undewear areas (excepting parents for hygene, and doctors only in the prescence of parents). Even then it must be with their permission. We also try to teach them that if anyone is making them uncomfortable or is bothering them with touching that they are to tell them to stop and then tell us so can find out what happened.

    We also do not permit he secrets game. No one, not even grandparents, or peer cousins are permitted secrets with our children. Mommy and Daddy do not have secrets either, we have surprises or things I will tell them about when they are older, but not secrets. Surprises are ok (birthday presents and the like), but never secrets. We also have very careful rules about who may be alone with our child without us.

    I remember as a child I did not understand what was happening and I tried to tell my parents but i did not have the words to describe what hadvhappened and they assumed it was just kid stuff (never assume that!). By the time I truly understood what was going on we had moved (hand of providence in that) and I had to deal with the after effects of it all. But God is good. Jesus is the called the great physician for Good reason. He can heal the deepest of wounds. After 10 years of marriage and four blessings of my own I can truely say that what Satan wanted to use to destroy me God has used for the good of my children.

    I want to add (without scaring anyone that happens to read the comments) is that you must be vigalent. One would not think a 9,10, or 11 year old able to abuse a younger cousin in that way……however if they have been abused themselves they are very very capable of it. Their sexuality has been awakened early, likely without their parents knowledge or guidance to handle the feelings they have, and without the control that would come with maturity. Your neighbor, your nephew, the little boy down the street, it does not have to be an adult…..it could be a kid that is simply acting out because he was hurt himself. It makes it easier to forgive them in the end but it does not mitigate the damage done to the child.

    Be wary, love people, but do not be foolish.

    Sorry for the length of this post.

    1. You have much wisdom. I’m glad you brought up all the points you did. My wife and I also use “surprises” with our daughter instead of secrets. And great points about teaching your children that their bodies belong to them. It is so important to teach them this from a young age. Our daughter is 3 and she now uses the bathroom with the door shut. Us parents respect that privacy and we never barge in on her when she is using the bathroom. We stay nearby so if she needs help we are there, but we are teaching her that privacy is to be respected.

      And you are so right about other children. We must be open to the possibility that other children (including our own) are capable of offending younger children. There are a host of reasons this can happen, but being vigilant and communicating well with our children is essential. Thank you so much for your insight.

  9. It’s funny how many of these things my mom did for us as kids, that Inever would have thought of as protecting us, like the doctor thing. We would never have been with a doctor by ourselves! I think she even sat in on our wisdom teeth getting out!

    My husband and I don’t have any living children(we lost a baby several years ago), but we’ve already talked about some of this, such as pictures online. We’ve agree unless it’s on a private access blog, or in emails, we don’t want pictures of our kids online.

    It’s not a topic we can talk about a lot because my husband was abused by his birth father when he was a child and he still struggles with the pain of that regularly. But he knows he wants to protect our babies from that.

    Thank you for your advise, and your courage to talk about your difficult situation. I’m sorry about you dad.

    1. Thank you for sharing things that your family has done. Sometimes instinct is the best knowledge for keeping our children safe. I’m sorry to hear about your baby dying and the compounded grief of your husband having to wade through the emotions of having been abused. It’s such a mess and it’s tragic that so many millions are struggling with the aftermath of abusers. This is one reason why I am so vocal. I stand behind ways to expose this monstrosity in a healthy way and prevent further abuse. People just need to know how huge a problem it is. Thank you for your kind words.

  10. Your kids are too little now, but when they get a little older, how are you going to balance the no secrets rule with maintaining confidentiality? For example, my pastor, when his kids were at home, would sometimes be counseling an emergency situation over the phone. Sometimes the kid could figure out who it was, so my pastor had a serious rule that anything heard on the phone by dad could not be repeated. Thoughts?

Leave a Reply