Children have their own personalities, but they also watch and learn from their parents and other adults in their lives. What are your children being taught? Are the role models positive or negative? Since no one is perfect most of what they observe is a combination of good and bad. Have you told your children:
- “Never give up, you can achieve whatever you want in life through commitment and determination.”
- “Do not take no for an answer.”
- “Set your goals and don’t let anyone or anything get in your way.”
Most people would consider these statements to be positive and they are in some circumstances. But what about relationships? Stalkers never give up, are determined, do not take no for an answer, set goals and do not want anyone or anything to get in their way.
Are your children being taught respect and do they understand that not everyone they meet is going to like them? I know, it can be hard to believe that anyone would not like your precious baby. The reality is that relationships can be challenging whether its with another family member, a friend, co-worker or a partner.
How you handle rejection, anger, revenge and other issues that arise may impact how your child responds. If you get mad and start ranting about what you are going to do to the person who has made you angry, you are setting an example. How we handle what life throws at us is the key. Talking to children about relationships is important. Even more important is what they observe in your relationships.
Some people, usually males use their children to monitor their ex-partner. Equipment may be provided to record or video the person when talking to someone on the telephone or other times. Often the children get caught and they become very upset because they will not have anything to report to the other parent. These children are being taught to stalk their partners. Many times I’ve heard how a child reported that he/she was put on the toilet lid and interrogated about the other parent. Bathrooms are usually small so they can make a good interrogation room, but why would a parent do this to their child?
Children can be taught to be obsessive. I have been involved in cases in which a parent, usually the mother has trained a male or female child to become obsessed with another child. This has happened in preschool and first grade. As children become older they don’t need a parent’s help in focusing inappropriately on someone else. Small children are not called stalkers, but the dynamics are similar.
Some parents are raising abusers, stalkers and other criminals. Others are training their child on how to become a victim. What are you teaching your children?
My recommendation is that you ask children from young ages on what they would do if someone didn’t like them, if someone was paying unwanted attention to them, or if they feel uncomfortable around someone. You don’t want to terrify your children, but you need to be aware of how they would handle certain situations.
Parents should not allow anyone to have unlimited access to their children without assessment and monitoring. This includes the clergy, teachers, other family members, public figures and everyone else.
If a child reports inappropriate touching or sexual assault, law enforcement or child protective services should be contacted immediately and a forensic interview may be conducted. Cases have been compromised because an untrained person questioned a child.
More details on signs of obsession in children is available in Stop the Stalker – A Guide for Targets under Books by Betsy.
Children are a gift from God. Love them, set boundaries, discipline them appropriately and be aware of the role models in their lives. You can tell a child all day long how to act, but they learn much more by watching.