Big Red Flag #1: Bribes

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It’s important to school your kids about the techniques potential abusers use to try to get their consent.

A person might offer a reward (such as money, toys, treats or something else) for doing something that violates a body safety boundary.

Bribes are a big red flag.

Here are examples of bribes that can lure children and keep them engaged:

  • “If you touch my private parts, I will give you candy.

  • “If you show me your private parts, I will be your best friend.”

  • “If you do this I will give you money.”

  • “If you keep this secret, I will buy you things.”

  • “If you keep this secret I will be your best friend.”

  • “If you keep this secret you will be special to me.”

An effective way to prepare your children for a red flag like bribes is to have them rehearse appropriate responses to each of these bribes. Asking kids to refuse, using their own words, will help them gain the confidence they need to deal with these situations should they arise.

Since parents or teachers may sometimes use a form of bribery to encourage helpful behaviors, it’s a good idea to differentiate these more “positive” bribes from red flag bribes. You might explain that it’s okay if the bribe concerns something that is good for the child. For example, a teacher might say: “If you clean up your desks early, you can get to go out early for recess.”

Share the knowledge. The more adults who know and care about childhood sexual abuse the safer all of our kids will be.

Spread the word.

About the Author

Kimberly King is a child-development professional, certified early-childhood educator and speaker. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood development and family studies from University of Maine and a Master of Science degree in early childhood education. She is the author of “I Said No!,” a best-selling children’s book about sexual-abuse prevention, and “When Your Parents Divorce,” a kid-to-kid guide to dealing with divorce, and "Finding Your Fit" a kid-to-kid guide to fitness, food and feelings, in collaboration with Jim White.

King lives with her family in the Coastal Virginia region and is available for media interviews, school visits, and author signings.


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