Dr. Frank Lawlis, chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board and Dr. Phil’s mentor, offers some insight into the development of a sexual predator:
“The typical sexual predator is very immature in his or her understanding of intimacy. It is like they really want closeness, but they lack the skills to feel satisfaction and trust. These feelings of frustration erupt into anger many times, and it is in this stage that the individual can become dangerous. Their acts are desperate. They try to find intimacy and caring for themselves, but when they can’t find it in appropriate ways, they demand it or find a child who has little resistance,” says Dr. Lawlis. “It is common to find parents of sexual predators also weak in skills of affection. Consequently, they cannot train or offer to meet these needs for their child. And then the cycle continues.”
There are some common characteristics of sexual predators. If you’re worried your teen may be a sexual predator, look for these warning signs:
- Refusal to take responsibility for actions and blames others or circumstances for failures
- A sense of entitlement
- Low self-esteem
- Need for power and control
- Lack of empathy
- Inability to form intimate relationships with adults
- History of abuse
- Troubled childhood
- Deviant sexual behavior and attitudesFrom the book, Protecting Your Children from Sexual Predators, by Dr. Leigh M. Baker.Other Tips on Spotting a Sexual Predator:
- Often offend where they won’t get caught — when they have misdirected people’s attention
- Often married or in relationships
- Offend when the victim is handy
- Not always strangers, often family members, family friends and neighbors
- Most attracted to adults
- Good manipulators (seduction is an integral part)
- Overly self-indulgent
- Sexualize, objectify women
- Users of various kinds of pornography
- Typically known as rationalizers, intellectualizers, justifiers
- Great helpers — are there to lend a helping hand — prey on people in need, when they can insinuate themselves in your life
- Use stressful and vulnerable situations to get in — they find a need they can fill and they use that to get next to the victim
Common Attributes of Child Molesters:
— from A Profile of the Child Molester
- Pedophiles are notoriously friendly, nice, kind, engaging and likeable.
- Pedophiles target their victims, often insinuating themselves into that child’s life through their family, school, house of worship, sports, and hobbies.
- Pedophiles are professional con artists and are experts at getting children and families to trust them.
- Pedophiles will smile at you, look you right in the eye and make you believe they are trustworthy.
Dr. Phil reminds parents they must watch everyone in their child’s life!