It is perfectly normal to see an adult interacting with a child in a social situation. Parents and children, Teachers/Tutors and children, Nannies (ayahs) and children, Older siblings and children.

Sometimes, something doesn’t feel right. A lot of women have mentioned things like a “bad gut” feeling about a particular adult’s behaviour towards a child in a setting where adult-child interaction is a commonplace sight,say for example at a park or at the market. In many cases where alert women have actually managed to listen to their “gut” and avert further disasters (as was a case where a woman became suspicious of an elderly man and his behaviour towards a little girl and followed him. It turned out that the man and his wife were convicted serial child molestors who would have still been abusing children if this brave woman had not listened to her instincts and tracked them down).

Affection in any form, verbal, physical or simply via body language and reveal telltale symptoms that something is “just not right” in the situation. Here are a few things you need to look out for :

A person who –

Unnaturally controls the behaviour and decisions of a child?
Forces physical intimacy/affection on a child even when the child is clearly not comfortable with it.. (we call it “smothering the child with lust”)

Harps on teenage sexuality/issues and verbally obsesses over sex and sexuality during interactions with children and young adults
Makes it a point to spend “exclusive” time with the child

Is overly interested in “hanging out” with the kids, even more than their own age group
Regularly offers to babysit and take children out for “treats” and games

Spends excessive amounts of money on the children (gifts,movie tickets,sweets)
Frequently walks in on children/teens in the bathroom while they are showering
Allows children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate behavior

Is very in sync with current trends and fashions

If you feel that any of the above behaviour co-incides with the behavior of someone who sets your inner alarm bells ringing, do not panic. Instead, take deep breathes and consider the situation carefully. Assess the child’s reactions to the person/people concerned and speak with concerned authorities if required to.