The line differentiating a close, personal relationship between an adult and a child and one that is paving the way for potential abuse can be razor thin.
At first, they can look the same; a special bond between the two. The child will confide with the adult, share secrets and talk about their feelings. The adult is someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, is a mentor and a source of comfort.
But there’s a reason for the similarities: It’s called “grooming,” a slow-evolving process in which an adult predator can gain the trust and comfort of a child they target for abuse by taking advantage of certain vulnerabilities.