- January 26th, 2006

M. Night Shyamalan may have done a disservice to many with his movie, The Sixth Sense. Although it's a fine movie, it led a large contingent of parents to wonder... and believe... that their kid was "psychic" and saw "dead people".

Are kids more psychic? Are they more likely to see ghosts?

Our studies have shown this may be the case... judging by the amount of reports we get from parents who's children report seeing them... but one needs to look a little more carefully and understand a basic truth... Kids are (and should be) first and foremost, kids.

First of all, and you may think this is a bad joke or the sign of a horrible "sceptic"... but it's not... a lot of parents saw a young Haley Joel Osment and thought he was a very cute young boy... just like their kid... and the way parents tend to dress their kids in outfits that look great on "the other kid", some parents wanted their kid to be just like the character in the movie... and fought like mad to prove their child had "special qualities" when their progeny told them they saw a ghost. We had two mothers on our message board way back when arguing over who's kid was MORE psychic... One wonders if they really talked to their kids about it first?

Most kids "see things" adults don't... this is a combination of two things.

The first is that, indeed, they have growing imaginations. Again, this seems like a "cop-out", but bear with me...

The second is, as we mature and learn, we are taught to "filter" things in the environment. If you see a strange shadow briefly, as an adult, you ignore it and move on. Nine-times out of ten, the incident is forgotten within seconds as our brains tell us that the incident was very unimportant.

A child, on the other hand, will examine and question the shadow... and want to know more about it... and fixate on it.

Combine this with a (hopefully) encouraged imagination and you may get a "story" about the shadow...

Now, you might have a kid who legitimately does relay things they have seen/experienced... or you may get one who employs a bit of imagination to make things more interesting... not necessarily just for you... but for themselves too.

The best thing a parent can do when they have a child who's "seeing ghosts" is...

#1: Don't over-encourage things.

Children always want to appease and even impress their parents. If a person over-does the encouragement of talking about what the child saw, the child will start telling the parent what they think they want to hear... not what's actually true.

#2: Don't stifle things.

If you completely squash what the child is saying, they will clam up... when what they are wanting to tell you could be very important. If you say Don't tell me about your silly ghosts! I don't believe you and you shouldn't be scared! then they will equate talking about their fears with you to being lectured and told they are wrong.

...a happy medium should be built between the two things above when dealing with a child.

#3: Ask them why they think the "ghosts" are around.

Nine-times out of ten, this will tip you off as to what's happening. If the ghost is "going to get" your child... or is "menacing" the child so they can't be alone... or is making requests that would play into what the child might want (like sleeping with mom and dad,) then you might wish to see if possibly the "ghost" is just the kid's way of getting something he or she wants.

Of course, if the ghost gives a LOT of other information or details, you can approach a group like ours or even relatives, friends, and neighbours to see if maybe there is something to the stories... but remember, if you lead the child in their answers, they are likely to tell you what they think you want to hear.

#4: Before listening to advice, do some homework.

If your kid is only seeing ghosts at home, late at night, in their bedroom and you've experienced nothing in the house, don't assume that "All Children Are Psychic" and send your kid for "testing" through some sort of group or "specialist". Check to see if perhaps, it's the one place.. and one time... and again, DON'T lead your child... let them talk to you naturally.

#5: Ask yourself one question... is the child the only witness to things?

Rule one when looking into a ghost case is find out how many witnesses have experienced something at the same site. Usually, if many people live in a place and only one person is experiencing anything, that's a very rare situation... and the witness, as mean as this sounds, should be examined a touch more closely. Again, this is NOT an indication of "fraud" or "lies", but of simple looking towards every possible reason for "weird things" happening.

Other than these suggestions above, if someone with a child goes outside our website and group for advice, allow me to ABSOLUTELY say the following rules MUST be adhered to...

#1: If the child is experiencing physical symptoms that they or the parent/guardian attribute to some form of the paranormal, PLEASE seek the advice of a medical doctor first. Explain the details of the symptoms in full (you don't have to admit your hypothesis,) and make sure that your child is in good health other than these situations.

#2: If your child is on any medication for any reason, only stop using that medication if a medical doctor tells you so. DO NOT follow any other suggestions... especially from someone online. Seek your doctor's advice first.

#3: If someone tells you they can "teach" you child to be a better psychic OR they can "enhance" things... and want money... DON'T DO IT. No one can legally make that claim and no one can prove psychic abilities in the letter of the law or science. There are groups and people who can offer advice and even help if your child is disturbed or bothered by possible "psychic" ability... and they don't charge... but to be honest, if (and that is a very big "if",) your child has some special talent in these areas, they will grow and adapt with it normally as a rule. Perhaps wait until they are teens and can knuckle down on some good books as opposed to opening your wallet to someone or trusting someone to teach your child anything.

#4: If your child isn't psychic... or doesn't see ghosts... there's no shame in that. Most of us don't.

So please, if you feel your child is being pestered by dead people... or is psychic... please take what I've written to heart.

They may very well be psychic... or they could be lonely and afraid of the dark... or they could just be using a good imagination.

Realistically, all three of the above options are fine... and there's no harm in checking first before making any decisions or proclamations.

Matthew James Didier