Kids Who See Ghosts A Guide for Parents

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by Caron Goode

Kathy’s Childhood Ghost Kathy lives in Massachusetts and tells a story she remembers from age four. The story typifies what a child might imagine or encounter when left alone all day. Your children may relate similar experiences, and you might pay them no heed because you, like Kathy’s mom, are busy. Yet the strange events so impacted Kathy that she clearly remembers the ghost forty years later. Was he a ghost or an imaginary friend?

Kathy was the youngest of four children, all of whom went to school during the day. Around age four she was at home with her mom, who was usually taking a nap, making the beds or tending house. Kathy occupied herself by watching television, and one day this little boy, who appeared to be about the age of ten, was there with her. He would appear from behind the armchair, and when Kathy’s mom or sibling walked by, he disappeared behind it.

Kathy called him Peter. He was tall and thin with big ears and reminded Kathy of Mickey Mouse. He would pop out around the armchair and sit on the floor next to her. They would play and get books, which would fall from the shelves. One day a lamp fell off the table and broke.

If something in the house upset Kathy’s mother, she would say, “Why did you do this?” and she scolded Kathy. Kathy honestly said she didn’t do it.

Mom would say, “Who did it?”

“Peter did it.”

“Who’s Peter?”

“Peter the ghost. He lives behind the chair right there.”

When Peter heard people coming he would say, “Gotta go.” Then he’d get up, run behind the chair and disappear into the floor. Kathy remembers that Peter seemed to be a resident of the house. He was Kathy’s playmate for about a year and a half. When Kathy was five her family moved and she never saw or heard from Peter again.

Prime Time for Ghost Friends

A child usually sees a ghost or spirit for the first time during their early years, when their brains are proportionately135 percent larger than an adult brain. Young childhood is a time of vivid imagination, extended brain functions and easy shifting from one brain wave state to another. By interacting with the environment, a child’s brain activates and develops only the potential neural networks that match or prove to be useful in his or her environment.

From age two to six, a child’s brain cannot distinguish between conception/perception that is inner-generated and that which is outer-generated. In other words, there are no filters or boundaries of perceptions. To a toddler, people on television look the same as people in real life and so does the spirit of Grandmother who watches over her grandson. It is during this time of the unbounded and expanded brain that children are most likely to experience and develop relationships with invisible friends, ghosts, angels and fairies.

Brain Frequencies in the Early Years

I asked author Michael Mendizza to discuss children’s brain-wave states and kids who see ghosts. Mendizza, along with Joseph Chilton Pearce, coauthored Magical Parent Magical Child: The Art of Joyful Parenting. He is also the founder of Touch the Future, a nonprofit learning-design center. Mendizza explains, “If children see a form or something that the adult doesn’t see, they quickly learn to screen that out or hide it, because that’s not normal in their parents’ environment. The ghost is not part of what the culture reflects; it’s not part of the bonding experience. It would be an unbonded experience for the child to see forms that the parent doesn’t see.

“ ‘Bonding’ refers to a shared meaning and the word ‘bonded’ is used in the sense of shared meaning of ‘ghost’ between adult and child. A parent and child are constantly checking in with one another to say, ‘Do you understand? Do you see what I see?’ That’s part of renewing the bond of sharing a worldview, establishing the social network.”

Mendizza explained, “We have these different brain frequencies as the brain goes through its stages of growth and development; it changes and adds higher frequencies or different frequencies to its brain-wave patterns, which correspond to states of perception. An interesting point is that if the adult culture saw what we call ghosts, the kids would grow up seeing ghosts too. If the adult culture doesn’t see ghosts, then the child doesn’t have a model to mirror.”

“Psychic” is Absolutely Normal

At ages 11 to 14, the brain goes through a major cleansing process and physically dissolves the unmyelinated potential neural connections that were available in the younger brain. If these potential connections weren’t made, they are erased. The brain reorders itself and, at that point, most people stop “seeing.”

Mendizza states, “What we call ‘psychic’ is absolutely normal for that early brain that has all these networks and is wide open. Then after the brain reorganization around age 11, because we have diminished our potential, we look back and say, ‘Oh, that’s psychic, that’s extra, that’s not normal.’ But psychic, I’m saying, is quite normal.”

But Not All Kids Shut Down after Age 11

In my professional work as a counselor and psychotherapist, I have observed that the pubescent years of changing hormones also opens or reactivates psychic ability in tweens. Were the talents always there? Did they just shut down for a while? Does a new intuition open for children between the ages of 9 and 12? The importance of positive parental influence on a child’s worldview and early development cannot be emphasized enough. When a child sees a ghost, he or she turns to mom or dad for support, problem solving, or a fix to the situation. How the parent responds will influence the child for the rest of his or her life. Yes, that is true for all life events, but how a parent handles kids seeing ghosts is especially critical because a child’s integrity is in question, and the parent’s integrity may be questioned by the child. Both parent and child deserve respectful answers and ways to connect with each other and the world around them.

 2010. Dr. Goode is a licensed counselor, author, speaker, and coach. She is the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents International. She recently authored Nurture Your Child’s Gift (2008), the award-winning parenting book, Raising Intuitive Children (New Page, 2009) and her newest book, Kids Who See Ghosts.(2010). <>.