“I see dead people.” ~Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense
Can kids really see ghosts?
I confronted this question five years ago when my firstborn, Sasha, was only 3 years old. I observed her playing with someone I couldn’t see. I asked her who she was playing with, and she said, “Kuya.” But we were only four in the house, and we didn’t have a Kuya with us. 👻👻👻
big or older bother
This matter hits close to home because I saw ghosts too when I was much younger. Yup, my third eye is open before my father closed it, so he said. I guess feelings of dread are just feelings of dread until you can accurately describe what your grandfather has worn while he lay peacefully inside his coffin by looking at him standing on the door. Hair-raising, isn’t it?
Looking at her then, she seemed not afraid at all. Looking back, I think I was more scared than she was. It’s a different realm, so to speak, and no one is prepared to handle such. Not me definitely, despite going through the same experience when I was younger.
How parents deal with their kids’ ghostly encounters
Now that I’m a mother, the question is: how I/we (Papa and I) should deal with it? My husband was very unenthusiastic about it, though he also believes in mythic creatures. 🧚🧚🧚 Oh well…
According to Caron B. Goode, author of Kids Who See Ghosts: How to Guide Them Through Fear, parents respond differently. Some parents experienced abject fear, but some would support their children, listening to their stories yet not acting on them. I also know parents who think of it as an intuitive gift that should be accepted. But, then, some parents would immediately seek doctors and therapists.
Goode also noted that the younger the child, the more delicate the situation will be because “the child’s psyche is open and fragile.” However, the parents are in the position to empower their children in facing their fears. It would help to be more compassionate about the entire situation.
How to deal with kids seeing ghosts
There is no formula here. But as parents, we just have to deal with it, not dismiss it. Remember that how you would react will significantly affect your child’s values and belief system, so tread carefully.
1) Encourage your child to talk more about the experience.
Conversations are powerful. The more your child gets to talk about her ghostly experience, the more comfortable she will be. Also, this is an excellent way to validate the said experience and how they are feeling about it.
Don’t tell your child “ghosts are not real,” “you’re just imagining things,” “you don’t know what you’re talking about,” or things like that. From the eyes of your child, everything is real.
2) Listen to your child attentively.
Talking about what she’s seen is therapeutic enough, knowing that someone is ready to listen to her. While it is true that kids have an imaginative tendency, the devil is in the details. Spooky, right? But you’d know there is nothing inventive with her stories because of the details.
Concrete details than abstract ones are definitely hard to doubt nor refute. So I asked Sasha to describe him. I got horrified because there were mentions of a “white t-shirt” and “bloodied face.”
3) Believe in your child.
Goode also states that it doesn’t matter whether you believe in ghosts or not. What matters in situations like this is that you believe in your child.
She might get scared, but this is entirely normal and understandable. You might get fearsome too. What you can help her with is in processing the fear. Of course, you want her to feel safe, so any assurance coming from you will help.
4) Lower the fear factor.
Freaking out will not help. But when faced with situations like this it’s either you’d want to know more or not hear about it anymore. So I took the first path. I asked her about it—where in the house it would appear, what time of day, is it alone, does it hurt her. Sure enough, I asked a lot of questions about Kuya because I wanted to understand more about it and gauge if she was scared or not.
However, I realized that it would be best to take the child’s lead about what she is willing to share with you. Don’t force your child to talk about it, definitely not in front of other people. You don’t want your child to feel humiliated, intimidated, or overwhelmed. But I did ask Sasha, and I would still ask her from time to time. And her stories are consistent.
Not long after, when Adele was the same age, she would laugh hysterically playing pretend with someone. When I asked her to hand me something, she grabbed what I was asking for, gave it to me, and hurried back outside. “Why the rush?” I asked her. Adele said, “So I can play with Kuya.” Oh no. Here we go with the pep talk again.
I also asked Adele about this Kuya. I regretted asking her, “Where is Kuya now?” because she immediately pointed at the back of the door. 😱😱😱
So think of this as an opportunity to move beyond fear while learning about the world of spirits. This is also a great way to start exploring different realities. Not to mention, child psychologists believe that having an imaginary friend is actually a sign of healthy development.
Over time, I realized why we would always turn to evil spirits or creatures when someone told us they have an imaginary friend. Shouldn’t we consider the good spirits and creatures first, such as guardian angels or… fairy godmothers?
Multo agad? ’Di ba pwedeng guardian angel muna?
Good point, right? Or not? Let me know in the comments below.