Saturday, January 14, 2006

"Indigo" children?

NYT: Are They Here to Save the World?

I have met some blue-hued children. They were desperately ill, on ventilators, in a Peds ICU. But “Indigo Children” breathe normally. They are called “Indigo” because a psychic discovered their “blue aura,” as reported (with earnestly straight face) in the NYT. (Does “balanced reporting” mean that you give equal time to facts and to magic?)

These children are said to have traits that some might call “hyperactive,” and others call “undisciplined.” But the article quotes some true believers. They state that “Indigo Children” represent an advance in human evolution, and will bring peace to earth. Are there any studies of these children? No, say the psychiatrists. It is a fantasy, a fairy tale. It tells us something about the parents – their needs, their wishes. How does it affect the kids?

The psychiatrist at Follow Me Here observes:
I have treated ADHD for a long time in my psychiatric practice but have been appalled by its burgeoning and unsystematic, laughably faddish overdiagnosis. It is now a wastebasket diagnosis...

While I have no affinity for diagnosis by aura, I think Carroll and Tober may be overcompensating for the overpathologizing with an equally silly lionization of the 'ADHD child'. On the other hand, I do think that some children come to be seen as having attention deficit disorder in the classroom because the stultifying curriculum does not hold their interest and they are all over the map seeking stimulation. In my children's school system, the townwide parent interest group for gifted and talented children is full of the parents of children with different, and often difficult, learning styles, and it is no accident.
If you choose to delve further, be sure to bring your Field Guide. You may also wish to consult the Museum of Hoaxes and the Skeptic’s Dictionary.

At 11D, a commenter reports:
…now, after all these years, I finally have a diagnosis for my son: he's not a smart but annoying child who won't stop yakking. He's an indigo! There's only one problem: he spends the majority of his mental energies scheming for more television and snacks, not thinking about environmental issues. Maybe his aura is Snickers colored?

Update: see Liz's excellent post, and her comment below. So, the kids risk a narcissistic blow, from their inability to manage school or discipline; their developing egos then might take another hit, in the opposite direction, from the idealizing, magical fantasies of the parents...


Blogger Mikes Kenyere Egyesület said...

In your children's school system, the townwide parent interest group for gifted and talented children is ful of the parents?
Oh, I think, that is good

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz here, from I Speak of Dreams. I've a long post on the indigo delusion, including links to posts by parents of autistic children .

Here's what Chris Locke said, in his post Mood Indigo:

By laying these harebrained expectations on kids, the New Agers are building a whole generation of narcissists. I don't mean stuck-up egotists. We're talking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), in which the child never develops a genuine sense of self because he or she is too busy attempting to live out the fantasies of a delusional and psychologically abusive parent. This requirement to embody by proxy the parent's own grandiose "spiritual" dreams of power and glory almost invariably results in lasting damage to the child -- and often to the people that child will come into contact with as an adult.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

What an empty century we must be living in if people cannot simply love their children for what they are and must invent fantasies.

4:25 PM  
Blogger bp_hockey_chick said...

These children are said to have traits that some might call “hyperactive,” and others call “undisciplined.” But the article quotes some true believers. They state that “Indigo Children” represent an advance in human evolution, and will bring peace to earth

That's really quite interesting. During one of my...hmmm, to describe it of my more inspired bouts of mania and ever-present paranoia, I came to the conclusion that people with bipolar disorder were the next stage in human evolution, that the discomforts of our mania were simply growing pains as we lurched forward in evolution past the milestones of acceptable behaviour to where we as the Brave New World should be.

And then they upped my medication.

Interesting. Maybe I should share my meds.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel (et al.) –

I’m not sure that the “emptiness” of our (current) century is well reflected, as you imply, by parents’ failures to fully accept and unconditionally love their children. It strikes me that the parents’ reactions (“inventing fantasies”) to their children’s behaviors is more a reflection of how full our century is - of unrealistic social demands made upon ill-equipped parents. Ill-equipped in various ways, including how to be effective in the face of their children’s “problems,” or in the face of (largely internalized) social expectations of “good parenting.”

My guess is that the parents at issue here are at a loss with their own children and rather than accept their own negative self-assessments (i.e. their internal little voice of “I’m a lousy parent”) they cover up with such fantasies. (BTW, I don’t mean to imply that such parents should accept such self-assessments, but that they should (or at least could) notice them and deal powerfully with them. This might create a space for themselves of growth and development as parents, which would then benefit their children and the community at large.)

P.S. - Not that your view is incompatible with the above, just that you sounded more judgmental of the parents than I would like (at least, you sounded that way in my head <giggle>). As I see it, the problem is a systemic one, including children with real physiological and psychological dysfunction, parents with unrealistic expectations (mostly of themselves), societal “norms” that shift too much responsibility to the parents, a general culture of illness, and a clear nutritional imbalance between low-glycemic index carbohydrates vs. good ol’ Merikan beef! (Okay, I made the last one up…)

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I ranted about this topic just a few days ago myself, here. I am happy to see I wasn't completely off the mark, in the opinion of people who know more than I do about this sort of thing!

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the color of the eyes determine which child is Indigo or not? How about super intelligence? Watch this child Adora Svitak (published author at age seven, internationally as well, a book of 296 pages) to see for yourself.

9:32 AM  
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Blogger Bill Marshall said...

Carl Jung once wrote about a jar of pebbles. He said that if you knew the exact weight and measurements of all the pebbles in the jar you could compute a statistically average stone, and yet there might not be a single pebble in the jar that meets that average. Even if they could, I doubt any of the pebbles would want to morph into that statistical average.

The point Jung was getting at, of course, was that there is no normal, and yet we act as though there is. We have so narrowed the highway called normal that we have begun medicating people who can’t seem to navigate within its narrow boundaries. We look at statistical averages and Bell curves as though they were the holy grail, and if you are 1, or, God forbid, 2 standard deviations outside that curve we do everything to drag you back in.

We are in the middle of a massive traffic jam because we built our highway without enough lanes to accommodate the traffic. How do we go about widening highway normal? We accept differences, and we accept ourselves. Acceptance means non-judgment. If you happen to be a dweller within the Bell curve then stay there. It’s the you that you have created. But, if you get the urge every now and then to go off-road there are plenty of vehicles today to traverse the terrain.

If the world is squeezing you onto highway normal when you are an off-road kind of person, then, as you know, a four-door sedan cannot corral a four-wheeler coursing through the Sierra Nevada unless you allow yourself to be corralled. So, when our culture tries to medicate you so you’ll fit into highway normal, resist. You are already perfect. Accept that and accept me.
Bill Marshall

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...,,1713123,00.html

Prodigy on a mission to turn children into lovers of literature

She dashes off poems and reads Voltaire in her spare time. Now Adora, eight, is coming to tell British pupils how to write

Anushka Asthana and Matthew Ogborn
Sunday February 19, 2006
The Observer
Adora Svitak loves to read and write. Over the past 18 months she has had a 296-page book published and written 400 short stories and nearly 100 poems. Typing at 80 words a minute, she has produced 370,000 words while reading up to three books a day. The last novel she finished was Voltaire's Candide. Not bad for an eight-year-old.
As if that wasn't enough, the child prodigy has also made it her mission to persuade other youngsters to ditch their computer games and pick up a book or a pen.
'When I was little I thought everyone in the world liked to read, because it was so fun,' said Adora. 'But then I realised that was not exactly true. I want other kids to read and write more all over the world, because it helps them to understand things better.'
Adora tours schools in her native Seattle, demonstrating touch-typing and carrying out PowerPoint presentations on how she learnt to write and why it is fun to read.
She takes in props, such as cuddly toys, to show how things around her inspire story ideas. One of her slides reads: 'If I saw a black cat near my house, I could make up a whole story about a witch and the family she had cursed.'
In June she hopes to come to Britain to convince children here of the joy of reading. But some have questioned whether she will get as warm a welcome as she does in America. Children who have struggled with reading might feel patronised, said one child psychologist.
And few will be able to understand the difficult books that Adora can tackle in a morning. She reads widely, from fiction to history and biography. She was only four when she started writing stories, but her writing really took off when her mother bought her a laptop at six. At seven, her first book, Flying Fingers, a mix of her own fiction and writing tips for others, was published. She already has a deal for her second book, a collection of poetry.
Adora is supported by Joyce, who is an interpreter. But she insists the campaign is Adora's own doing. 'She does this off her own back,' she said. 'She understands what she is doing, but we do encourage and support her.' Their decision to come to the UK comes after figures showed that 52 per cent of five-year-olds failed to reach literacy, language and development targets.
Reading for pleasure is one way to push up achievement, according to Viv Bird, director of Reading is Fundamental, a project run by the National Literacy Trust. She said peer-to-peer encouragement was very important: 'It is fantastic that Adora is getting people thinking about books. I just hope her trip is not met with too much cynicism.'
Bird said it would be good if Adora teamed up with local children who were also writing books.
One British success is keen to meet Adora. Libby Rees, author of Help, Hope and Happiness - a self-help book for children whose parents are divorcing - said: 'It would be fun to meet someone who has done something like me. I really hope I have encouraged children to write.'
Libby, who is 10, is set to host her own Trisha-style chat show later this year. Charles Faulkner, of her publishers, Aultbea Publishing, said it was the honest and positive outlook of children that made their writing unique. 'It is not just their age, but the quality of work is very refreshing,' he added. 'These children are exceptionally bright and ahead of their years in school.'
Adora has the reading age of 20, according to her teachers. But success hasn't gone to her head.
'She is not arrogant at all,' said her writing teacher, Felisa Rogers. 'She is above average ability, but we make sure we tell her that this is because of her hard work.'
Adora the author
Prince Garrick scornfully tossed aside a beautifully gold-embossed leather-bound book. 'Peasant's trash,' he scoffed to the trembling minion who had presented the gift.
'B-beg p-pardon, y-your sup-superior h-highness, I n-never meant no h-harm,' the servant stuttered, stepping back and tripping over an ornately designed china pitcher.'
• Extract from Flying Fingers

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It ALL comes down to this: if you think "indigo children" is a load of crap, good for you, if, on the other hand, you still believe in "add", you belong in a mental institution. Seriously.

10:03 PM  

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