Today, I am happy to be the fifth stop on the blog tour for Dr. Goode’s newest book, Kids Who See Ghosts, guide them through their fears, available June1, 2010. If you missed the third day of the blog tour, find out more about the book on http://spiritauthors.com/news/a-real-spirit-author-caron-goodes-book-kids-who-see-ghosts
Today, our discussion is on the developing brain of younger children and their imaginary playmates.
What is the relationship among brain waves, what children see, and ghosts? Why do young children see things that grown-ups don’t see? By interacting with the environment, a child’s brain activates and develops only the potential networks that match or prove to be useful in the environment.
In the early years, between ages two to six, the brain has not distilled enough to distinguish between conception/perception that is inner generated and outer generated. It is usually during this time that young children experience and develop relationships with imaginary playmates and what we might call ghosts.
Between ages seven and eleven, the brain comes to a different order, and the dreamy influence of early childhood diminishes in most children. At age eleven, the brain flushes and dissolves the unused potential neural networks, fixing the brain in its current relationship with the environment. This effectively prevents any perception experience that is not in sync with the child’s or family’s environment/model/culture. Thus, a lot of children may no longer see ghosts, energy forms, or spirits after puberty.
Then at ages eleven to fourteen, the brain goes through this big cleansing process and physically dissolves the unmyelinated potential neural connections that were available in the early brain. We either use it or lose it, and by age eleven, nature assumes that you are going to be using everything that the environment calls for you to use. It says, “We don’t need this extra stuff. Let’s clean house and wash it away.” At that point, most people stop “seeing.”
If the child sees 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 bonded experience.
So 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.
It is perfectly normal for children to have ghosts and\or imaginary playmates in the early years, as late as age eight. Surveys estimate that 65% of all children have imaginary playmates during the first eight years of life. These children develop better social and communication skills than their peers, and their heightened creativity and imagination are now recognized as healthy and normal.
Seeing a ghost or imaginary playmates might be a way a child copes with stressors in their lives. Lucy was eight when her parents divorced, which caused financial setbacks for her mother and father. Both of Lucy’s parents lived in apartments, and she went back and forth between the two homes. Sleeping on her dad’s couch when she visited him on weekends was her normal routine.
One night, Lucy woke up when she felt her favorite quilt being tugged. She opened her eyes and saw a young girl pulling the quilt off of her toes. Lucy wasn’t frightened, only curious. She closed her eyes again, thinking she was dreaming and sleepy. If the girl were still there when she opened her eyes, she would be her friend. She opened her eyes and—voila!— the girl was still there.
The ghost returned with Lucy to her mom’s apartment, and Lucy spoke with her friend, sometimes when she was alone in her room or sometimes before she slept at night. Lucy told her mom about her friend and said they had been conversing for about a year.
Did something bring the ghost to Lucy? Or did Lucy conjure up her new friend via her imagination, in response to the loneliness and stress she felt after her parents’ divorce?
In Kids Who See Ghosts, you’ll read several times that the professionals and psychics who work with children who see and have imaginary playmates ask parents to
1. Listen to their children.
2. Don’t dismiss them or put them down.
3. Ask questions.
4.Observe how the child interacts with the spirit, and under- stand any life circumstances that might be influencing the child’s perceptions.
When parents have the information they need, they feel more confident in helping a child overcome fear and put any event into perspective. Those four steps help the child stay connected to the parent’s heart and allow him or her the time and opportunity for further exploration and understanding. Don’t think that you can shield children from fear or feel that you have to take care of all their fears. Kids learn resilience just like parents learned it by gaining life experience with confidence in knowing mom or dad support them.
If you enjoyed this article about imaginary playmates, please visit the next spot for the sixth day of the tour, http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com, where Dr. Goode speaks about the writing process for Kids Who See Ghosts.