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Parents With Their Heads Up Their Ass Interviewed By New York Times
Narcissistic parents find a wacky new way to tell themselves and their children how special and gifted they are. From an article by John Leland:

At David's public school, where he is in a program for gifted and talented second graders, a teacher told Ms. Badillo that he is arrogant for a boy his age, and teachers since preschool have described him as bright but sometimes disruptive. But Ms. Badillo, a homeopath and holistic health counselor, has her own assessment. To her David's traits - his intelligence, empathy and impatience - make him an "indigo" child.

"He told me when he was 6 months old that he was going to have trouble in school because they wouldn't know where to fit him," she said, adding that he told her this through his energy, not in words. "Our consciousness is changing, it's expanding, and the indigos are here to show us the way," Ms. Badillo said. "We were much more connected with the creator before, and we're trying to get back to that connection."

If you have not been in an alternative bookstore lately, it is possible that you have missed the news about indigo children. They represent "perhaps the most exciting, albeit odd, change in basic human nature that has ever been observed and documented," Lee Carroll and Jan Tober write in The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived (Hay House). The book has sold 250,000 copies since 1999 and has spawned a cottage industry of books about indigo children.

Hay House said it has sold 500,000 books on indigo children. A documentary, "Indigo Evolution," is scheduled to open on about 200 screens - at churches, yoga centers, college campuses and other places - on Jan. 27 (locations at www.spiritualcinemanetwork.com).

Indigo children were first described in the 1970's by a San Diego parapsychologist, Nancy Ann Tappe, who noticed the emergence of children with an indigo aura, a vibrational color she had never seen before. This color, she reasoned, coincided with a new consciousness.

The only color I see here is brown, and there's a whole load of it in need of shoveling.

"To me these children are the answers to the prayers we all have for peace," said Doreen Virtue, a former psychotherapist for adolescents who now writes books and lectures on indigo children. She calls the indigos a leap in human evolution. "They're vigilant about cleaning the earth of social ills and corruption, and increasing integrity," Ms. Virtue said. "Other generations tried, but then they became apathetic. This generation won't, unless we drug them into submission with Ritalin."

If we can't drug the parents into submission, let's at least try to muzzle them.

Dr. Barkley likened the definition of indigo children to an academic exercise called "Barnum statements," after P. T. Barnum, in which a person is given a list of generic psychological characteristics and becomes convinced that they apply especially to him or her. The traits attributed to indigo children, he said, are so general that they "could describe most of the people most of the time," which means that they don't describe anything.

Parents who attribute their children's inattention or disruptive behavior to vibrational energy, he said, risk delaying proper diagnosis and treatment that might help them.

To indigos and their parents, however, such skepticism is the usual resistance to any new and revolutionary idea. America has always had a soft spot for the supernatural. A November 2005 poll by Harris Interactive found that one American in five believes he or she has been reincarnated; 40 percent believe in ghosts; 68 percent believe in angels. It is not surprising then that indigo literature, which incorporates some of these beliefs along with common anxieties about child psychology, has found a receptive audience.

I, too, was reincarnated. I was a maggot in past life named Joan Of Arc.

Ms. Jackson compared people who do not recognize indigos to Muggles, the name used by J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books to describe ordinary people who have no connection with magic. "I would say 90 percent of the world is like the Muggles," she said. "You don't talk about this stuff with them because it's going to scare them."

In the TriBeCa coffee shop, David Minh Wong continued to play with his coins and talk to his mother. Ms. Badillo and her neighbor Sandra McCoy said they have family members who don't believe in the indigo idea. Ms. McCoy sat with her goddaughter, Jasmine Washington, 14. In contrast to David, Jasmine listened serenely, waiting for questions.

Yet Jasmine too is an indigo child, Ms. McCoy said: "I always knew there was something different about her. Then when I saw something about indigos on television, I knew what it was." Like many other indigos Jasmine is home-schooled.

For Jasmine, who often sensed she was different from other children, especially in the public schools, the designation of indigo is a comfort.

"The kids now are very different, so it's good that there's a name for it, and people pay attention to what's different about them," Jasmine said. Like the women at the table she said that indigos have a special purpose: "To help the world come together again. If something bad happens, I always think I can fix it. Since we have these abilities, we can help the world."

Does anybody these days not have a child who's "gifted"? I have friends in New York City with kids (not assholes like these people), and I've had great respect for the (highly literate, highly educated) dad ever since I overheard him tell his 15-year-old son, who is very bright, but was having a hard time in school, "You know, you don't have to go to college if you don't want to. College isn't for everyone."

The kid is going to go to college, it turns out. But, imagine having that pressure lifted by a dad who doesn't feel compelled to live his life out by bragging about his kids.

Posted by aalkon at January 13, 2006 8:21 AM

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Comments

We should be teaching Carl Sagan's Baloney Test in primary schools. What is it with all this junk science? Why is it so attractive? Is it because real science is too hard, but people want to be associated with it?

Posted by: Norman at January 13, 2006 1:06 AM

Not only is college not for everyone, but there are many ways to attend college if a kid DOES wish to attend.

There's not rule that says you have to do it all in 4 years.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at January 13, 2006 3:36 AM

Gee, Amy, you know what this is: it's the first sign of the Vorlons manipulating our DNA, to produce telepaths in time for the coming Shadow War circa 2260.

And the Scientologists are backing the Shadows; what better connection to space-going octopi can you get than the Drakh's parasitic "keepers"? (Ref: "Babylon 5")

Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.

Posted by: Radwaste at January 13, 2006 5:01 AM

One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips of all time shows Calvin and Hobbes, and Calvin is explaining, "I asked my mother if I was a gifted child, and she said, 'Well, I certainly wouldn't have PAID for you.'"

The last panel shows an angry Calvin telling Hobbes, "You can relate this story to the authorities when they ask where I went wrong."

Posted by: Patrick at January 13, 2006 5:06 AM

I wonder if I could get a job at one of those schools. I would maliciously conjure up a "psychic vacuum" and advise the parents that I permanently sucked out all the indigo from their auras, then psychically performed a sort of psychic lobotomy to prevent the indigo from regenerating.

You think anyone would try to sue me for it???

Posted by: Patrick at January 13, 2006 5:10 AM

How about we make some indigo parents? That is, black & blue.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at January 13, 2006 5:26 AM

a teacher told Ms. Badillo that he is arrogant for a boy his age, and teachers since preschool have described him as bright but sometimes disruptive. But Ms. Badillo, a homeopath and holistic health counselor, has her own assessment. To her David's traits - his intelligence, empathy and impatience - make him an "indigo" child.

All I hear is another parent being an apologist for a kid who acts like an asshole. I knew kids like that when I was a child, and apparently nothing's changed.

The sad thing is, David's going to spend his entire life thinking he's something special when the truth is no one in the real world cares what colour his aura is.

Posted by: Sheila at January 13, 2006 5:47 AM

Wow. It's like Scientology without all the overhead and fees!

Posted by: Hoodlumman at January 13, 2006 7:11 AM

"They're vigilant about cleaning the earth of social ills and corruption, and increasing integrity," Ms. Virtue said. "Other generations tried, but then they became apathetic. This generation won't, unless we drug them into submission with Ritalin."

That's when my Coca-cola shot through my nose.... seems to me the Ritalin didn't make at least one apathetic...

Posted by: eric at January 13, 2006 9:03 AM

he is arrogant for a boy his age, and teachers since preschool have described him as bright but sometimes disruptive. David's traits - his intelligence, empathy and impatience - make him an "indigo" child.

Heh-- he could also have Asperger's Syndrome.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at January 13, 2006 9:11 AM

Yes, "Indigo" children usually meet the criteria for either Aspergers or ADHD. I too was amazed when I happened upon a magazine about this. It would be nice if schools could accomodate every stripe of kids that learn and behave every different way, but that's not going to happen, and all kids need to learn certain standards of behavior anyway. If the parents of these kids have the knowledge, patience, time and money to homeschool them, then I suppose that's fine. Just spare us the indigo blabber. Unfortunately there's not much educational alternative for kids like my son, who is bright and curious and funny but feels absolutely no motivation to succeed in school or please his teachers or parents. I suppose he's the type of kid who could benefit from homeschooling, but 1) I couldn't possibly teach algebra or chemistry 2) we'd probably kill each other within days and 3) who the hell would support the family? I just figure school is his chance to work on socialization, and then he can read when he gets home.

Posted by: Pat Saperstein at January 13, 2006 11:11 AM

Hey, excuse me but the indigo kids are so yesterday's news! Now it's the crystal kids. Umm, I think the difference is that the crystal kids aren't assholes. Or something.

It is kind of too bad and weird when parents just can't admit that their kid is obnoxious and poorly socialized. And these parents usually are convinced that if they yell at the kid or issue a direct order, they are terrible parents who are damaging their children. And then there is the unpleasant fact that so many people who have children really shouldn't.

Posted by: Harris Pilton at January 13, 2006 2:23 PM

Amy, I totally thought of you when I read that article! What bull.

Posted by: MissPinkKate at January 13, 2006 4:04 PM

My kids and I are all ADD--how my husband stands it, I can't imagine (perhaps his biking over 100 miles a week should be a clue). We've been poked, prodded, tested and observed as part of a UCLA study for a number of years. And yet, I had a mother at a CHADD meeting tell me that my kids couldn't possibly be ADD--they were too well-mannered. I assured her that a cattle prod is a great device.
But--David Geffen didn't go to college and is a zillionaire who "dated" Cher. Do I want my son to be David Geffen? Show of hands, please.

Posted by: KateCoe at January 13, 2006 5:35 PM

I have been diagnosed with ADHD, and take Ritalin, but I was raised by parents I describe as "loving fascists." I thought I could fly as a child, and I still sort of recall doing it at Shiawassee park in Farmington, Michigan...but the idea that I could kick some adult's chair or be noisy in public did not exist in my known universe.

We didn't have the ADD boy behavior problems there are today during my childhood in Michigan. Are children today so biologically different? Or is the difference what I think it is: Brats got their little asses spanked red by their parents. They didn't get commended for having an "aura" that's a little blue.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 13, 2006 5:39 PM

Indigo children?!?

I'm still trying to figure out why so many kids these days have horrible peanut allergies!

Posted by: David at January 13, 2006 6:36 PM

Truth be told, had I been evaluated by an aura specialist, I myself would have been described as an "indigo" child. In grade school, the learning was so easy, that I found my mind wandering most of the time. I was very impatient, still am. And I was quite empathetic. When someone was upset, I felt myself getting upset, too. Whether or not their upset had to do with me or not.

I guess an alcoholic father who hated kids (including -- nay, especially -- his own) was never the cause of my poor social skills. But it seems my aura has been infused with dark blue-gray. And I certainly never considered it a blessing.

Posted by: Patrick at January 13, 2006 7:37 PM

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