Research shows that childhood spiritual moments are commonplace. Children are more receptive than adults to the subtleties of the non-material world which surrounds them.
They are more accepting of spiritual communication and paranormal phenomena, until they are taught to fear, disregard, or suppress their experiences.
A thoughtful and compassionate adult, be it a parent, relative, teacher, or doctor, may play a vital role in the life of a child who has had a spiritual experience.
The child may look to you for confirmation, comfort, or simply to share:
- Be a respectful and attentive listener
- Encourage a child’s personal development
- Accept their unique worldview
What spiritual experiences do children have?
Children have a broad spectrum of spiritual experiences, as adults do, which may occur at any age, and through different circumstances. A child may be in good health when the experience occurs; sick, injured, or dying. They may have one or many experiences.
Whatever the cause, intensity, or duration of the experience, research shows they are not dreams, fantasies, hallucinations, or delusions but REAL experiences. In fact, a child may say to you: It was realer than real!
- Memories of a spiritual life that pre-dates their current lifetime e.g. living in heaven and waiting to be born on earth
- Memories of life inside their mother’s womb
- Memories of their past lives on earth
- Awareness of multiple lives (living multi-forms simultaneously)
- An out-of-body experience (OBE)
- Encounters with the divine light or light beings e.g. angels and religious figures
- Encounters with beings from other planets (ETs)
- Communications with deceased loved ones
- A near-death experience (often triggered by a physical, psychological, or emotional crisis)
- Extrasensory perceptions
- Visions, sounds, and scents of heaven
- Automated creativity
What to do when a child shares their spiritual experience
A spiritual experience may feel completely ‘normal’ to a child and so they may not even think to bring it up in conversation with you, immediately. They may remark on it rather matter-of-factly.
They may think everyone can see a dazzling light as they go off to sleep, or rainbow colours around people, or hear nanna talking to them at playtime (though she’s been dead for a while!).
On the other hand, a child may recognise they have experienced something extraordinary and want to share it with you, and perhaps, with others too. They may be frightened and confused by the event and want to feel protected by you.
It’s vital for adults, and especially parents, teachers, nurses, and doctors, to take a child seriously when they share a spiritual or paranormal experience.
Don’t criticise or denounce the reality of the experience, even if what is being said goes against your point of view, otherwise, it may result in anxiety and depression for the child, now or in years to come.
If you as the parent are able to listen open-mindedly to your child, paying them regular attention, to note how the experience affects them over time, you will be able to determine what kind of assistance your child needs in integrating the experience.
Often a spiritual experience is fantastic and a child wants to share it with you, however, it can be really difficult to vocalise the immense power and splendour of God and heaven.
It’s a bit like trying to put all the ocean into a teacup! It may take a child time to process the enormity of what has transpired. It is therefore beneficial to ask questions in a casual manner, at different times, without bombarding them.
Helpful tips for supporting your spiritual child:
- Listen to the child when they share their spiritual experience
- Ask questions about their spiritual experience to show your interest
- Accept what they are telling you as being real for them
- Assure the child they are safe and loved
- Assure them their spiritual experience is natural and others have them too
- Ask them to draw a picture representing their spiritual experience
- Ask them to make a collage representing their spiritual experience
- Ask them to write a story about their spiritual experience
- Ask them to write a poem or song about their spiritual experience
- Suggest books and movies the child may like about spiritual experiences (e.g. Harry Potter)
- Ask if they would like to speak to someone who has had a similar experience
- Let them know they may share this and any future spiritual experience with you, at any time
If you feel your child is not coping well with their spiritual experience, for instance, they become withdrawn or preoccupied, then seek further help from a health care professional who is open to spiritual experiences.
Don’t expose your child to anyone who is dismissive of their reality. Do research online. There are many websites on the topic of spiritual (paranormal, mystical, psychic … ) experiences.
If you are a parent or caregiver of a child who has had a near-death experience or near-death-like experience, I recommend you view the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) website for its information on children’s NDEs and after-effects. You can do so by clicking here.
You may also like to visit Dr. PMH Atwater’s website here. She is an NDE authority and has extensively researched and written about children’s spiritual experiences.