What Are Indigo Children?

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What does the phrase "Indigo child" mean?. Image by Erin Lester/Cultura/Getty Images

Raising Pagan kids can present unique and unusual challenges, and certainly few can be more of an issue if you've got a kiddo who displays unusual and occasionally disruptive behavior. While most people would see this as a good reason to get their child evaluated by a behavioral professional, in the Pagan community, there's a tendency to find magical reasons for what could be a medical or mental health problem. One of the common labels that high-energy Pagan children seem to end up with is that of the "Indigo child."

This is a tricky situation—obviously, you want to get your child the help he needs, but on the other, you don't want to stifle his creativity and spirit. First, let’s talk about the definition of Indigo Children.

Did You Know?

  • There’s no scientific basis for the concept of the Indigo child, but it became popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the metaphysical community.
  • Pediatric behavioral specialists have theorized that the entire social construct of the Indigo child stems from parents who refuse to admit that their child has a behavioral problem.
  • If your child’s issues prevent him from learning effectively, or if they prevent other kids from learning, a behavioral evaluation should be done.

What is an Indigo Child?

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The phrase “Indigo Child” is one that became popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the metaphysical community, and was a term used to describe children who are believed to possess special traits that made them “magical.” Often these traits were along a supernatural vein, such as psychic and paranormal abilities–telepathy, clairvoyance, astral projection, etc. The theory was that these children were magically gifted in a way that made them far more creative and empathetic than other, “regular” kids. There is even, in some circles, a school of thought that says these children are not even of this earth, and carry different DNA strands than the rest of us. Feel free to take that with a grain of salt.

There’s no scientific basis for the concept of the Indigo child, and later, the concept got stretched a bit, so that some parents who had children with unusual behavioral traits defined their kids as being Indigo children. This became a popular trend, particularly in the New Age community, and there were a few cases of children with learning disabilities whose parents refused intervention on the basis that their child was an Indigo child, and to try to change them would stifle their creativity.

Pediatric behavioral specialists have theorized that the entire social construct of the Indigo child stems from parents who refuse to admit that their child has a behavioral problem–often ADD or ADHD, or autistic spectrum disorders–and that labeling the child as being not only special, but superior to other kids, is a parental coping mechanism. There’s a ton of information out there about the subject, so let's not bog things down with any more detail. 

Behavioral Evaluation

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Okay, so now, let’s get to the meat of the matter.. Should you take your child in for a behavioral evaluation? If your youngster's behavior is so out of the norm that teachers have brought it to your attention, you’re doing your kiddo a disservice if you don’t get him evaluated. Remember, an evaluation is just that–an evaluation. It’s a way to find out, on a scientific level, what makes his little brain tick.

There are any number of behaviors that could cause some alarm or concern, and subsequently, there are many reasons why a child’s behavior might be out of the ordinary. He might have ADD or ADHD, sure. He also might have a nutritional deficiency or some other chemical imbalance that makes him act the way he does. He might not be getting enough sleep at night. He might be anxious about something that you’re unaware of. The possibilities are practically endless with a young child.

What About Medication?

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So on to the next question. Medication or not?

Well, first of all, that’s going to hinge upon whether or not a behavioral evaluation reveals something that can or should be medicated. Lots of kids with ADD and ADHD are medicated. Plenty are not. Some are functional without medication, some are not. There are some things that can’t be medicated, but can be kept in check by learning new coping mechanisms.

Whether you should medicate your child–for whatever reason–is not a question anyone can answer but you, because parenting choices are very personal decisions. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to keep a couple of things in mind.

First, if your child’s behavioral issues are such that they prevent him from learning effectively, or if they disrupt the classroom so much that he prevents other kids from learning, then there are definitely topics that must be addressed. Second, you need to focus on what is best for your family. Don’t worry about the opinion of strangers—Pagan or not—who believes your child’s magical spirit and creativity are more important than his (and your) mental well being. This isn’t about being a “Pagan enough” parent vs. being “unPagan,” but simply about being a parent, and about raising your child to someday be a functional and self-sufficient adult.

No matter what your child’s diagnosis is, don’t get hung up on labels. If you want to call him an Indigo child, feel free. If you think that’s a silly term to use, then skip it. It’s entirely up to you. Bottom line is that it’s up to you to be an advocate for your child, and do what is best for his growth and development, without worrying about the approval of others.

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Your Citation
Wigington, Patti. "What Are Indigo Children?" Learn Religions, Aug. 28, 2020, learnreligions.com/indigo-children-definition-2561810. Wigington, Patti. (2020, August 28). What Are Indigo Children? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/indigo-children-definition-2561810 Wigington, Patti. "What Are Indigo Children?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/indigo-children-definition-2561810 (accessed March 28, 2023).