Other Religions Alternative Religions Determining If Your Child Is Involved in Satanism Share Flipboard Email Print Alternative Religions Satanic Beliefs and Creeds Overview Beliefs Mythological Figures By Catherine Beyer Wicca Expert M.A., History, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee B.A., History, Kalamazoo College Catherine Beyer is a practicing Wiccan who has taught religion in at Lakeland College in Wisconsin as well as humanities and Western culture at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. our editorial process Catherine Beyer Updated March 10, 2019 First off, if you are asking yourself “Is My Child Involved in the Occult/Satanism?” the answer is probably “no.” Some of the reasons you shouldn't be concerned about including the following: Occult practices are generally fairly complex. They aren't something one casually studiesThese things aren't the virgin-sacrificing, demon-summoning practices that Hollywood has led you to believe.Satanism you are probably fearing pretty much doesn't exist. Unfortunately, there are a variety of writers who have decided that the occult and Satanism are major forces in the world today and that they are tempting all of our teenagers all of the time. Some even put out lists of “warning signs” that your teen is involved. WARNING SIGNS OF DRUG OR OCCULTIC INVOLVEMENT Loss of interest in normal or family activitiesDrawings depicting mutilations, monsters, or violent symbolsRecurring nightmares and difficulty sleepingChange in eating habits, gaunt appearanceWritings concerning death, dying, or morbid themesFailing grades and/or distinct changes in study habitsAn unusual interest in horror filmsAn unusual interest in music with violent/death/suicide themes,Suicidal talkDistinct change in personal appearance and/or hygiene especially dark clothes or makeup, hairstyle changes, dressing seductivelyExcessive interest in fantasy role-playing gamesHearing voices, paranoia, fearsBelief or particular interest in psychic powersPreoccupation with violent thoughtsChange in reading materials, interest in the occult, ritualsWriting backward, writing mysteriouslyDevelopment of an attitude of extreme secrecyAggression toward family, teachers, and authority figuresContempt for traditional religion, anti-GodHarming animals – Abrupt change in friendsAn unusual interest in weaponry. Drugs are Not Occult First, note that this is a list of “drug or occultic involvement.” Drugs and occult practices – even the Hollywood version of occult practices – have nothing to do with each other. If your child has a drug problem, he needs rehab, not exorcism. Standard Teenage Behavior Most of these points simply indicate your teenager is, in fact, a teenager. Teenagers rebel. They don't listen to adults. They push boundaries. They dress weird. If they have stopped paying attention to their grades, might it simply be they are spending too much time playing sports or excessively using that new driver's license or hanging out with the new boyfriend or girlfriend? This list is fearmongering, suggesting extraordinary explanations for common behavior. Mental Health Issues Most of the rest of the things on this list has more to do with mental health. If your child is hearing voices, talking about suicide, or torturing animals, they need a doctor, not a lecture about Satanic influences. They are sick. There are dangerous things going on in their brains, things that have absolutely nothing to do with the occult or Satanism. That is nothing short of demonizing mental illness. Vague Warnings A few are so vague as to be useless. “An unusual interest in weaponry.” What counts as unusual? And how does weaponry indicate the occult? (Or drugs, in the case of this particular list.) If your child is obsessive about something, that can be problematic in and of itself, but it certainly doesn't require the occult. Very few teens can escape the scrutiny of lists such as this unscathed. If you're worried about your teen, and you stumble upon one of these sites, you almost assuredly will find your child hits a larger number of these “warning signs.” But they aren't warning signs. They are fear-mongering written by people who generally don't appear to actually have any knowledge of the real occult or Satanic beliefs and practices, but who encourage the common but completely debunked stereotypes such as Satanic Ritual Abuse, which is a myth. For example, CDCMidway will tell you that 1% of children actively experiment with Satanism: “Part of their rituals may involve cutting their body to obtain blood to drink during a ceremony. They may kill animals as a sacrifice. Some have been known to commit acts of homicide.” Consider the total numbers if 1% of children were really doing this. It just doesn't add up. And before you start fearing the possibility of a Satanic-fueled teenage homicide in your neighborhood, consider the last time you have ever heard of an actual case of such a thing happening. You probably can't.