Indigo children | Wikipedia audio article

Indigo children | Wikipedia audio article


Indigo children, according to a pseudoscientific
New Age concept, are children who are believed to possess special, unusual, and sometimes
supernatural traits or abilities. The idea is based on concepts developed in
the 1970s by Nancy Ann Tappe and further developed by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober. The concept of indigo children gained popular
interest with the publication of a series of books in the late 1990s and the release
of several films in the following decade. A variety of books, conferences and related
materials have been created surrounding belief in the idea of indigo children and their nature
and abilities. The interpretations of these beliefs range
from their being the next stage in human evolution, in some cases possessing paranormal abilities
such as telepathy, to the belief that they are more empathetic and creative than their
peers. No scientific studies give credibility to
the existence of indigo children or their traits. Some parents choose to label their children
who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities as an indigo child to alternatively diagnose
them. Critics view this as a way for parents to
avoid considering pediatric treatment or a psychiatric diagnosis. Some lists of traits used to describe indigo
children have also been criticized for being vague enough to be applied to most people,
a form of the Forer effect.==Origins==
The term “indigo children” originated with parapsychologist and self-described synesthete
and psychic Nancy Ann Tappe, who developed the concept in the 1970s. In 1982 Tappe published a comb-bound which
she expanded and republished in paperback in 1986 as Understanding Your Life Thru Color. In these works Tappe introduced the concept
of “life colors”, defined in Understanding Your Life Thru Color as “the single color
of the aura that remains constant in most people from the cradle to the grave”. The concept of “life colors” was popularized
nationally by Tappe’s student Barbara Bowers, who published What Color Is Your Aura?: Personality
Spectrums for Understanding and Growth in 1989, and by Bowers’ student Pamala Oslie,
who published Life Colors: What the Colors in Your Aura Reveal in 1991.Tappe stated that
during the late 1960s and early 1970s she began noticing that many children were being
born with indigo auras (or, in her terminology, with indigo as their “life color”). The idea was later popularized by the 1998
book The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived, written by husband and wife self-help
lecturers Lee Carroll and Jan Tober.In 2002, the first international conference on indigo
children was held in Hawaii, drawing 600 attendees, and there have been subsequent conferences
in Florida, Oregon, and elsewhere. Several films have been produced on the subject,
including two films by New Age writer James Twyman: a 2003 feature film Indigo and a 2006
documentary The Indigo Evolution.Sarah W. Whedon suggests in a 2009 article in Nova
Religio that the social construction of indigo children is a response to an “apparent crisis
of American childhood” in the form of increased youth violence and diagnoses of attention
deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Whedon believes parents label their children
as “indigo” to provide an alternative explanation for their children’s improper behavior stemming
from ADD and ADHD.==Claimed characteristics==
Descriptions of indigo children include that they:
Are empathic, curious, and strong-willed Are often perceived by friends and family
as being strange Possess a clear sense of self-definition and
purpose Show a strong innate subconscious spirituality
from early childhood (which, however, does not necessarily imply a direct interest in
spiritual or religious areas) Have a strong feeling of entitlement, or deserving
to be hereOther alleged traits include: High intelligence quotient
Inherent intuitive ability Resistance to rigid, control-based paradigms
of authorityAccording to Tober and Carroll, indigo children may function poorly in conventional
schools due to their rejection of rigid authority, their being smarter or more spiritually mature
than their teachers, and their lack of response to guilt-, fear- or manipulation-based discipline.According
to research psychologist Russell Barkley, the New Age movement has yet to produce empirical
evidence of the existence of indigo children, as the traits most commonly attributed to
them are closely aligned with the Forer effect—so vague that they could describe nearly anyone. Many critics see the concept of indigo children
as made up of extremely general traits, a sham diagnosis that is an alternative to a
medical diagnosis, with a complete lack of science or studies to support it.===Indigo as an alternative to diagnosis
===Retired professor of philosophy and skeptic
Robert Todd Carroll notes that many of the commentators on the indigo phenomenon are
of varying qualifications and expertise, and parents may prefer labeling their child an
indigo as an alternative to a diagnosis that implies poor parenting, narcissistic parenting,
damage, or mental illness. This is a belief echoed by academic psychologists. Some mental health experts are concerned that
labeling a disruptive child an “indigo” may delay proper diagnosis and treatment that
could help the child or look into the parenting style that may be causing the behavior. Others have stated that many of the traits
of indigo children could be more prosaically interpreted as simple unruliness and alertness.===Relationship to attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder===Many children labeled indigo by their parents
are diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tober and Carroll’s book
The Indigo Children linked the concept with diagnosis of ADHD. David Cohen points out that labeling a child
an indigo is an alternative to a diagnosis that implies mental illness, which may appeal
to many parents. Cohen has stated, “The view in medicine is
that ADHD is a defect. It’s a disorder. If you’re a parent, the idea of ‘gifted’ is
much more appealing than the idea of a disorder.” Linking the concept of indigo children with
the distaste for the use of Ritalin to control ADHD, Robert Todd Carroll states “The hype
and near-hysteria surrounding the use of Ritalin has contributed to an atmosphere that makes
it possible for a book like Indigo Children to be taken seriously. Given the choice, who wouldn’t rather believe
their children are special and chosen for some high mission rather than that they have
a brain disorder?” Stephen Hinshaw, a professor of psychology
at the University of California, Berkeley, states that concerns regarding the overmedicalization
of children are legitimate but even gifted children with ADHD learn better with more
structure rather than less, even if the structure initially causes difficulties. Many labeled as indigo children are or have
been home schooled. Many children labeled as indigo children have
the same identifying criteria as those children who have experienced being raised by a narcissistic
parent, and are considered to have been emotionally abused.A 2011 study suggested parents of children
with ADHD who label their children as “indigos” may perceive problematic behaviors emblematic
of ADHD to be more positive and experience less frustration and disappointment, though
they still experience more negative emotions and conflicts than parents of children without
a diagnosis.===Relation to autism===
Crystal children, a concept related to indigo children, has been linked by autism researcher
Mitzi Waltz to the autistic spectrum. Proponents recategorize autistic symptoms
as telepathic powers, and attempt to “[reconceptualize] the autistic traits associated with them as
part of a positive identity”. Waltz states that there may be inherent dangers
to these beliefs, leading parents to deny the existence of impairments, avoid proven
treatments and spend considerable money on unhelpful interventions. Waltz states that “Parents may also transmit
belief systems to the child that are self-aggrandizing, confusing, or potentially frightening”.==Commercialization==
The concept of indigo children has been criticized for being less about children and their needs,
and more about the profits to be made by self-styled experts in book and video sales as well as
lucrative counseling sessions, summer camps, conferences and speaking engagements.==Discussion as a new religious movement
==Nancy Ann Tappe originally noted that one
type of Indigo child (the “interdimensional child”), despite being seen as a bully, was
expected to lead new religious movements.One pagan author, Lorna Tedder, anecdotally notes
that every pagan woman she knew who had or was going to have a child believed their child
was an Indigo child.S. Zohreh Kermani states that “Despite their problems with authority,
uncontrollable tempers, and overbearing egos, Indigo Children are many pagan parents’ ideal
offspring: sensitive, psychic, and strong willed”, but also notes the concept is less
about the child’s psychic abilities than the parent’s own hopes and desire for “distinction
from the less-evolved masses.”Daniel Kline, in an essay titled “The New Kids: Indigo Children
and New Age Discourse”, notes that the magical belief that the innocence of children equates
to spiritual powers has existed for centuries, and that the indigo child movement is rooted
in a religious rejection of science-based medicine. In particular, he claims that Nancy Ann Tappe
derived some of her ideas from Charles Webster Leadbeater (her main innovation being emphasizing
the connection between children and the color indigo), and that the New Age adoption of
the concept is a reaction against diagnoses of ADD, ADHD, and autism. Kline also discusses how Carroll and Tober
have tried to distance themselves from religious beliefs about indigo children in order to
maintain control of the concept (even recanting their previous affirmations about auras),
and how skeptics and New Agers alike both make rhetorical appeals to science (despite
the latter’s rejection of it) to legitimize their ideological beliefs regarding the existence
of indigo children.At the 2014 University of Cambridge Festival of Ideas, anthropologist
Beth Singler discussed how the term indigo children functioned as a new religious movement,
along with Jediism. Singler’s work focuses in the Indigo movement
as a part of an overall discussion on “wider moral panics around children, parenting, the
diagnosis of conditions such as ADHD and autism and conspiracy theories about Big Pharma and
vaccinations

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