The following is excerpted from The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids, available from New Page Books.
Indigos are all already aware they are different. Nancy Tappe
Indigos are highly sensitive with a warrior personality, explained Doreen Virtue, author of The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children, in the documentary The Indigo Evolution. I wholeheartedly agree. Indigo kids are unique in the fact that they hold two opposing qualities simultaneously: high sensitivity and fierceness. So they are extremely sensitive like the highly sensitive children, defined by Elaine Aron in her book, The Highly Sensitive Child, but what differentiates them is their personality. I prefer to use the concept of the indigo personality to capture their shared characteristics, such as:
Are highly creative.
Are extremely energetic.
Are gifted in certain areas (for example, mathematical genius, poor reading skills).
Have a need for fairness.
Prize honesty (almost above all else).
Feel equal to authority.
Refuse to do certain things.
Want special treatment.
Waver between grandiosity and low self-esteem.
May be prone to depression.
Have high sensitivity (sounds, smells, touch, sights).
Have sharpened intuition.
Dont respond to authoritative parenting.
Have built-in BS detector (immediately know dishonesty).
Tend to leave things incomplete.
Cannot be rushed.
May have fetish (for example, only wants to wear princess dresses).
Like playing alone (unless with other indigos).
Get hooked on things and cant let go.
Are independent at times, clingy at other times.
Seek meaningful friendships.
Understanding the core characteristics of the indigo personality is very empowering. You no longer feel alone. Having worked with thousands of indigos, I can say that these attributes animate themselves differently in children but the indigo short summary is this:
Giftedness (in one area).
Strong energy of defiance.
Intuitive intelligence (very high!).
When I was told early on that I beat to my own drummer I took it in stride. Now, I realize that I was merely beating to an indigo drumwhich is unique, unusual to the mainstream, and deeply powerful as a force for change. Indigos see, feel, and experience life differently than their more mainstream counterparts. They tend to have an unusually high level of creativity, sensitivity, giftedness, and angry energy to channel.
This angry or warrior energy that defines many indigos isnt a bad thing. It is the energy that breaks down broken systems (think: public school systems) and creates better ways of doing things. Of course, the challenge is to raise indigo kids to use their incredibly sensitive, highly responsive, and fierce energy as force for good.
Parenting indigos, especially if you arent indigo-like, can be a real challenge. Over the years, I have had countless clients come to me because one parent was indigo-ish and the other thought his or her child was just given to them by Martians. They just didnt get it. Usually it started out like: What is going on with my child? Shes as sweet as pie one moment, and then next its a full-blown tantrum.
So I usually had parents detail the itty-bitty things of their parent-child interaction, and I served as the bridge to translate from indigo to adult. Then, theyd have an a-ha and say, Oh mythats what was going on. As soon as you know the energetic triggers of indigos you can stop bumping into them unknowingly and experiencing such upset all around.
One of my first Los Angeles child clients was a 5-year-old named Jamal. His mom, Lisa, contacted me because she discovered Jamal was actually highly sensitive. One instance stood out for her.
Jamal was attending a private kindergarten in Los Angeles, and he was the only African American in his grade. One school project was to bring in a baby photo and post it on the wall, where all the kids got to guess whos who. Jamal knew this wasnt going to work out for him. Jamal is very observant and aware of life, including his ethnicity, and that this was an unfair game. He told his teachers. Mrs. Smith, his main teacher, said she would work on making it fair. So she printed out famous baby photos of African Americans and decided to add them to the game. On the day of this game, all Jamals peers picked him out first and he got really upset. Jamal began crying and left the classroom, refusing to return. He said, Mom, tell everyone its not fair and thats why I am so upset.
Jamal was clear from the beginning he disliked this game, felt unheard, and had a sense that it wasnt going to work for him. His teacher, from her older perspective, couldnt really understand how to create an effective solution. Ultimately, Jamal got triggered by the unfairness of this situation and couldnt contain his emotions. Indigos as a whole cannot ignore their emotions but must learn effective outlets for them. Jamal fits the indigo profile to a T, with his high sensitivity, strong emotions, and warrior energy standing up for what he saw as an injustice. He refused to go back into that classroom and Lisa picked him up.
Unique to Indigos
Unique to indigos are their mindset and nuanced way of being in the world. Some of these characteristics are minor, and, well, othersthey are big ones. I am going to share some of them here, and well continue to unwrap them throughout the chapters. I begin with the one that impacted Jamal: Indigos cannot ignore their emotions.
Indigos cannot suppress their feelings. Other generations and types of children can easily ignore someones comments, push down their hurt feelings, and learn how to move throughout the world without feeling a thing. This isnt possible for an indigo (exception: if they are medicated). Indigo kids are divinely designed to feel their feelings and let them out.
This is where most parents struggle the most. They are unsure of what emotionally is occurring with their children and especially in the early years when crying seems to be an everyday occurrence.
Indigos will always let you know how they feel. They may cry, scream, and talk back to you until they learn better ways of channeling their energybut one thing is for sure: Your indigo child isnt burying his or her emotions.
One other thing that Jamal highlights for me is this: Indigos' primary intelligence is intuitive.
Indigos trust themselves. They know when something is right and will stand up for what they believe in time and time again. Its this indigo energy that will change many of our broken systems of government, education, and healthcare, for example, into something better. Its not to say that indigos arent highly intelligent in the traditional sense, but they do follow their intuitive urges primarily.
Intuitive intelligence is information gained through insight. It is that feeling to turn right and then you bump into your best friend. Indigos have a sharpened sense of intuition and reliance upon it. Actually, everyone is intuitive when they are born, but indigos arent able to easily shut it off the way many other people can. It is their primary mode of information gathering and what they trust the most.
Jamal was governed by his intuitive intelligence when he walked out of his classroom. He trusted his inner knowingness. It was this inner wisdom coupled with his need for honesty that upset him so much. Said simply: Indigos need integrity.
Indigo kids have a built in dishonesty detector. They know if someone isnt honest and cannot bear it. It doesnt matter if the dishonest party is their principal or parents; it just simply goes against the grain of who they are. So they stand their ground and call out whoever is being dishonestlike what Jamal did regarding that game.
Collectively indigos have come to shift the consciousness on the planet from dishonesty to honesty. They are Truth teachers. Sometimes this means challenging authorities and doing things differently. Jamal just couldnt pretend the game was okay and fit in with the other children he needed to stand up for Truth.
One sunny afternoon in December, I got a call from a distressed dad. Glenn said to me, I just realized my son, Sam, is a highly sensitive boy. I read your article on Psychology Today, and he fits the profile to a T. He also has been bullied in school and is hurt beyond words. Sams upset not only by his bully, but all his supposed friends that stood by and did nothing. He refuses to return to school and has made the scariest statement to us. Sam said, I will kill myself if you take me back to that school, and thats why I am calling you. What do I do?
Sams story isnt a unique one. Over the years, I have gotten countless calls from parents whose children have mentioned suicide. I take every call seriously. With that said, I calmed Glenn down to realize his son was safe and we needed to keep him safe. That was priority number one, as well as getting him proper assistance with his incredibly deep emotions and learning new skills for how to handle them.
Glenn was quiet and realized that his son was safe. I supported his and his wife, Megs, decision to take Sam out of school. He never fit into his new school and had been struggling socially from the very start. Academically, Sam is actually quite gifted, scoring at a 12th-grade reading level in fifth grade and slightly below grade level in mathematics. This giftedness in one area and deficiency in another is also common among indigos; they are patterned for a unique purpose that isnt represented by traditional schooling systems.
It was fortunate that Glenn and Meg could take Sam out of his school and provide him a personalized educational program. Obviously, this isnt what every family could do, but there are always answers; sometimes we just need to get really creative to surface them. Then I also helped Sam personally as Meg and Sam came to visit me for a three-day intensive program where I taught Sam to:
Manage his emotions.
Connect healthfully with others.
Make smart choices.
One more complaint that Glenn and Meg had was that Sam sassed them. Indigos have no problem standing up for themselves, speaking their Truth, and letting their emotions out. As I mentioned earlier: Indigos must express their emotions. One of our big roles as parents and guides to indigos is to help them express their emotions (energy in motion) in ways that are skillful versus damaging.
Over the following few months, I continued to provide support to Sam on Skype as he learned how to manage his high sensitivity better. I also helped Meg and Glenn see Sams perspective on a number of common indigo challenges, such as:
Why does my son play alone most of the time? Do we force him to play baseball? Is a gifted program good for him; he already walks around like royalty? Do we just let him refuse to do certain things? Are we enabling him? Punishment doesnt seem to work; what is going on?
Teaser image by Linda Baker, courtesy of Creative Commons license.