There are many open-minded parents who find themselves in these situations. When asked, I always tell them to be inquisitive and supportive of their child’s gift. Most importantly, don’t be alarmed, frightened or give any indication to the child that their interaction is abnormal. Easier said than done I realized when I recently found myself in a similar situation.
It happened the other day while my daughter and I were cuddling before bed, she pointed at my t-shirt and said, “Da-fin.”
Grateful for the clue, I glanced down at my t-shirt to see what she was pointing to. I saw a pug. Still unable to make the connection, I repeated back “Da-fin?”
My daughter nodded vigorously. Then she continued, “Da-fin here. She visit. She soft. <grunting noises> Da-fin play wit me. She my friend.”
I breathed a sigh of relief! In this exchange, I finally had some context and could figure out what she was talking about. To make sure I was correct, I inquired, “Hunnie, do you mean Daphne?” Which received an immediate and enthusiastic head nod. She then continued to talk about how wonderful Da-fin was, until she was distracted and decided she wanted chocolate.
Now you are probably as confused as I was when my daughter started exclaiming “Da-fin.” That is unless you read this Blog. If you haven’t that you are probably wondering “Who is Daphne?”
Daphne was my pug. She was my first baby. My husband and I loved her dearly. We lost her shortly after finding out we were pregnant a little more than three years ago.
The exchange left me puzzled. Why did she decide the pug on my shirt was Daphne? Baby Girl NEVER met Daphne. Yes she has heard about her and seen pictures, but again she never had the opportunity to meet her. Not only that, she HAS met four other pugs. In fact, until recently she had two fur brothers – Seamus and Rodney. My mom also has two pugs whom Baby Girl plays with every week! In fact, MOST of the time when she sees a picture of a pug she identifies it at Rodney.
With these thoughts running through my head, I was still puzzled why had she decided to identify the pug on my shirt as Daphne. I didn’t have to look too far for the answer, only look to Baby Girl’s own words “Daphne here.” Daphne was visiting.
In that moment of realization, I felt a new level of empathy for XXX and other parents whose children have had these obviously spiritual encounters. And it made me rethink, what as a parent do you do?
As mentioned early, I’ve always encouraged parents to be inquisitive. Which I did. I asked her who Daphne was? This allows the child to explore their connection to the other side and know that connection is supported by their family. But, I realized I need to be careful not to lead or prompt my daughter too much either. I want the connection to be real and not a figment of her imagination or used simply as a way to obtain attention. Around the wrong people, it could be the WRONG type of attention!! It is something we all have to be careful about, with intuition or other experiences our children have.
Which leads me to my take away from this experience, while being supportive of the child allow him or her to lead the conversation. As soon as I realized I may have been prolonging the conversation, I zipped my lip, listened and I let her talk. In appropriate places, I asked a couple questions to let her know I was paying attention, but I didn’t ask any leading questions. It’s hard to do, but do it. Kids are sponges. They are going to pick up your feelings, good or bad. If you are hoping they are intuitive and excited that they are special, the child is going to pick up on that just as much as they are going to pick up on your fear of it.