There’s a new movement afoot in the Snake Oil business built on the tenuous and slippery stepping stones of childhood: The Indigo Child is on the rise and sitting on your front porch! You join the Indigo Child movement by purchasing a book or a DVD or access to a website and then buying into the ridiculous and immoral frame that is set against those children to falsely make them special in their parents’ eyes.

The misguided shilling of the idea of Indigo Children started in a New Age book written by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober called The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived and that book pulls parents down an unpaved and unproven path to try to separate their special child from all the other ordinary children. Indigo Children — born only after 1978 and most since 1992 — are allegedly ringed in an “Indigo Aura” only those who believe in the movement can see.

That glowing aura suggests those children are not of this world and the checklist for parents to help determine if their child is Indigo or not depends upon the desire to identify the following egotistical, self-centered and arrogant behaviors in their beloved children:

1. Entitled to being treated like royalty.

2. They “deserve” to be here by birthright.

3. Self-centered — the world revolves around the child.

4. All claims of authority against the child must be explained to the child and approved by the child before being enacted.

5. Will not stand in line.

6. Must serve creativity and not behavioral conformation.

7. Preferring to do things their way instead of the way things are done.

8. Easily bored; unable to self-entertain; prefers peers who similarly do not respect boundaries.

9. No feelings of guilt; will not accept discipline beyond the self.

10. Commands others to abide their wishes. Brandenn Bremmer was supposed to be an Indigo Child but that separating assignment with a glowing azure aura could not save him from the darkness in his own mind.

Indigo Children are not self-determining — they are instead labeled Indigo by their parents — and what child would not prefer to get away with bad behavior when the choice to be good and loving and willing and selfless is so hard?

The Indigo Child movement is dangerous because it celebrates by identity and not deeds.

An Indigo Child is marked by self-deception sponsored by parental description and for that alone we should pity them and rip the label from their shallow self-esteem to preserve the delicate and empty vessel in need of filling.

Indigo Children have no scientifically verifiable abilities or quantifiable common traits.

An Indigo Child requires no accomplishment of human deeds and that kind of delusion disavows the very tenets of goodness and light we hope all our children will bring to the humanity around them.

30 Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of Indigo Children before reading the post.
    It sounds like a movement that uses “New Age” ideas to excuse children who might need to have medication for ADHD or other learning/social problems.
    See The Skeptic’s Dictionary:

    One thesis of The Indigo Children seems to be that many children diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder (ADD) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) represent “a new kind of evolution of humanity.”* These children don’t need drugs like Ritalin, but special care and training.

  2. Yeah, and why? We can point to historical and provable merits in the black community and in being black that can be proved and are factual but that kind of self-ID and truth in genetic and cultural labeling is thought of as racist and bigoted but if you choose a different color like indigo then it’s a movement with otherworldly dimension.

  3. Hi Chris!
    Indigo Children are a viable and PROFITABLE enterprise for many and the ADD label is especially interesting. Here’s what one site I linked to above says about them and it just reeks of unquantifiable B.S.:
    Indigo Children are the current generation being born today and most of those who are 8 years old or younger. They are different. They have very unique characteristics that set them apart from previous generations of children. The name itself indicates the Life Color they carry in their auras and is indicative of the Third Eye Chakra, which represents intuition and psychic ability. These are the children who are often rebellious to authority, nonconformist, extremely emotionally and sometimes physically sensitive or fragile, highly talented or academically gifted and often metaphysically gifted as well, usually intuitive, very often labeled ADD, either very empathic and compassionate OR very cold and callous, and are wise beyond their years. Does this sound like yourself or your child?
    Then there’s a link to buy a CD to help your Indigo Child “cope” in a world that does not understand them.
    I just don’t think there’s any way getting around labeling “Indigo Children” as a means to get around bad behavior a parent is unable or unwilling to control:
    “What can I do? He’s an Indigo Child!”

  4. Karvain —
    Your spin on this topic is quite fascinating. Labels and belonging are powerful indicators as long as they can be brushed off as “New Age” or as a non-threat. To “change colors” of the formula as you suggest to reflect pride in skin color and culture is a direct threat to the majority color and, therefore, must be put down and officially quashed with outside studies and verifiable inadequacies to keep down the movement.

  5. Dave!
    Bingo! You are right on the center of the topic. There is a great need in American parents to separate their children from the now and place them into the future forward.
    Our values today are on “seers” instead of “doers” and those who are “special” cannot be bound by “ordinary” children or earthly requirements. Indigo Children are bound to a higher calling and that must be honored even in the midst of their tantrums… according to their parents….
    Can you imagine teaching a roomful of Indigo Children? None of them would do anything but what they felt like doing.
    Then what becomes of these children? They aren’t leaders. They’re separatists by parental mandate and labeling. By nature they respect no authority other than their own impulse. I guess they either end up in jail as non-conformists or they leave the social center and separate to live alone in the woods.
    I really love the take on your next article, Dave. That will prove to be absolutely interesting — especially considering the other earth-shattering movements fed by music: Rock and Roll, the Acid ’60s the Disco ’70s the Bland ‘80s the Grunge ‘90s and how those non-violent ideals matured into older age and in positions of power.

  6. The description of the Indigo Children sounds like the diagnosis for Dissocial Personality Disorder:

    Dissocial Personality Disorder (F60.2), usually coming to attention because of a gross disparity between behaviour and the prevailing social norms, and characterized by:
    callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
    gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
    incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
    very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
    incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
    marked proneness to blame others, or to offer plausible rationalizations, for the behaviour that has brought the patient into conflict with society.
    There may also be persistent irritability as an associated feature. Conduct disorder during childhood and adolescence, though not invariably present, may further support the diagnosis.

    I wonder if parents embracing the Indigo Children concept realize they might be creating future sociopaths.

  7. Chris —
    You found an excellent connection! That is the danger of the Indigo Child movement — parents risk raising and encouraging anti-social and dissocial personality disorders.
    Fake labels like “Indigo Child” only mask a deeper responsibility to correct bad behavior and force the child into mainstream interaction with the world.

  8. Dave —
    The popularity of Indigo Children really took off with the book of the same name published in 1999.
    So we have “hardcore Indigo” kids who are maybe five to nine years old or so right now and in 10 years when they hit the university circuit it isn’t going to be pretty if they continue to cling to the false anointing of that label.
    I loathe the day when I’m teaching a class and I give an assignment or a low grade and the response I get back is, “But I’m an Indigo Child!”
    I will have to practice withholding my laughter.
    It’s actually sad, though, because they were misled early on and by the time they reach us it’s too late to do any fixing — we can only offer a reality check against our expectation and the performance of other children their same age.
    I also find Indigo Children are more prevalent in Homeschooling situations than in the public schools or private academies. Peer pressure from the outside world is a quick cure for self-labeling of non-substantiated performance. When a child is Homeschooled that vital social check against peer expectation evaporates.

  9. Holy cow! This is hideous!
    A whole generation can not be spiritually inclined – this is sheer madness. What are their parents trying to get out of it? Attention??? Something else?

  10. Heya Katha!
    “Hideous” is an outstanding word for the phenomenon!
    The parents want to be able to say, “I gave birth to an Indigo Child.”
    99.99% of the people — instead of laughing like us — will then ask, “What’s an Indigo Child?”
    Then door is flung open for bragging and a detailing of the child’s “specialness.”
    The ADHD child masquerading as an empath because of parental necessity is highly dangerous because children with serious certain psychoses need direct medical attention and not pampering by mythic labeling.

  11. It’s tragic David!
    Tragic for the children, because instead of getting medical attention they are being displayed as some kind of extra terrestrial creature and I don’t know what to do with their parents…..pity them for their ignorance? That won’t do any good….

  12. Yes David, I remember reading that post but I couldn’t relate it with “Indigo child” because I was unaware of such term before today.
    My initial reaction after reading that post was something what I considered usual analysis; “gifted” people should be raised in such way that they learn to keep their feet strongly grounded on the earth; thy need to learn to accept their weaknesses and live with it. Moreover they should also learn to accept that excellence is doable; but perfection in all sphere of life – that is probably unachievable. It is their parents’ responsibility to ingrain this thought process in those “gifted” children instead of labeling them as “special” creature and advertising their “specialty.”
    Creativity, regardless of the field needs discipline. It is easy to be creative, but it is impossible to maintain that consistency without discipline in life. Self indulgence is like living in a glass house which can collapse anytime.
    Besides, being “special” is a rare phenomena, a whole generation can not claim to be “special”; that sounds ridiculously phony.

  13. Hi Katha —
    We live in an American society that dreams of awards and special notices and awards in order to separate and indicate early promise and expertise and imbued goodness:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/09/01/rise-of-credentialism/
    If a child cannot excel academically on a nationally accepted test scale, then parents are forced by society to find other markers of separation in sport or performance — all quantifiable and with historic context.
    Indigo Children, however, escape that kind of socially accepted measurement of successes by claiming an empathic talent that can only be affirmed by the self and not confirmed by disinterested third party sources.
    Gifted children get special treatment as talents for the world and as leaders in their genres and parents are desperate to get that kind of recognition for their less-gifted children by the application of labels and myths and faeries instead of test scores, medals and certificates.

  14. David,
    I understand what you are saying, there has to be a balance in everything. As “slacking” can not be an excuse to avoid the competition in life, the parents should not push their children to be “Newton, Einstein, Beethoven, Mozart, Bill Gates” at the same time.
    Moreover, everyone can not be a member of “exclusive boutique collection” – then the exclusivity is lost. Parents, as well as the less gifted children have to understand their limitations and act accordingly instead of exploiting it.
    Gifted children do get special treatments, and that is sacrosanct all over the world but if they don’t possess a very strong head on their shoulders then the chances of those “gifts” getting wasted are very high.
    And thanks for the link, I missed that article!

  15. Well-argued, Katha!
    If there is to be any “specialness” in a person it must be discovered within first.
    Then — at the discretion of each person for the perfect moment in place and history — shared with others for outside evaluation and analysis of continued promise.

  16. I would have sided with this argument if I hadn’t just run into an old classmate of mine. He was an off the wall kid who was constantly being fed ritallin for his ADHD throughout his school career. Later in highschool he refused to take it anymore and was quite disruptive and loved punk music and just plain causing scenes to interupt the norm.
    Well, it turns out that he is a Genius, and by genius I mean the real deal, a member of Mensa. He is now a very successful computer programmer who earns over$200,000 a year.
    He taught himself 5 different computer languages and from there tested out of several college courses when earning his degree.

  17. Perhaps the reason the younger generations no longer respect their elders is because in some cases they do know more than their elders. By this I mean, in the past, a smaller percentage of society was highly educated, career progression took much longer, Elders were revered becasue of their sheer longevity, they DID know more. the “elders” were also younger. The grandparents might have been in their 50’s or 60’s maybe even thier 40’s. My children’s grandparents are in their late 80’s (I’m in my mid 40’s) and very rigid narrowminded thinkers. The old generations were taught to rigidly follow some arbitrary rule just because… What I see is that many of todays children do not see the valuse in some of the old rules but have their own new rules, while different are just as morally binding. What I see is that the young of today (at least the educated kids) base respect on competance , integrity and knowledge, not on age position or title. When some of our icons are shown to have clay feet why should they repsect ta person because of a high position? If grandpa is a lecherous old fool, why should he be respected just becasue he is older? At the same time, children are treated like second class citizens and not repsected so it should not come as a surprise when they do not return the favor. Children are often belittled, treated like they know nothing. I’m 47 years old and I still recall how my mother ridiculed some of my observations and opinions. She would say “You’ll see someday”. Well Its been 30 -40 years and in many cases, I still do not “see”.
    In the last 50 years things have changed so much and the elders have not been able to keep up. There are some wonderful elders who have great wisdom and need to be revered, but to repsect a person just becasue of their age is pretty hypocritical. I don’t know if I hold credence to the Indigo Child concept, and certainly there are a bunch of spoiled petulant kids out there that may be giving a bad rap to some children that ate very special.

  18. You know it seems lke this Indigo “new age” terminology is scaring people, most of whom I think do not even have children. I have a 4 1/2 year old who is extremely intelligent, but the school system does not know how to deal with him. his behavior at school is not the same as home. I have been told that he may be ADD/ ADHD at age 4. What would you do as a parent? Medicate him or try alternitave ways of helping him? He needs help dealing with anger, not supressing it with Ritalin. Unless you have experienced a child like in the former description, you will never understand what this phenomena is. Parents are not trying to make their kids BETTER than others, we are simply trying to HELP our kids. When you see so much potential in your child and teachers see it too but the anger gets in the way, it’s difficult to deal with as a parent or teacher. If this helps other parents, what do you care???? Don’t talk ingnorance, just accept that there are people who believe that this Indigo labeling may be the reason why kids get in trouble in school despite their intellectual capacities, and maybe instead of a pill, they need emotional therapy per se.

  19. IMO your analysis is spot on.
    Indigo Children is an artificial, composite group. It was created to lump both gifted kids (like an artist prodigy Akiane, featured in a recent movie ‘The Indigo Revolution’) and nascent sociopaths (like the Columbine shooters) in the same category.
    Neither gifted kids nor sociopaths represent anything new. IMO those who promote indigo children want to sneak into the mass conciousness the idea that the end justifies the means:
    \\\The phrase, “Indigo child” was coined by Nancy Ann Tappe in her book Understanding Your Life Through Color (1982) and refers to the color in these children’s aura. Ms. Tappe was interviewed by Jan Tober for her book The Indigo Children (1999) and said: “These young children – every one of them I’ve seen thus far who kill their schoolmates or parents – have been Indigos.” \\\
    from (www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/adventures277.htm) (scroll down to the end of the page).
    Another thing I am noticing is that the description of Indigo Children matches closely with the definition of ‘digital natives’, coined by Marc Prensky (www.marcprensky.com). Those are the new generation of children that have been surrounded by computer and digital technologies from birth.
    It may indeed be that the new generation IS somewhat different. Question is, what does it mean, and who benefits?

  20. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, ivana, and I thank you for the links and your insightful analysis!
    I think we need to realize each new generation must first, above all, be human and humanized. It is all too easy to today to be a human being without being human first.
    Once that is done, we can then add all the generational identifiers we wish because the core of the person will be resoundingly set and cemented in the vitals of the human condition.

  21. …I’m an Indigo. I don’t “cast spells” or worship Satan or think that highly of myself even. I don’t smoke, drink, curse, have sex… I have good grades and always try to do the right thing, I have a genius IQ and a little sister and house i help take care of.
    my parent’s never told me I was an Indigo, numerous strangers did in differing situations, and in every regard it’s true.
    1. I’m not royalty, I’m just like you, But I know I have to do great things so others don’t have to, that is true royalty.
    2. We all deserve to be here, this is our world, together.
    3. I can’t stand selfcentered people, I know who I am and love myself, no one else has to, even if we should all love and watch over each other.
    4. I will obey any order from an elder, as any child should, but bossing around a child is unfair, life is about understanding and learning, not confusion.
    5.who said this? I can stand in line fine. when kids stand in rows like soldiers it bothers me… but i don’t mind lines.
    6. I’m the quietest kid in my class. creativity isn’t just Art lessons… it’s language and making something out of nothing. a classroom full of loud people is a harsh environment compared to a quiet class where i can think without being judged
    7. not at all. “my way” isn’t important. an ending of a war,for example, isn’t “my way”, it should be the only way.
    8. i do get easily bored, but art, writing, and learning entertains me, and the company i prefer is adults or GT [gifted and talented] students.
    9. i don’t know where you get this from…. i feel guily often. it’s hard for me to let go of things that bother others. in other words, i feel guilt for things I do not do, I wish for others to be happy.
    10. I don’t command anyone…. I’m just a kid. I don’t like when people use me or hurt me, but who would? i won’t let you hurt me…. but i can’t tell you what to do. i just like to give advice and help.
    I have a great deal of love, respect, and care for people, people i barely know. Indigo’s help…so why would they be so horrible? I’m not ADD or autistic or depressed, I’m just a kid who’s different.
    not MADE different… born that way…. i know because my dad always tried to change me but even when i tried I was still me.
    please don’t hate me when you don’t know me, it’s not my fault. no one made me this way or encouraged it. words hurt, and not only the parents