By: Dawn Colclasure (email@example.com)
Parents everywhere often hear this from their children: “I saw a ghost.” For the parent unaware of exactly how to handle such a delicate situation, the following do’s and don’ts might come in handy.
DO ask the child to explain what he is seeing/hearing.
Getting the whole story will help you understand the situation better and how to approach it. Odds are your child is about to unravel a story or reveal an imaginary friend. Never try to pressure your child for details, however; he might clam up instead of telling you what he feels comfortable in sharing.
DO sit down and listen attentively.
Giving your child your complete attention says you think this is important and are willing to take the time to listen.
DO calm your child's fears and anxieties.
Chances are your child thinks all ghosts are "bad" or that he/she is afraid the ghost will hurt them. Before you can help your child out with this matter, it's important to spend a few minutes trying to calm him down. Offer him some water or sit in a favorite chair. Cuddle up, get comfortable and ask him if he feels okay talking about it.
DON'T tell the child ghosts are make-believe or that they don't exist.
This only tells the child he can't believe what he sees and will confuse him. It will also be confusing if he hears ghost stories or if he starts to witness strange things happening (voices in a closet, furniture moving, etc.)
DON'T get nervous, frustrated, upset or hysterical over your child's confiding in you.
Children are very sensitive to what their parents are feeling and can pick up on anxiety, fear and doubt. Try to remain calm and only listen to what your child has to say.
DON'T encourage improper activity like séances or Ouija board sessions.
These things can only make a situation worst and they foster improper habits. Some activities require an experienced host and your child may see these things as a "cure-all" to the situation then lose hope when they don't work.
DO tell the child that you will help him/her deal with the situation.
Parents are a child's first defense. Thank your child for sharing this with you and assure them that you will help them out. Let them know they aren't alone and that you will do what you can to make the problem go away.
DO ask the child how the situation makes them feel.
It's important to understand how the child feels about their new "friend." Even if a child is not afraid and feels even happy to have a "friend" to "play" with, keep a close eye on the situation and stay apprised on how your child feels about it. Talk to them the minute they start to feel stressed, anxious or afraid.
DON'T put down or discourage your child for telling you this.
Kids take a big leap of faith when it comes to confiding in their parents. Be sure to remain objective about the situation and never express doubt of your child's perceptions or tell them they have an overactive imagination. If they feel you don't believe them, they'll start to clam up and you could miss out on learning of something worse happening later on.
DON'T rely on everything people tell you about ghosts and hauntings or things you read on the Internet.
Family members suggesting you get rid of a TV in your child's room because ghosts are coming out of it or friends encouraging you to move away are only trying to help in whatever way they know how. Trust your instincts and do only what you feel comfortable with. An expert group or investigator can offer more experienced advice on what to do.
If you’re still not sure of how to handle this situation, contact a legitimate paranormal research organization or a local minister for advice.