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How Understanding Past Lives Changed My Parenting

Photograph by Twenty20

Did your child have past lives? I believe yes, and so did you. It's also more than likely that you knew your child in a past life—or maybe in many of them.

Documented evidence has been mounting for decades that a person's current lifetime is not a one-and-done situation, but rather the soul returns over and over again in different bodies in order to learn and grow through karmic lessons. In fact, through the centuries, we have all had a turn at being different races, genders, ethnicities, socio-economic classes. (Perhaps there are certain groups or cultures that you feel drawn to without knowing why?) And it's not just the so-called "old souls" among us who return to earth to teach and learn. It's everyone.

So what does reincarnation mean for you as a parent?

RELATED: 5 Lessons I Hope My Daughter Learns From My Past

Chances are good you've noticed something that is intriguing or curious about your kid—something that makes you ask where that trait, interest or habit came from. Maybe she was born with a preternatural ability to play the piano or has a special interest in foreign places that your family has never been.

For example, from the time she was a toddler, my daughter has been obsessed with all things French and now picks up the language as if she once spoke it—because she probably did. My son, from the age of 3, would casually tell us about how he "had to shoot the rifle in the war" and would often mention how he still missed Grandpa Bill, my father who died 15 years before he was born.

I have no doubt my father and son knew each other in other lifetimes, maybe as fellow soldiers. After all, we reincarnate in "soul groups" returning with many of the same people but in different configurations. So perhaps my son was once my mother. Or my mother was once my grandfather. Maybe we all lived in Ancient Rome or the hills of Thailand. Sound weird? Well, check out the extensive research being conducted at top universities.

My son ... would often mention how he still missed Grandpa Bill, my father who died 15 years before he was born. Why did my daughter at age 3 often tell me, "You're my best mommy"?

There are plenty of studies and illuminating books on the subject, but you might start with the ground-breaking "Many Lives, Many Masters" by Dr. Brian Weiss, a Yale-trained psychiatrist who back in the '70s had a client who brought him from full-blown skeptic to the leader in the field of past-life therapy. I just came back from a weekend workshop with Dr. Weiss at Omega Institute where I had several of my own past life experiences when he regressed us as a group. And, no, I wasn't Cleopatra or Marilyn Monroe, though I was hoping.

Past life therapy is a fascinating field of study, and it can be hugely helpful in unlocking mysterious problems with your children or helping them through a health or emotional struggle, especially when nothing else seems to work or you can't find the root of the issue in any recent event. You see, we often carry injuries or hurts into future lifetimes, especially if we died a violent death, and in some cases the healing has to happen on a deep soul level.

For insight specifically pertaining to children, check out "Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives" by Jim Tucker, a psychiatry professor at the University of Virginia who interviewed thousands of children in the United States about their previous lives, many that could be verified through tracing specific details.

You won't necessarily get the exact answers you need for your own children, but an understanding of past lives may make you more open-minded and compassionate around your family. It can be immensely helpful to understand that the complexities of your kids' lives can't always be attributed to things that happened in this incarnation.

So maybe you daughter's recurring nightmares have to do with a violent death she suffered 100 years ago or maybe her aversion to eggs connects to a bad case of salmonella in the '50s. I often wonder about the origins of my son's eczema. Had his skin been burned in a previous lifetime? And why did my daughter at age 3 often tell me, "You're my best mommy"?

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For the truly intrigued, you can practice doing regressions on yourself with Brian Weiss's CDs or find past life regression therapists who can help you trace your issue back through lifetimes. Sometimes doing the work on yourself can offer insight into issues that related to your children. It can be eye-opening and healing in unexpected ways.

But one of the best reasons to explore past-life issues is karma. Whatever lessons you don't learn in this lifetime will certainly come up again in your next one.

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