We are having problems with our three, almost four-year-old daughter and I can’t help but think it is spiritual.

We have enjoyed and tried to put your principles in child training to work in our lives and overall, our children are REALLY well-behaved. I will admit that I didn’t get on the ball very quickly with our daughter but have been more consistent recently (I have four children five and under). All this to say, there are times she wakes up in the middle of the night just babbling – things we don’t understand (and I get a sort of scared feeling just listening and being with her). This morning as I read the Word with her, she just started to stare into space and when I asked her a question about the passage, her eyes rolled back and she just said “I don’t know.” We have also noticed some intense rebellion (openly lying) and bad attitudes especially with her. There also seems to be a rift between her and her father and we don’t know why. We both try to encourage the relationship but it is usually “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.” Anyway, anything you could offer us would be greatly appreciated – we would like to hear what you would have to say.

Michael answers:

Yes, the behavior of your 3-year-old does sound aberrant as you explain it. Yet her actions may be quite innocuous. Children are immature and in constant transition. Without knowing your family I could not diagnose the problem or even know if there really is a problem. Your concern is the most provocative thing. Sometimes child training is like a health issue. You know there is a malady but you can not determine the cause. Knowing that all disease is best treated with good health, we strengthen the body in every way possible, allowing it to heal itself. So do with your daughter. The first thing is to heal the relationship with her father. She should spend time with him alone, looking to him to supply all her needs, feeding her, reading to her, playing with her. Emotional health is rooted in trusting, nurturing relationships.

The babbling in the middle of the night may just be a half-awake state of confusion. Or it could be a physical issue. Get her checked for worms. Check all her vitals—sugar levels, blood pressure, oxygen levels, etc. You said you get scared just listening to her. That concerns me. I don’t know if you are over-reacting or if there really is something supernatural about it. I would do a housecleaning spiritually. Make sure she has not been molested. Suspect everyone—male and female…all ages. Ask her in a non-threatening way if anyone has touched her here or there or in this manner or that. Has she been exposed to any witchcraft? Harry Potter, etc.? Have you allowed her to watch inappropriate things on the TV? Again, if there is a spiritual problem, the cure is good spiritual health. Pray over her, but not in a way that would alarm her. Sing spiritual songs around her and with her. In a relaxed way, tell her the Bible stories of Jesus. Make her happy and holy, surrounding her with the Spirit of God, and the devil will have to leave her.

The rebellion and clinging to mother is not aberrant, just human. Patient authoritative training will purge her of that in time.
Let me know how it works out—what you decide and how she responds.