Creative Child

Why Even the Best Kids Regress. Here’s How to Get Your Child Back On Track.

by Deborah Song

Your once poised child starts playing with his food during time, refusing to eat it. Or your child starts wetting her bed, months after she’s been potty trained. Or the politeness once attributed through good manners have all but vanquished lately and given way to curtness, rudeness and eye-rolls. What in the world is going on, you may find yourself asking.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that just before a parent can let out a sigh of relief and pat herself on the back for a job well done, her once well-balanced child begins to show signs of regression. The only consistency a parent can expect with child rearing is constant change. If children seem unpredictable, it’s because their changing bodies and environment are unpredictable too.

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But seldom do kids regress without reason. Children often regress with change, like when a new sibling comes along, or when a move or a divorce happens. Regression is a child’s way of dealing with change. And because kids want familiarity, like all homo sapiens do, they revert back to familiar times when they were babies or much younger than they currently are.

The most bewildering regressions often happen, however, when parents can’t detect any noticeable change. But just because you can’t see change, doesn’t mean change isn’t happening to them. Remember that change could be happening at school, even if they say nothing is wrong at school, or even from posttraumatic stress. If your child has always given into her younger brother’s tantrums, for instance, the pent up frustration could one day manifest in a drastic behavioral change. Whatever the situation and case for your child’s regression, there’s a way to handle this hiccup with poise and finesse. After all, if we want our kids to handle change with a calm demeanor, it’s up to us to provide the example.

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