Creative Child

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

by Deborah Song


Even if your child has yet to show any forms of regression, it’s worth reading up on the tips provided below because all kids will show some form of regression at some point. It’s perfectly normal to seem abnormal from time to time.

  1. Give your child room to be imperfect. The best form of defense for a parent against regressive behavior in kids can be just to expect it. Half the problem with disappointment is being disappointed by the disappointed. If you ever find yourself saying, ‘This shouldn’t be happening to my child,’ you are, in fact, experiencing disappointment by feeling disappointed. But if we understand that children are human beings who make mistakes and revert from time to time, we’ll be better equipped to handle regressive behavior not if but when it happens. Not to mention that the emotional and overblown reaction while understandable, is not favorable. The added stress from an extremely disappointed parent could make matters worse for a child who is already dealing with a lot internally.

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  1. Don’t address concerns when emotions are high. No parent enjoys watching their child regress. But try not to overreact. So long as your child is not in any imminent danger, it may even be helpful to remove yourself from the situation and come back to it once they’ve had some breathing room. You can say something like, “It’s obvious you are upset. I’m going to give you some time to calm down.” In this way, you are showing them you don’t approve of their behavior while remaining calm and poised.
  1. Don’t ignore their regression. While you may not want to overreact, simply ignoring it and sweeping it under the rug won’t help them in the future either. It’s important to get to the bottom of the root cause so they issue doesn’t arise again. Even if your child manages to scathe through this one incident and “return” to his normal self, it’s important to establish a healthy pattern where a child learns to work through his problems with the support of a parent by his side. But getting to the root of the problem may requires some patience. They may not want to divulge their feelings right away. And there’s a very good chance your child may not know how to express what exactly is bothering them. The best way to increase your chances of your child confiding in you is to be around as much as possible. When he or she is ready to open up, you can help your child identify their pain points by tracing back their triggers.
  1. Collaborate on finding a solution. Sometimes solutions aren’t easy to come by. Life changes like a move or divorce can’t easily be solved. In these cases, it may help to discover coping mechanisms. Breathing techniques and even writing in a journal can be very helpful. But try to involve your child in the problem-solving process. This can be an empowering place of change that puts control back in your child’s life. 

Make sure they’re not emulating you. A stressful time for a child likely means it’s a stressful time for you. If your child is showing regressive behavior, ask the hard questions and see if your child is possibly picking up mood changes from you or your spouse. How do you talk to your kids or how do you and your spouse talk to each other? When it comes to parenting, there’s no green light that gives kids the okay to do something like seeing their parents do it themselves. If you are going through a trying time, be sure you’re taking the proper time and care to attend

Deborah Song is a Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master's in journalism from New York University. She is the founder of, and is passionate about helping parents find better work-life balance and proper support through community.

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