Best Of The Web
“Let’s start with a quiz. Which of the following is an example of childhood regression?
a. When your kid starts calling for you at night after not doing it for eight months
b. When your kid starts having bathroom accidents after being fully potty-trained
c. When your kid clings to you at day care drop-off even though last week was fine
d. All of the above
The correct answer is, of course, d. And in case you were wondering, all these things have happened to me (multiple times). Still, every single time my kids start regressing — doing things that I really thought they had moved past developmentally — I wonder what the heck is happening, why this bewildering behavior is coming back, and what to do about it. Luckily, after calling some child development experts, I now have some answers.
Why childhood regressions happen
Although extreme regressions — such as suddenly being unable to talk or walk — can be signs of a neurological or developmental problem, mild behavioral regressions in kids are totally normal; and they can happen at any age. According to a study published in the journal The Primary Care Companion for C.N.S. Disorders, Sigmund Freud defined regression around the early 1900s as “an unconscious defense mechanism” that “causes the temporary or long-term reversion of the ego to an earlier stage of development.”
But what triggers it? According to Dr. Tovah Klein, Ph.D., a child psychologist and director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development, children may regress when they encounter something stressful or new — a transition or routine change, perhaps. When my then 3-year-old daughter started at a new preschool, she woke up screaming for me every night for weeks and was suddenly terrified of the dark. Each time we travel as a family and our daily routine gets upended, my 8-year-old son’s tolerance for frustration drops, and he starts having epic meltdowns.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Kurds have been staunch allies in America's struggle against ISIS. Without them, America would have paid a far steeper price in blood and treasure to defeat the brutal outfit. That's why President Trump's move to pull U.S. troops out of..."
"For the first time since President Richard Nixon refused to turn over the White House tapes, the United States is facing a genuine constitutional crisis. To be sure, Donald Trump had already created a crisis in the presidency by abusing the..."
"Every October for the past five years, Fat Bear Week has showcased some of the healthiest, hungriest, and chonkiest bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve, a four-million-acre expanse of wilderness in southern Alaska..."
"I sat on my childhood bed, surrounded by 52-year-old stuffed animals, with a smartphone lodged between my ear and shoulder. My father had died unexpectedly the day before, and I was jotting down notes as my rabbi back in Ohio described various..."
"In August, it was SoulCycle and Equinox. The month prior, Home Depot. Back in 2017, L.L.Bean. These are only a few of the companies to ignite the collective ire of progressive consumers over corporate ties to Trump. In the case of the boutique..."
"Movies like Gemini Man are usually ideal airplane viewing. Take a formulaic plot about spies and cloning, then add dialogue so predictable that getting interrupted by pilots’ announcements and turbulence and your seatmate’s need to get up and..."
"It’s still unclear whether Israel’s next election will be in four years or four months. But either way, if the center-right wants a better outcome, it needs to learn the lessons of September’s election. So here are two: First, while center-right..."
"Smart homes, bountiful oceans and casual sexism: the future as envisaged from 1967 ‘Yes, life will be richer, easier, healthier as space-age dreams come true.’ In 1967, the Ford Motor Company (then known as Philco-Ford) released the short film..."