Why Is My Big Kid Acting Like a Toddler?


By Jessica Grose, The New York Times


As we enter our second month of social distancing in the United States, I’m hearing reports from friends, readers, and my own household about the different ways we fear our kids are regressing. There’s backsliding on potty use, and more tantrums. Bedtime is really going off the rails. So I wanted to ask the experts: Why is this happening, and can we do anything to help our children?

Let’s first define our terms. Regression, a term coined by Sigmund Freud, is a return to earlier stages of development as a defense mechanism during times of stress. Adults, as well as children, can experience regression. “It’s a self-protecting mechanism,” said Sally Beville Hunter, Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “If kids are going to retreat back to safety, they’re going to retreat back to their parents and ask for additional comfort.”

With that in mind, Dr. Hunter also said…more

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