Regression — a return to a former or less developed state.
Kids regress for many different reasons – whether it’s due to a new family member, a traumatic event, or even something as simple as a change in schedule. Kids of all ages experience regressions as they grow older. As a parent, this can be frustrating, and just downright irritating, but it’s something normal that most children go through.
In my case, we noticed when my daughter started going to a second preschool, and was considered full-time, the regressions started. First she didn’t want to feed herself anymore, then she refused to put her own clothes on by herself. Little things, but within the big picture, these are major milestones at her age. Now she has started acting out at school and at home to get more attention. I know this is just a phase, and will hopefully pass soon, but as a parent I feel so helpless and like it’s all my fault. Maybe I’m not doing what I should be doing to help her grow and succeed.
Since her birth I have been home and taught her everything she knows. From crawling to walking, I’ve been there for it all. She has always been a strong-willed child, so her regressions came as a surprise to me. She’s always been so independent and wanted to do everything on her own.
Her stubbornness and strong will is part of why I named my blog Mommy Jerk. She would always let me know when I was doing something that she did not approve of, and would make sure I didn’t forget it. She made me feel like a jerk because I wouldn’t give in to her and her tantrums.
As a first time mother, this is all I know. The regressions concerned me because I don’t know any better. We’re both going through it for the first time– It’s kind of like the blind leading the blind.
I’ve researched regression websites and Mommy blogs countlessly, and I have asked for advice from her teachers, my parents, grandparents, etc. In my search to help her, what I was failing to see was that she was simply seeking attention. I was so fixated on finding a solution to the problem I didn’t stop to think, maybe I am the problem. I didn’t realize she is just seeking the attention that she was used to getting. I was a SAHM with her for 4 years, and she is an only child. All of a sudden she’s now in full-time preschool and daycare every day. That’s a big adjustment for a four-year-old. Although her regressions may be considered normal, what I’ve learned from this is I need to take control.
No matter how strong-willed my child may be, I can’t give in to my frustrations, and give in to her just because I’m agitated by what she is doing and how she is acting. That doesn’t help anyone. I need to guide her, and help her through this, so it doesn’t become a full-blown recurring problem. I’m not saying I will just give her all the attention that she is used to again, because that would again be moving backwards. Things have changed in our family dynamic, and she has to adapt to that change, just like any of us would. It’s just going to take her a little more time because, well, she’s four!
If any other moms out there have experienced these frustrating regressions at any age, you are not alone! Our children will always test us, and push us to our limits, but they are children, and we have to be the example that guides them. If you have any regression stories, please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear how you handled your situation so I can better understand how to help my family deal with ours. Also, It’s nice to not feel like the only Mommy Jerk around here. 😉