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I have had these boys about 3 months now. The oldest is 7. He has always had behavioral issues that worsen after his visits with mom.

Its been incredibly hard since an "incident" with mom a couple weeks back where she was keeping him from me and the police had to be called.

He has been very needy lately and and wanting to be close to me which is completely understandable.

My question is has anyone every dealt with a child wanting to be treated younger after trauma and/or coming from an abusive household?

His brother just turned 2 and the oldest more so today has been wanting me to treat him like his brother. Things like feeding him, wanting to use his brothers sippy, riding in the stroller and the like.

I personally have no problem with it if that's what he needs to feel safe right now because I know my big boy is still there he is just scared and confused right now and needs to find a way to feel safe at the moment.

I plan to ask this of his counselor as well (we go in for his intake meeting on Monday) and have a discussion with his pediatrician at his appointment next week.

Has anyone every dealt with this before?

What are our thoughts on it?
 

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It is super common for a traumatized child to regress once he is safe. Think about it like this: he likely never had a chance to go through his normal developmental stages at the right time, if he was living in an abusive/ neglectful home, or even one in which the grown-ups were preoccupied with their own issues or substances. When he sees a younger child getting his needs met in that way, it is a trigger....."I want some of that. That never happened for me."

Parents sometimes fear that if they indulge this need, it will last forever. The child will get stuck in the regressed state. This rarely happens. Children have a very strong need to grow up and become stronger. When they actually have their needs met, they are more able to do this going forward, than if adults again deprive them of being nurtured in the way that they missed out on. As long as the "younger" needs are met in a non-shaming way, it will address the 'hole' that has been left there, and allow the child to move on to being a 'big boy' again. A parent for example, should never say something like "I will feed you because you seem to need to be a 'baby' right now" in a negative or shaming tone of voice. A parent could say, "I see that you need some extra attention and nurturing right now. You must need something that you missed out on. I will help you with that until you don't need it anymore." That is a more positive message that also indicates to the child that you understand it is temporary and he will get on with the business of growing up, as soon as he is ready.

It is also common for this to vacillate all over the place--one day for him to be fine being a 'big boy'; another day to be regressed. Using your skills of attunement, you just follow his lead and give him what he needs on a given day.
 

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Regression is a very common result of situations that involve trauma. Showing as much acceptance and love in those moments will give your child the assurance of being able to connect and experience trust. And trusting that they will find their way as they continually have this experience with you.

I have had this experience with my adopted, foster and biological children. Just know that patience and perseverance on your part combined with unconditional love for your child with provide the possibility for a connected relationship to occur in the future.
 

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As the others said. It's not uncommon for adult children of abusive parents to have this kind of regression, have a "little" headspace where they regress to their child self around caring, loving adults. They have a deep wound that was never healed as a child, and regressing into that state let's them finally get the emotional care they need.

And even healthy people can regress a bit. How many adults want to be babied when they're sick or going through a tough time? Want someome to care for them- bundle them in blankets and bring them soup or have someone draw them a bath and get a box of chocolates?

I agree that it's better to give into this. It won't harm him. I think I suggested, in another thread, reading up on the impacts trauma has on kids. If you can, I really would, it'll help you recognize what's his normal and even prepare for these things before they happen. Raising a child who faced trauma like this can be incredibly challenging. Knowing what you're facing will make it a lot easier.
 
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