Dr. Alan Greene on Regressive Behavior

My son has started acting like a baby again. Is this normal?


My son has been punching and smacking himself in his penis lately. And he's been regressing to babyish behaviors, sucking on a pacifier (which he never took as an infant) and climbing into his baby sister's crib. Is this normal?


Both of those behaviors can be quite normal behavior. Whenever kids have a younger sibling in a crib or on a pacifier, it's perfectly natural for them to want to try out those behaviors. But it's important for the older child to get more attention for "big boy" or "big girl" behaviors, even though it's so easy to comment on the cute baby behaviors.

Remind your son what a big boy he's become and give him big boy chores to do around the house. When you see your son doing baby stuff, rather than commenting on that, distract him away from it by engaging him in an age-appropriate activity that you both like.


The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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