Child Trauma, Arrested Psychological Development and Age Regression (2022)

Child Trauma, Arrested Psychological Development and Age Regression (1)

For example, an eleven-year-old child who was abandoned by his/her primary carer at age four may throw tantrums similar to those one might expect of a four-year-old when left with an unfamiliar babysitter.

In other words, he may regress behaviorally to the developmental stage at which s/he became frozen.

Such regressive behavior is a temporary reaction to real or perceived trauma. Severe trauma can result in commensuratelysevere developmental delays.

For example, a ten-year-old child who has experienced severe trauma may not yet have developed a conscience (even though a conscience usually develops around the of ages six to eight). This does NOT mean that the child is ‘bad’; it is just that s/he has not yet reached the relevant developmental stage. This can be rectified by the child identifying with a parent or carer and internalizing that identification.

It is vital to point out that if a child has never had the opportunity to identify with a safe and rational adult and has not, therefore, been able to internalize adult values, we cannot expect that child to have developed a conscience. Indeed, if there has been little or no justice or predictability in the child’s life, and he is ill-treated for no discernible reason by adults in a position of trust, developing a conscience may not even have been in the child’s best interests.

In extreme circumstances, for example, it may have been necessary for the child to lie, steal and cheat purely to survive; once s/he has learned such behaviors are essential to his/her very survival, these same behaviors become extremely difficult to unlearn. Below I list some of the main factors that may lead to arrested development.

(Video) Arrested Psychological Development and And Age Regression

  1. separation from the primary care-giver,
  2. all forms of abuse
  3. foster care
  4. adoption
  5. neglect
  6. parental alcohol/drug misuse

ATTACHMENT DISORDER: One of the primary traumas a child can suffer is a problematic early relationship with the primary caregiver, usually the mother (e.g. see Bowlby’s Attachment Theory); these problems can include the primary caregiver having a mental illness, abusing alcohol or drugs, or otherwise abusing or abandoning the child. In such cases, attachment disorder is likely to occur in the child – this disorder can impair or even cripple a child’s ability to trust and bond with others.

In such cases, it is the child’s ability to attach to other human beings which are impaired by developmental delays. Since such a child’s development has essentially become frozen in relation to his/her ability to bond with others, he will not ‘grow out’ of the problem behaviors associated with attachment disorder without a great deal of emotional ‘repair work.’


The main examples of these are listed below :

  1. little eye contact with parents
  2. lack of affection with parents
  3. telling extremely obvious lies
  4. stealing
  5. delays in learning
  6. poor relationships with peers
  7. cruelty to animals
  8. lack of conscience
  9. preoccupation with fire
  10. very little impulse control
  11. hyperactivity
  12. abnormal speech patterns
  13. abnormal eating patterns
  14. inappropriate demanding behavior
  15. inappropriate clingy behavior


Explore options for tailored, online care from BetterHelp

(Video) Why does childhood trauma makes us feel like a child? | Kati Morton

Largest network of licensed therapists

Personalized counselor-matching

Texts, calls, or video chats available

$60 to $90 per week

Child Trauma, Arrested Psychological Development and Age Regression (2)Child Trauma, Arrested Psychological Development and Age Regression (3)

(Video) Symptom of Age Regression


‘Differentiation’ refers to the process by which, as he grows up and goes through adolescence into early adulthood, develops his/her own identity and becomes independent of his parents and original family, thus differentiating him/herself from them. And, with increasing independence, he is also able to take on increasing responsibilities.

However, sometimes an individual fails to undergo this healthy process, but, instead, remains dependent upon his parents financially, emotionally, physically, or a combination of these three ways. Such individuals may continue to live with their parents well into adulthood and/or rely on their parents to pay their bills, perhaps because they are unable to hold down a job.

It has been theorized that the adult child’s inability to differentiate may be due to an emotionally enmeshed relationship between the child and the parent in which the parent ‘needs to be needed’ and so, unconsciously’, prevents the child from emotionally separating from him and keeps him (the now-adult child) dependent. This ‘need to be needed’ may derive from several causes :

  1. the fact that the parent’s identity has become so closely tied to that of being a ‘carer’ that s/he cannot let go of the role
  2. loneliness/fear of loneliness
  3. the need to have continued power and control over the child

Another possible explanation is that the adult child has a personality or behavioral problem, which prevents him/her from becoming independent of the parent.

If their dependence on their parents is particularly acute, they may be suffering from a dependent personality disorder. This could be due to trauma the now-adult child experienced in early life.

However, a possible drawback of a parent continuing to care for a child who has failed to make the transition to adulthood is that it maintains the now-adult child’s dependence.

(Video) How understanding ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT can help us heal from childhood trauma


Child Trauma, Arrested Psychological Development and Age Regression (5)


How does trauma affect psychosocial development? ›

Individuals with childhood trauma show much more depression, anxiety, distorted cognition, personality deficits, and lower levels of social support, which may represent the social and psychological vulnerability for developing psychiatric disorders after childhood trauma experiences.

What is arrested development in a child? ›

“Arrested development” is a term that describes this condition. It arises when a person is “stuck” at an early phase of emotional development. Arrested development can result from trauma, grief, or neglect. It may occur when a child, preteen, or adolescent is subject to an experience that they are unable to resolve.

Is age regression a mental disorder? ›

No, age regression is not a mental health condition. Involuntary age regression can be a symptom of mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dissociative identity disorder, schizophrenia, or mood disorders. Voluntary age regression is sometimes used to cope or for relaxation.

What is arrested development personality? ›

In contrast, the UK's Mental Health Act 1983 used the term "arrested development" to characterize a form of mental disorder comprising severe mental impairment, resulting in a lack of intelligence.

How does childhood trauma affect psychological problems later in life? ›

Early life adversity is a major risk factor for the development of psychological and behavioural problems later in life. Higher rates of depression, suicidality, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and aggressive behaviour have been reported in adults who experienced childhood maltreatment.

Does trauma freeze you at that age? ›

When trauma impairs your ability to develop full emotional maturity, this is known as arrested psychological development. Trauma can “freeze” your emotional response at the age you experienced it. When you feel or act emotionally younger than your actual age, this is known as age regression.

Do narcissists have arrested development? ›

Some believe that the narcissistic personality is created in early life as a result of maladaptive attachment. One school of thought is that narcissism is a result of arrested development, in which the person remains fixated at an infantile or very young age and only manifests in terms of their wants and needs.

Is arrested development a medical condition? ›

Arrested development is a medical term for stoppage of physical or mental development. Arrested development or Arrested Development may also refer to: Arrested Development, an American sitcom.

What is arrested development of the brain? ›

The chapter begins.

During post-natal brain development, failure to gain control of a psychosocial behavioral process during its critical period creates a developmental failure, often called a developmental arrest or fixation.

What kind of trauma causes age regression? ›

Age regression may be a symptom of a mental health condition, such as dissociative identity disorder or PTSD. Age regression can also be used a therapeutic technique, though it's a controversial practice. A mental health professional can help you return to a time in your life when you were abused or experienced trauma.

What is an example of regression in psychology? ›

Like children, adults sometimes regress, often as a temporary response to a traumatic or anxiety-provoking situation. For example, a person stuck in traffic may experience road rage, the kind of tantrum they'd never have in their everyday life but helps them cope with the stress of driving.

What's the difference between age regression and little space? ›

Basically age regressors are more at-peace and worry-free whilst in "little space" (A term for when one is in said mindset). Caregiver: someone who looks after a little while they're in little space. There are two types of age regression: voluntary and involuntary.

What is arrested adolescence? ›

"Arrested Adolescence" is a close-up examination of the psychological stages of development during adolescent years. It holds the complex issue of emotional trauma and disorder as a centerpiece in the coming-of-age theme.

Why is arrested development called that? ›

Put together, the term “arrested development” means the stopping of development. It can be used to describe the break of any process; such as making a building, but not having the roof tiles to finish building the roof of the building.

What personality type is Lucille Bluth? ›

Lucille Bluth - ENTJ

We see Lucille as having an ENTJ personality type.

What happens if childhood trauma is not resolved? ›

Unresolved trauma puts people at increased risk for mental health diagnoses, which run the gamut of anxiety, depression and PTSD. There are physical manifestations as well, such as cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure, stroke or heart attacks.

What mental disorders are caused by childhood trauma? ›

Trauma and Stressor-related Disorders in Children
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ...
  • Acute stress disorder (ASD). ...
  • Adjustment disorders. ...
  • Reactive attachment disorder (RAD). ...
  • Disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED). ...
  • Unclassified and unspecified trauma disorders.

What are the long term effects of childhood trauma? ›

PTSD in children can lead to depression, suicidal behavior, substance use, and oppositional or defiant behaviors well into adulthood, which can affect their ability to succeed in school, and create and nurture important relationships.

Can trauma stunt your mental growth? ›

Conversely, trauma—abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, lack of attachment, and other adverse childhood experiences—affect the structure and chemistry of the brain and can stunt its natural growth and maturation.

What does childhood trauma look like in adults? ›

Childhood trauma also results in feeling disconnected, and being unable to relate to others. Studies have shown that adults that experience childhood trauma were more likely to struggle controlling emotions, and had heightened anxiety, depression, and anger.

Can childhood trauma make the body and brain age faster? ›

Children who suffer trauma from abuse or violence early in life show biological signs of aging faster than children who have never experienced adversity, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

What kind of childhood trauma causes narcissism? ›

The development of narcissistic traits is in many cases, a consequence of neglect or excessive appraisal. In some cases, this pathological self-structure arises under childhood conditions of inadequate warmth, approval and excessive idealization, where parents do not see or accept the child as they are.

What kind of parent raises a narcissist? ›

Cramer (2011) showed that children raised by authoritative and permissive parents (high responsiveness) exhibited more adaptive narcissistic tendencies, such as superiority and grandiosity, whereas children raised by authoritarian parents (low responsiveness) were less likely to exhibit such traits.

What attachment style do narcissists have? ›

Narcissists have insecure attachment styles that are either avoidant or anxious, or some combination. People with insecure attachment styles feel a basic insecurity stemming from relationships with early caregivers.

What is developmental delay? ›

When a child's progression through predictable developmental phases slows, stops, or reverses. •Symptoms include slower-than-normal development of motor, cognitive, social, and emotional skills.

What is the definition of being arrested? ›

An arrest is using legal authority to deprive a person of his or her freedom of movement. An arrest is generally made with an arrest warrant. An arrest may be made without a warrant if probable cause and exigent circumstances are presented at the time of the arrest.

How do you use arrested development in a sentence? ›

Arrested-development sentence example

According to one theory, the germ lies dormant until December, when it begins to develop; but it is now believed that this long gestation is due to slow rather than arrested development .

Why was arrested development Cancelled? ›

Why Was Arrested Development First Canceled? Many things led to Arrested Development's cancelation, including resolvable blips like having to recast girlfriend Marta Estrella – but the biggest reason was the show's low ratings. Despite massive acclaim, the series went unnoticed during its original run.

What are signs of regression? ›

Regression can vary, but in general, it is acting in a younger or needier way. You may see more temper tantrums, difficulty with sleeping or eating or reverting to more immature ways of talking. If a child has achieved something like getting dressed by herself, you may see a loss of some of those skills.

Is age regression a healthy coping mechanism? ›

Age regression can be used in clinical therapy to help you move on from trauma. By encouraging you to look back at your childhood memories, you and your therapist can work together to overcome trauma and painful experiences.

Why do adults regress to childhood? ›

Insecurity, fear, and anger can cause an adult to regress. In essence, individuals revert to a point in their development when they felt safer and when stress was nonexistent, or when an all-powerful parent or another adult would have rescued them.

It might be used to help a patient recall memories of trauma or painful events.. Certain mental health issues make age regression more likely.. However, it’s believed that the “little” may not be a separate personality.. However, age regression may be a sign of a larger mental health issue.. It’s a type of defense mechanism that allows you to mentally escape to a different time in your life.. If you practice it as a form of self-help or relaxation, you may want to make sure you’re in a safe place and around people who understand this technique.. In this case, it can be a coping mechanism to help them relax and eliminate stress.. Age regression may be a symptom of a mental health condition, such as dissociative identity disorder or PTSD.

Some events can keep you emotionally stuck at the age of trauma.. As you get older, it’s typical to “outgrow” these behaviors, replacing them with more emotionally mature responses.. When you feel or act emotionally younger than your actual age, this is known as age regression.. Age regression means that, later in life, child-like behavior patterns can appear again when we feel unsafe or when we encounter triggers related to previous trauma — even if we’re unaware that we’ve been triggered.. “As a result, if healing does not occur, the traumatic incident can impede healthy development.. Trauma that affects your development can occur at any time during childhood.. “It doesn’t necessarily make you stuck at a certain age, but instead, [you are] acting out the emotional wounding that happened at that age,” Lapides adds.. Behaviors associated with age regression could include adult temper tantrums , difficulty with impulse control, or overly clingy or dependent behavior.. Still, these are not necessarily negative coping methods, and they can help many people feel comforted, safe, and loved.. As well as one-off events, trauma can result from repeated events, like an abusive relationship or childhood neglect.. “You can have 10 people survive a small plane crash, and each person’s response to the traumatic event will be different based upon their history, genetics, and their actual experience of the traumatic event,” Manly explains.. It’s how you process the event,” Lapides says.. For example, if your trauma has resulted in adult temper tantrums to cope with conflict, becoming unstuck could mean you’re able to turn to more adaptive methods, such as:

When solving our problems during adulthood, Freud thinks that we have two options: to solve the problem as an adult or handle them through regression.. While regression can vary depending on the individual, here are some examples of behaviors associated with regression.. As you can see from these examples, a regression can vary, as can the behaviors associated with regression.. Regression appears when stressful life events occur, and while regression can be negative, there are instances where people can see regression as a positive psychological behavior.. Some examples of adult regression include throwing tantrums, refusing to perform certain tasks when the tasks were easily completed in the past, sleeping with a teddy bear, or in some extreme cases, reverting to childish behaviors such as assuming the fetal position and crying and sucking their thumb when stressful life events occur.. Regression and retreat are often used interchangeably as a person will either regress or revert to behaviors when they feel safe and comfortable.

Kim presented “The Teen Years: Brain Development, Impact of Trauma on Growth, and Parenting Strategies Webinar,” a webinar for NACAC that included the tips below.. So understanding how to build connections with teens requires understanding how age and past experiences can alter a brain over a lifetime—and how those brain changes affect behavior.. However, trauma, abuse, neglect, major life transitions, and other past experiences or environments contribute to how the brain develops during the crucial period, as the brain calls upon familiar behaviors or frequently used parts of the brain to determine what areas of the brain to strengthen and what areas to weaken in this mental “growth spurt.”. Over time, the child develops whatever behaviors are necessary to secure that meal, and the parts of the brain in charge of those behaviors grow stronger—an evolutionary means of ensuring that no matter what, the child will survive and be fed.. Similarly, when a child faces repetitive trauma, their brain develops behaviors to survive the high stress and remain alert, and eventually those behaviors alter the brain: the parts controlling fear and anxiety grow to protect the child, while the parts controlling logical or more critical thinking shrink.. After the teen calms down and feels safe again, use developmentally appropriate language to work with the teen on determining what triggered them and how you can work together to address the situation differently next time.. A child’s brain development is often changed by the loss of birth family members, communities, homes, pets, and friends; early abuse or neglect; failed reunification or frequent moves in foster care; trauma; or the lack of a secure attachment figure.. Fortunately, with a deeper understanding of the impact that trauma and adolescence have on a teen’s brain, you can develop a more effective and understanding parenting mindset that disrupts the cycle before it begins.. Because trauma and adolescence can isolate the “thinking” part of the brain from the “feeling” part, it can be hard for teens to find language that describes their moods or experiences.. The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge takes a look at the brain’s ability to change and grow from trauma.. The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel discusses how you can help you child be the best person they can be by learning more about who they are.

We all experience feelings of stress—but the difference between reactions to our everyday stressors and a child’s traumatic stress is that reactions to trauma interfere with daily life, impact the ability to function and affect interactions with others .. You can help a child recover from trauma in the care of SOS Children’s Villages.. The effects of trauma manifest differently from child to child, and they vary based on age and developmental level.. Physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse (including human trafficking) Abandonment, neglect or disorganized attachment Domestic violence Violence in the child’s community (ex: school shootings or even mass casualty events in the news) Loss of a loved one ( Learn more about how to help your child heal after loss ) Change in caregivers Serious accidents (ex: car accidents) Medical diagnoses, events and life-threatening illnesses Natural disasters (ex: hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis) Exposure to substance abuse (self or other) War, terrorism and refugee experiences (including torture) Military-related incidents or stress (ex: deployment of a parent) Absent parent Bullying Major life changes (ex: moving or starting at a new school). Intense and ongoing emotional upset, including feelings of fear, terror or under pressure Anxiety or being in a state of constant alert Depression Nightmares or trouble sleeping Changes in eating habits or loss of appetite Trouble forming attachments or relationships Difficulty trusting you or others Difficulty concentrating or paying attention Regression or loss of skills the child had previously mastered Poor academic performance Aches and pains Pounding heart Vomiting Incontinence (loss of bladder or bowel control, including enuresis [bed-wetting]) Substance use/abuse (drugs or alcohol) Engaging in sexual activity/promiscuity Risky behavior. Many of these reactions can apply to children of any age (for instance, regardless of developmental stage, a child can suffer from nightmares, feel fearful or exhibit changes in eating habits).. Wondering how soon after a potentially traumatic experience your child would start to show these signs?. Childhood trauma recovery: What’s important to remember is that these reactions are normal and expected after a child survives a traumatic experience.. Trauma therapy: Using art to help your child healPlay therapy: Helping babies, toddlers and young children heal from trauma Every day, SOS Children’s Villages helps children overcome the trauma they’ve experienced prior to being in our care, including the loss of their parents and families.. We offer mental health programs and services to children, families and communities, and we train SOS mothers and caregivers to provide critical help to children who may have been exposed to traumatic experiences.. We also empower children to cope with their anguish through specialized trauma recovery techniques and psychological support from SOS experts in child care and mental health.. With seven decades of experience, SOS Children’s Villages works in 135 countries to ensure that all children in our programs receive appropriate care, stimulation and support to overcome traumas from their past—and build resilience and post-traumatic growth.

Erikson believed that during each stage, a person experiences a "psychosocial crisis" that either has a positive or negative effect on that person's personality.. This article discusses Erikson's eight stages of psychosocial development, as well as criticism of his theory.. The first stage of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development, trust vs. mistrust, begins at birth and lasts until around 18 months of age.. Stage 4 of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development typically occurs between the ages of 5 and 12 years.. While Erikson believed that personality is developed throughout the life span, neurologist Sigmund Freud based his theories of personality development on the belief that an adult's personality is primarily determined by early childhood experiences.. The final stage in Erikson's psychosocial theory of development is integrity vs. despair.. In addition, Erikson does not provide information about what types of experiences have to occur for a person to be successful in resolving the psychosocial crises at each stage of development.. Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development is organized into eight stages based on different phases of life.. Erikson's theory breaks psychosocial development into eight stages that occur during different phases of life.. There are eight stages in Erikson's theory of psychosocial development.

This abnormal condition results with someone being stuck in a certain emotional or mental level of development, and can be the reason why some adults act like children emotionally or mentally.. In the field of medicine, this is considered a developmental disorder that may result in a lack of intelligence or decreased mental status.. Lead characters of the show include Lucille Bluth, Michale Bluth, Lindsay Bluth, G.O.B, George Michael Bluth, Maeby Funke, Buster Bluth, Tobias Funke, and George Bluth.. (Video) Arrested Development: Lucille Bluth Banana Quote. Arrested Development Wiki Arrested Development Wiki | Fandom Arrested development definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary Arrested Development | Psychology Today What is arrested development – Definition of arrested development | Find Words Arrested Psychological Development: You maybe younger than you look…psychologically speaking… | Emotional Intelligence Training Arrested Development (a Titles & Air Dates Guide) | Ep Guides. (Video) The Man Who Accidentally Killed The Most People In History


1. Signs Of Developmental Regression In Our Baby
(Atypical Day)
2. Regression
(Kainoa Blackeagle)
3. Arrested Development Basics
(Art of Redirection Counseling)
4. SAS Analytics Lab Welcomes Dr. Abby Novak
(Ole Miss School of Applied Sciences)
5. Arrested development and the toll it takes
(Verity Vocalises)
6. Describing the Experience of Loss of Language Centers with DID Age Regression

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Dan Stracke

Last Updated: 04/11/2022

Views: 6066

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dan Stracke

Birthday: 1992-08-25

Address: 2253 Brown Springs, East Alla, OH 38634-0309

Phone: +398735162064

Job: Investor Government Associate

Hobby: Shopping, LARPing, Scrapbooking, Surfing, Slacklining, Dance, Glassblowing

Introduction: My name is Dan Stracke, I am a homely, gleaming, glamorous, inquisitive, homely, gorgeous, light person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.