Children, especially younger children, are often incapable of verbally communicating specific needs or desires. As a result, many children will act out in extreme ways, and frequently develop patterns of regression. For this reason, it is crucial that parents learn to analyze and effectively interpret their child's behavior in order to take appropriate measures.
Occasionally a traumatic experience or sudden change such as the loss of a parent or a divorce will evoke certain insecure emotions within children that they are not adequately prepared psychologically to identify or express. Rather than simply state that they are feeling insecure, or scared, or angry, a child will regress into infantile behavior that they know, from their personal histories, to have a specific effect on the parent.
For example, if a child knows that throwing a temper tantrum will draw attention, he or she may act out in order to seek support, assistance, or affection from potentially unavailable parents. Older children will sometimes exhibit behaviors that are inappropriate within their age ranges.
In any case, if your child is exhibiting some developmental regression, go out of your way to give them your undivided attention, and let them know how important they are to you. A child who feels that his or her positive growth and development will be well-received, acknowledged, or even rewarded by parents will certainly motivate them to behave more appropriately. Talk to your children about what they are feeling. Asking questions is a good way to gain insight into children's minds, because even if they do not know how to express exactly what they are feeling, you may be able to make some suggestions that they may relate to. Also be sure to give him or her some alternative, healthy methods of expressing themselves, rather than reversion.
Although, to some degree, all children will experience a period of regression throughout their lifetimes, if your child has undergone a severe change in behavior, seek professional help. Often, children revert to complete silence, shying away from all forms of verbal communication altogether, perhaps partially due to their internal frustration.