Low Demand Reparenting: Healing Your Wounded Inner Child

mental health self-care Nov 04, 2023

Autism, ADHD, and other neurodivergences are hereditary. Meaning that ND parents are raising ND children.

Particularly with massive rates of missed diagnoses in the 70s and 80s, today’s parents are likely discovering their identity at the same as they are learning their child’s. This is certainly my story.

Adopting a low demand approach heals that wounded child who believed they were very, very wrong. Who believed they had to contort themselves to fit the mold of the world, no matter what they chipped and chopped off to squeeze in there. What’s the matter with me? Why am I like this? I’m too much. I’m too little. “No one will want to play with you if you act like that.”

And those harmful messages we received weren’t together wrong. The world has often been an unkind place. Our wounded child has received adult sized wounds as well. And then we look at our whole, precious, beautiful children, made perfectly, and those same words from our childhood sneakily float through our bodies and out our mouths. We subtly try to teach them to fit in, to break them to fit the mold. Or we resist, with every ounce of our being, and find ourselves feeling oh, so, very alone.

In the low demand community, we are healing these tender children inside us, who still cry out in pain.


If you are aDHD, you likely heard:

“What were you thinking?”

“Just try harder.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Earth to [your name]!”

“Go to your room!”

And you believed that you were too much, wrong, bad, lazy and lost. That no matter how hard you tried, it would never be enough.


If you are autistic, you like heard:

“Stop whining”

“No one else is throwing a fit over that”

“Just deal with it”

“You’re a weirdo”

“What’s wrong with you?”

And you believed that you were made wrong, too sensitive, but no one cares. That your interests don’t matter, your needs don’t matter, and that people will always hurt you or abandon you.


If you are PDA, you likely heard:

“You’re not the boss around here”

“I don’t care. You have to go”

“Shut up”

“Oh no you don’t”

“You’re grounded”

And you believed the world exists to put out your fire, that you were not safe anywhere, ever, and that no one could see just how much you longed for love and acceptance.


We, the unseen adult neurodivergent parents of a new generation of ND kids, have the capacity to transform the world. But perhaps more importantly, we have the chance to transform ourselves. In our homes and in our hearts, we get to break the rules that we were raised to uphold. Cake for breakfast. Just a few more chapters at bedtime. Paper plates because dishes are just too hard sometimes.

We get to root out and heal those deep tendrils of shame that whisper constantly that the world isn’t wrong, it’s us. We are the ones messing everything up. “No!” we shout back. “No. Not this time. This time I am raising a child to believe that they are just right, just as they are, and they need me to believe it too.”

Low demand parenting gives us the strength to admit that some things are too hard. That we really are trying our best. And that it’s OK (it’s beautiful!) to honor our boundaries, drop these heavy burdens we’ve carried for decades, and find a new way.

Low demand parenting is releasing expectations to meet our children AND OURSELVES with radically accepting grace and understanding. That radical acceptance is for us too. That grace and understanding fall on our hearts as well.

Quiz: "Why is everything so hard?"


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