What is Low Demand Parenting?Oct 20, 2022
WHAT IS LOW DEMAND PARENTING?
Reducing expectations in order to meet our children with radically accepting grace and understanding.
HOW IT WORKS
Demands are expectations we externalize onto another person. When we match our expectations to another’s true capacity, we communicate understanding, acceptance, and validation.
“You are enough, just as you are.”
In low demand parenting, it is not the adult’s role to maintain control over or teach obedience to a child. But the adult does have a crucial role to play. The adult discerns their own true motivations and priorities and meets their own needs, without forcing our children into compliance.
A relationship of forced compliance leads to internalized shame.
“I’m not OK as I am. I need to always be improving. Other people’s needs matter more than my limits.”
In a low demand relationship, shame melts away. Self-acceptance blossoms. We are free to be our true selves.
BEHAVIOR IS COMMUNICATION
As a low demand parent, I try to consistently and steadily honor my children’s boundaries and adjust my expectations to remain within their comfort zone. Why? I’ll tell you.
A crucial dividing line I teach my child is between whats’s “hard” and what’s “too hard.” I am essentially helping them find their own zone of tolerance. “What can I handle, and what can I not?” Since behavior is communication, the behaviors that illuminate the edge of the comfort zone are crucially important to recognize, listen to, and reinforce.
They are often more subtle.
A stiffening body. A far away expression in the eyes. Fiddling and distractability. Whining. Irritability. Eye rolling. Hanging on your arms and legs. Sass. Complaining. Baby talk.
When we find that line, the line that subtly says, “this is too hard right now,”
I get gently curious:
What specifically is too hard?
Is this the same “hard spot” as last time?
Has anything shifted?
Why might that be?
By respecting the edges of the comfort zone, I teach that we do not need to get to meltdown before we make a change. That I am listening to all the forms of communication that they are sharing.
Finding that line also helps me adjust my expectations to fit within their zone of tolerance. Matching my expectations to their abilities is a crucial part of the low demand approach. It enables you to be proud of them every day and enables them to fully blossom in your wholehearted approval.
They learn what’s too hard and to honor their own boundaries.
You learn to trust and support those boundaries by aligning with their abilities.
In the context of unconditional support, our children can discern the areas where they are ready to stretch. With a steady base and zero shame, they can spread their wings and soar to new places.
My children do not thrive when pushed. Instead, they need to feel fully safe and fully seen before they can make a step forward. Knowing I am with them, full of love no matter what, they can get curious and explore their inner and outer world. Knowing I trust them, they learn to trust themselves and lean on that trust as they grow.
Traditional parenting prioritizes adult control over children’s evolving sense of self. Many adults deal with crippling people pleasing, fear of their boundaries and limits, and a insatiable drive for self-improvement.
Yet, we are enough, just as we are. We have always been enough, just as we are.
What if you no longer had to hustle to prove your worth?
What if your children never learn this death-dealing pattern in the first place?
What if they grew up secure that they will be loved and accepted, just as they are, no matter what?
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