What To Do When You Can't Drop the Demand

low demand parenting foundations Jun 22, 2023

There’s a demand. It's hard for your child, but you can't drop it entirely.

It matters too much. It's too essential. It's too important.

This is where we get stuck.

We're likely to use our power over the child to force them to do this thing, based on the idea that they will acclimate to it, or that everyone has to do things they don't like sometimes.


But the low demand process works on a macro level and a micro level. Our goal is to get our need met without forcing our child to do things that are too hard for them. To honor their boundaries and deepen a relationship of trusting connection. What if you could listen to the tiny concerns that they have in this situation, and drop as many of those as possible?


Start by doing your work: Why is this demand so essential? What really, really matters about it?

This deep, positive expectation is what you hold onto. Then notice the aspects of the demand that do not matter so much. You may already be noticing parts that you can drop.


Finally, use these questions to note as many of the "tiny demands" baked into the situation as possible:

  • What must be stopped in order to meet the expectation?

  • How must it be stopped to meet the expectation?

  • When does this expectation need to happen?

  • How quickly must it happen?

  • By a certain time?

  • Will it be a race, and does the child need to win?

  • What must happen before or after?

  • Where must it happen?

  • In a certain position?

  • With specific items?

  • What order must it be done in?

  • Quietly?

  • Who else is there at the same time?

  • Alone or with help?

  • Which helper?

  • With spoken words?

  • What happens once the expectation is done?

  • What is my child expecting of the situation?

  • What is my child expecting of me?

  • What is my child expecting of themselves?


Tiny demands challenge adults to see just how flexible we can be. They require "both/and" thinking. We can hold the essence of the need and drop many of the demands, simultaneously.

Stepping out of rigid, "all or nothing" thinking is another valuable life skill that the low demand process teaches our children (and us). Can we all get our needs met, together, in a bond of mutual respect and connection?

Why is everything so hard?


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