Raising High Demand Children
Raising high demand children can be exhausting. In this article you'll learn about ways to help cope with this situation. Read on!
It’s normal for young children to be very demanding and persistent. However, when raising high demand children, it can feel like they never seem to be satisfied no matter what you do, and they continually demand your attention, without ever giving you a break.
What are the characteristics of these children? What should parents know when it comes to raising high demand children? How can they help cope with this situation?
Characteristics of high demand children
High demand children have a difficult temperament and are very demanding with their parents. The main characteristic of these children is that they constantly require the attention of their parents and other adults. Thus, raising high demand children is exhausting.
These children need continuous physical contact. Therefore, it’s common for them to manifest separation anxiety. These children are easily frightened. Thus, they don’t like being by themselves.
However, despite their difficult temperament, they’re usually very sensitive children as well. For this reason, parents should be especially careful when they talk about their child, as they tend to be quite attentive to criticism.
Why are they so demanding?
According to clinical psychologist Úrsula Perona, the child’s demands aren’t whims. These children are very demanding because they require more attention, affection, and contact with adults.
Perona delves into how exhausting raising high demand children can be. In addition, she explains that their demands for attention shouldn’t always be satisfied by attachment figures. In fact, she encourages being a source of support, since what the child especially needs is continuous attention from adults.
“These children expect understanding, affection, praise, and validation even when they’re in the wrong. They believe other people exist to make them feel good. There is never enough to fill them up. They feel that their life is profoundly unfair if their desire of the moment is not forthcoming. If not continually validated, they can lapse into anxiety, depression, and shame.”
– Lynne Namka –
How to confront high demand children
As we already explained, the demands of high demand children aren’t whims. Instead, their temperament and character play a role. Therefore, the way you should approach their upbringing is to teach them how to manage their demands.
- Knowing how to accept “no” for an answer. Since they’re very young, children have to learn that they can’t get everything they want and that rejection is part of life. Let your child understand that some of their demands will be well-received on some occasions but not always.
- Ask, not demand. You must understand that children need attention and care and that their survival instinct alerts them that they depend on you. The younger the child, the more demanding they’ll be. However, they must understand that they must request your attention and ask you for their wishes and needs in a polite and respectful way (using please and thank you). Let them know that they must change their tone.
- Try to avoid complaining or bad-mouthing them when they can hear you. You must be very careful with comments such as “I’ve had enough” or “This child is impossible.” As Perona warns, there’s a risk of self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Show special attention to your child when they behave appropriately. The goal of high demand children is to get the attention of parents and adults. Thus, if they realize that they get your attention when they behave well, they’ll continue doing so.
- Don’t give in to their demands. Using the broken record technique, indifference, or creating a distraction are some of the best ways to avoid giving in to high demand children.
Raising high demand children can be very frustrating and their parents will probably end up feeling guilty at times. They think it’s because they’re overly pampering them or because they’re doing something wrong, when it’s simply the child’s character and personality.