The Difference Between High-Demand and Demanding Children
The main difference between a demanding child and a high-demand child is that the former is capable of fulfilling all their tasks and adapting perfectly to any situation, depending on their age, but demands attention for a specific event. On the other hand, the “high demand” child needs vigilance and extra help due to their conditions.
We understand that it’s normal for children to demand attention, but this article will talk about children who demand it excessively and are therefore known as “high demand children” or “demanding children”, depending on their circumstances.
A demanding child is a child with a normal evolutionary development, who has an adaptation process appropriate to their age, and who circumstantially, for a reason, begins to ask for attention, to make demands. These children can handle tasks and have done so before, but due to a specific event, they begin to ask others to do things for them.
On the other hand, for “high demand” children, there needs to be a previous diagnosis because they’re children who deserve and require a lot of attention, for example, because they can’t complete school work.
Mommy, take care of me
“A demanding child is a child who is asking for attention,” explains psychologist Nathalie Sánchez.
The specialist assures us that, in general, there are no demanding children as a personality characteristic, however, children become demanding when, in one way or another, they’re constantly demanding that all the people around them attend to them, look at them, they pamper them, and respond to their needs in general.
If that happens, you need to be on alert because the behavior of a child who asks for attention indicates that something’s going on.
What could be happening to them? It’s the question you need to be asking yourself. It may be a general event such as the child not receiving enough attention or affection from their parents or caregivers, or perhaps the amount of affection or attention doesn’t adequately meet their emotional needs.
But this attitude can also be due to specific needs such as changes or particular events that can cause anxiety in the child, and that’s exactly why they’re demanding that others tend to him.
When children go through situations of change or difficult situations that cause them anguish, there’s a kind of emotional regression, the expert points out.
If this is the case, they usually behave like a younger child. And remember that young children are demanding.
Parents say: “It’s just that my child has become so demanding.” They say it because they ask or demand more things than we’re used to giving a child according to their chronological age, the psychologist exemplifies.
Although it’s not a standard term used by doctors or psychologists, there are those who qualify certain children as “high-demand”. These little ones, according to the explanation of the psychologist Rosa Jove, respond to certain characteristics.
- High intellectual abilities: 70% of children with high abilities or giftedness have been “high-demand babies” or even branded as hyperactive in their childhood.
Sharon Lind, in her publication “Before Referring a Gifted Child for ADD/ADHD Evaluation”, indicates that these children usually calm down with cognitive activities, or when they’re older, with video games where they have to think.
- Sensory hypersensitivity: There are children whose five senses are more sensitive. For them, for example, sounds are stronger, smells are stronger, etc. They also have a sensitivity to light.
There are other symptoms such as emotional sensitivity, being very empathetic children. However, the “characteristics” described above are very subjective, so the most advisable thing is that when you see signs or behaviors in your child that call your attention or with which you’re unable to deal, go to a specialist who, in the first instance, could be your pediatrician.
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- San Martín, M. (2014) Crianza de Alta Demanda.: Consejos útiles para la etapa infantil. Editorial: DigitalMadrid.
- Revista Eroski Consumer. (2013) Bebés de alta demanda: ¿cómo reconocerlos? España; Págs 38-39. http://revista.consumer.es/web/es/20131101/pdf/bebe.pdf
- Soler Sarrió, Alberto; Roger Sánchez, Concepción. (2018) Bebés de alta demanda: ¿tienes uno de ellos? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VI9usa9KLw
- Damilano, G., & Dagatti, K. (2003). Temperamento de los niños preescolares, según la percepción de sus padres: resultados de una encuesta. Revista Mexicana de Pediatría, 70(3), 123-127. https://www.medigraphic.com/cgi-bin/new/resumen.cgi?IDARTICULO=8088
- San Marti, M (2013). Entrevista a Rosa Jové sobre bebés y niños de alta demanda: parte 1. [Blog: Crianza de alta demanda] Disponible en: