8 Strategies for Reducing Feelings of Demand

demand avoidance
  • This Quick Read is suitable for families of children of all ages.

It’s natural to not want to do things sometimes. If we find something difficult, or are worried about it, we might try and avoid doing it altogether. Sometimes, we might feel unable to do certain things at certain times. This is called demand avoidance.

For some children, everyday requests that seem small to us, such as asking your child to put on their shoes, can feel like a demand to them. This can create feelings of anxiety and panic. Some children may show what feels to us like an over-the-top reaction when we ask them to do something simple, and these feelings can stop them from enjoying everyday activities.

This avoidance of what feels like a demand varies considerably between children, but can also change for a child depending on how anxious they are feeling at that point in time.

For some children, this feeling of panic caused by perceived demands is so significant that it affects every part of their everyday life. This is sometimes referred to by professionals as Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). The term ‘PDA’ is something that creates a lot of argument. Some people find it a helpful term, while others disagree, and more research is needed. It’s important to know that it is not possible to receive a diagnosis of PDA. Sometimes children may be referred to as having a ‘demand avoidant profile’ or a ‘PDA profile’, for example, in an autism assessment.

More information about demand avoidance can be found on the PDA Society and National Autistic Society websites.

The leaflet below contains useful strategies if you feel your child becomes very angry when they are faced with everyday requests.

Follow Us

Related Content

Upcoming Classes

Refer A Friend

Refer a friend to My Family Coach to help them find the advice they’re looking for.