There are different parenting styles according to each child’s and family’s needs. The traditional approaches may not work for some children. Specifically, autistic children, children with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) or children with high levels of stress and anxiety may encounter difficulties coping with traditional parenting strategies. 

Low Arousal Approach

There is the option of a low arousal approach. This means that the main priority is to keep children out of the “fight or flight” mode. Additionally, this approach can be promoted through offering choices and flexibility to increase a sense of autonomy. However, low-demand parenting does not mean “giving in” to every demand. It means adapting the daily activities and the environment to your child’s needs. It also means providing more autonomy by following their lead in their activities. 

Some parents find it easier to start adopting this alternative parenting style by reframing their child’s behaviours. As a result, you may be thinking that you are enabling a “spoiled” child. That you, as parents, need to maintain control at any cost. And that makes sense, as this is how a lot of us grew up. Under the parenting style that fosters rules like “children need to respect their parents”, “you need to have full control over your child and their actions in order to be a good parent”, “if your child is protesting, you are not doing a good job as a parent”. Instead of these unhelpful rules, low demand parenting explains the defiance as the result of a sensitive and easily dysregulated nervous system.

In traditional parenting styles, it is considered outrageous to “reward” a defiant child by reducing their daily chores. In this case, the reframing presents the reduction in chores not as a reward but as a necessary accommodation for daily life. An additional bonus is that this approach does not accommodate only the child’s needs but usually decreases the overall anxiety and conflict levels for the whole family.

As a primary goal, this approach aims to change the pattern of constant fighting, so you can repair your relationship with your child and help them grow. You need to remember that adopting a low-demand parenting lifestyle may look different for each family. Additionally, each child is unique, and the low-demand principles can be implemented differently to fit your needs.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Elena Marinopoulou is a Behaviour Analyst with the Willingness Team. She works with children and adults and has a strong interest in parent training, sleep and feeding issues emerging during childhood, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.


Bennie, M. (2023, April 12). What is low demand parenting or a low demand approach? – Autism Awareness. Autism Awareness.

Create a Lower Demand Lifestyle. (2021, March 11). PDA Parents.