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January 20, 2014 / Living Life Our Way

10 Signs a Child Might Have PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)

A child *might* have PDA if:

  1. They are a contradiction to themselves. On the one hand they do well with a spontaneous approach because then they don’t have time to worry or build rigid expectations but at the same time they create their own routines and rituals that can be extremely rigid. They need familiarity and predictability yet at the same time changing things up constantly is the only thing that actually helps. It becomes a constant mission to find the elusive balance.
  2. Every single ‘typical’ parenting technique suggested, including those for autism, have no effect or just makes things worse.
  3. Their favourite phrase is “I can’t because I need the toilet/am hungry/too tired/have a tummy ache/am busy doing this”. In response to EVERY request.
  4. After breakfast you ask them to get ready and they respond by insisting they are (suddenly) VERY hungry. If you gently suggest they dress first they scream and accuse you of starving them unless you let them eat RIGHT NOW.
  5. They ask you to play, then tell you every specific detail of *how* you should play. Within 5 minutes they are frustrated because you are not doing it all EXACTLY right.
  6. You ask them to help tidy up and they respond by saying they will in a minute but they are in the middle of a game. You repeat the request and they respond with something like “but the show is about to start then they need to hurry back because they are having a party at home. I promised I would help them. I will do it after that.” All direct instructions are met with an equally as elaborate excuse why not.
  7. You say it’s time to clean teeth. They say ok but don’t move from where they are sitting. You ask them to come to the bathroom. They say ok but still don’t move and begin a new game. Repeat at least 20 times.
  8. They give you ‘homework’ to do when you are not with them.
  9. You suggest you need to cut theirs nails because they are very sharp. Their response is “no they aren’t. I don’t even have nails!”
  10. They would make an excellent politician. At the very least you feel they could definitely negotiate with your boss more effectively than you can, despite the fact that they are only 6.
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