As parents, we all want to provide our children with love and support. And as our children grow into adults, it can be difficult to know how to continue to show that same love and support—especially if they are neurodivergent. For those who are neurodivergent, there are unique ways that they prefer to receive love from their loved ones. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the five different neurodivergent love languages and how you can use them to better support your adult child.
Info-dumping is all about providing your adult child with information in a way that helps them feel heard and understood. This can take the form of talking through a problem together or reading an article or book on a subject that pertains to your child’s interests. It’s important for your adult child to feel connected with you through personal conversations or meaningful topics, which is why info-dumping can be an effective way of providing emotional support.
Parallel play is when two people engage in separate activities while in each other’s presence. This could mean taking a walk together while listening to music, playing board games side by side, or simply watching TV together without talking much at all. This provides a space for your adult child where they can relax without feeling pressure from conversation or interaction with you.
Support swapping is when two people come together with the goal of supporting each other emotionally and mentally. This could mean having conversations about what is going on in both of your lives, sharing advice on how to handle certain situations, or just being there for one another during tough times. When engaging in support swapping, make sure it is reciprocal and empowering so that both parties feel heard and respected throughout the process.
Deep pressure involves physical touch such as hugs, massages, squeezes, etc., that provide grounding and calming sensations for people who are neurodivergent. Deep pressure often helps regulate emotions as well as provide comfort during times of distress or anxiety. If your adult child prefers deep pressure over verbal communication when receiving emotional support from you, it's important to respect their wishes while still offering comfort and understanding when needed.
Penguin pebbling is based off of the idea that penguins will gather around other penguins who have lost their mates in order to offer comfort by pebbling them (gently bumping into one another). While this may sound silly, it’s actually a great way of showing solidarity with someone who is upset without having to physically hug them or engage in deep conversation with them—which can sometimes be overwhelming for those who are neurodivergent.
The five neurodivergent love languages discussed above—info-dumping parallel play, support swapping deep pressure, and penguin pebbling—are great tools for parents seeking ways to better connect with their adult children who may be neurodivergent. By understanding these five love languages better and using them appropriately when communicating with your adult child, you will be able to create stronger bonds between yourself and your loved ones while also showing them just how much you care about them. Ultimately, these five love languages serve as effective methods of connecting emotionally while still respecting individual needs. With patience, practice, and understanding, you will become better equipped to provide lifelong emotional support for your neurodivergent adult child.