To the readers of the said post a challenge was posted, "how do you plan to make your summer with the family a worthwhile and unforgettable bonding experience?"
As a special education teacher and a parent myself, here is my 5-step guide on planning an "unforgettable bonding experience" with my family.
1. Plan, plan, plan - an old adage says that "if we fail to plan, we are planning to fail". In every trip that we go, there is always some sort of structure and plan to guide everybody of what they can expect from the trip.
2. Prepare - a checklist of things we will need for the trip and a visual reminder of that list close by. I've got people with ADHD in the family and a handful we highly suspect to have it too. "Forgetting things" is not a surprise to me anymore. To avoid that annoying situation of having to remind people again what they need to bring, we just say "check your list". Now the only challenge is not forgetting where we kept our list... :p
3. Schedule - All our bags are packed and we are ready to go. We are on the road travelling and enjoying the scenery when the silence is broken by the donkey question.... "Are we there yet?"... The question vibrates like nails scratching on blackboard. You give an exasperated sigh saying to yourself "I knew that question is about to come up some time! I just prayed peace would have lasted for at least an hour not only 10 minutes after we sat on the car." You are ready to press the eject button when you realize that (1) you don't have one (2) that it might be illegal. How do you compose yourself??? You calmly count 1 to 10 and say "Check our schedule." which is basically the itinerary for the trip. The schedule should include a note at the bottom saying "Changes in time of arrival and departure may change without prior notice. If this happens and you feel like asking "Are we there yet?" just remember that there is a high probability of being left in the middle of nowhere. Consider yourself warned."
4. Activities For the Day #AFTD - you book your reservations to an amusement park or a recreation facility. You have your tickets and your schedule is ready when somewhere NATS (negative automatic thoughts) are expressed, "I dont wanna" or "I'm bored" or "Kayo na lang, I'll just watch". What do you do? First you erase those murderous thoughts from your head and remember "family are friends not food".
One way to prevent this from happening is to orient people of their participation in the #AFTD beforehand. Also, include them in the planning of the trip. This also gives them the opportunity to be involved so its less stressful to get them (especially teenagers) to participate. If you forget this crucial step, you can always use the "parent card" aka "because I said so".
5. Reflection - At the end of the day, when you are travelling back home exhausted and hopefully more "bonded" than ever before, ask this question for everyone to answer (yes everyone including parents), "What did you like about this trip?" and "What did you not like about this trip?" Explain your answer. This moment of reflection promotes introspection for everyone to realize their value in the strengthening of the family bond.
Note: This blog is written for sole entertainment of the author and should not be considered as a serious guide in managing behavior for people with ADHD, Some parts are written as a joke but it does not in any way belittle the difficulties experienced by people with ADHD.