Updated: Jun 21, 2022
What on earth is a Family P.A.C.K.?? It's a formula for creating and nurturing connection and harmony in your family unit. It's about honoring individuality, allowing space, understanding each other's needs, especially for those with ADHD, creating consistency and strengthening your family bond.
There are two different acronyms for P.A.C.K. - one centered on creating an emotional connection with your family - what that means and how its achieved, while the second is on the tactical approach to creating routines, plans and strengthening communication in your household. These two are strongly interdependent on each other. Having a strong connection helps keep the plans running smoothing, while having the plans and routines reduces conflicts and serves to bolster and nurture those connections.
Patience and Playfulness
This is a Super Parenting Skill! ADHD requires an inordinate amount of patience - patience for your children, for you, for your significant other, for those in your life. But that doesn't mean you can't also have fun! Keep it playful - for your children and for you! The studies prove that play increases cognitive learning, play makes the hard things we have to do in life more fun. The more you can teach your children to integrate playfulness - the more they'll integrate this into their lives as adults.
This is your growing awareness of yourself and your children - as individuals. You are whole, you are worthy, you are loved. Your kids are whole, and worthy and loved. Get to know yourself better - get to know your children better - their personality, their love languages their strengths, and their lagging skills. This will help define what routines work best and strengthen your connection.
This is the recognition and empathy of one's struggle and the allowance of space to go through and overcome the struggle. This is forgiveness, love, empathy. Forgiveness for yourself, for your children, for whomever else needs it in your life. We seek to understand root causes of behavior - what is this behavior attempting to communicate - the need for love or the need for safety? When we know that - we know how best to serve our higher selves and our family.
This is putting compassion into action. We always strive to come from a place of kindness. Imagine if every time you had a bad day at home - someone made you tea and gave you space to relax. Or if you had a bad day at work, your boss treated you to lunch and told you this was just one day out of many good days. We need to treat our children the way we want the world to treat us. They will grow up offering that to the world.
Note - these are not in order, but should all be used together interactively.
Plan and be Proactive
What works best for your family. What routines, processes, workflows ensure the best results? Work together over time to develop a plan and structure that maximizes success, happiness, and flow. The goal is ease and forming healthy habits so more of those required activities become second nature (use less of our "complex thinking brain") to free time and space for conquering new challenges and having more fun!
What are you going to do when the plan falls apart? You're running late. You have nothing for dinner. A party ran over. You're just having a bad day. The stronger your family connection - the quicker you can adapt when a plan goes wrong. Adaptation requires the base knowledge of each individual of your family - what are their triggers (hunger, over stimulation, lack of sleep, etc.) and what is the minimum requirement to ensure everyone's needs are met. When needs are met, even if the plan falls apart, you're still ensuring family cohesion.
Have an open flow of communication, without judgment. Communicate the plan. Solicit feedback on the plan. Work together to build the plan. Allow space for everyone in your family to tell you what is working for them and what is not. (See Adapt above). When things change, talk about why they are changing, how they are changing and what the result will be. Communicate expectations to each other and allow honest reactions to those expectations. The Family P.A.C.K. never assumes - always openly communicates.
This is two fold:
1) Know your family - their strengths, their personalities, their communication style, their lagging skills and their triggers.
Sometimes we take for granted that our children are a lot like us, we made them after all, but they are not. Even if they are similar - they are their OWN beautiful, unique people. Get to know them. (We'll help with this!) The best way to get to know your children is by also getting to know yourself. (We'll help with that too!)
2) Make sure everyone knows the plan.
How frustrating is it when someone says - "but I didn't know..." In the successful Family PACK - Everyone knows the plan, contributes to the adaption and participates in all decisions. Calendars are printed. Workflows are hung up and routinely reviewed. (We have templates for these.) Both are reviewed and repeated continuously (see Patience above). Nothing is assumed or taken for granted. It doesn't mean it will always run smoothly - but its a huge step in the right direction!