Somebody once said to me that house guests are like fish. They go off after 3 days.
That free accommodation with family or friends at the coast sounds like a good idea. Such fun for the kids to bunk in with each other or camp on the lawn. Lots of time to chat, play cards, drink around the fire.
It might be a cheap way to have a holiday and to bond with family but living in close proximity with people you only see once or twice a year can quickly turn into a relationship and holiday disaster.
What could possibly go wrong?
Whether you are an ADHD family or not the risks are the same, but there are certain aspects that ADDers need to pay extra special attention to.
My tips for reducing the conflict
- Have you invited yourselves or have you been invited by your host? Was it a casual invitation impulsively made by either the husband or wife? Before accepting an invitation make sure that both of them are happy about it. In most cases the woman will be carrying the load with the cooking, shopping, laundry and cleaning. She might not appreciate having a family of 4 or 6 or more descending on her home during her holiday.
- Set definite arrival and departure dates and don't add on a few days because the weather is great. Don't overstay your welcome.
- Even if you are not asked, make a contribution to electricity and water costs.
- Share the snacks, food and drinks costs. Treat their children to ice-creams at the beach.
- Your host's home is proably not geared to accommodate your trailer load of clothes, bikes, surf boards, games etc. Leave it at home or keep it stored in your trailer if space is limited. Respect their private space.
- Pay your way not only financially but helping with the cooking, cleaning and washing up. Many ADDers struggle to keep their space tidy. Make an extra effort while in someone else's home.
- If your family has allergies or senitivities to certain food, tell your host at the outset and make sure you have suitable alternatives.
- Some hosts may not want you in their kitchen, upsetting their routine and packing dishes in the wrong cupboards. Check before taking over their space.
- Keep the impulsive ADHD tongue in check (not cheek). Do NOT criticise your host's home, family, cooking or friends.
- Don't hog the bathroom, replace the loo rolls on the holder, pick up towels, clean the bath and basin, provide your own toiletries.
- If you and your spouse are heading for an almighty ADHD fight call a timeout and go somewhere private that you are not going to be overheard.
- Don't intervene in your host's brawls either.
- Don't belittle your spouse to friends and family.
- You are in someone else's home their rules apply. If their children have set bedtimes and other rules ensure your children comply as well.
- The TV remote is not yours or your children's.
- If your hosts don't drink or don't permit smoking in their home and you are desperate, go out for a drive or visit a pub. There may be drug or alcohol problems that you are not aware of and you could be opening the door to unwanted temptations.
- Don't kick the dog or toss the cat out of the window because you hate animals or are allergic. If animals are a problem for you, go elsewhere.
- You don't have to do everything together. Go out on your own or with your family so your hosts can enjoy their privacy for a while.
- Give your host/hostess a break and take them out for a treat or meal if they don't trust you in their kitchen.
Everyone loves a sincere thank you bunch of flowers, choccies and especially a handwritten note. Encourage your children to do the same even if it is just a Whatsapp or sms. ADDers often lack social skills so it is a good opportunity to teach them.
Know The Jargon - ADHD Acronyms
ADDer - a person who has ADHD or ADD
ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder
SCT - Sluggish Cognitive Tempo - a new name for ADD
ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder
CD - Conduct Disorder
OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Bi-polar - Bi-polar Disorder, used to be Manic-Depression
SPD - Sensory Processing Disorder
PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder
ACT - Action Consequence Trigger - monitoring forms devised and supplied by Living ADDventure®