Summer Expectations

– By Sharon Ashton and Raksha Dave-Gates (Counselling Psychologists)

Just thinking of summer holidays can raise a range of feelings – joyful anticipation, anxiety, even panic. Filled with expectations and hopes, summe ris a time of transition for all family members. Summer may mean that you have to plan engaging activities for young children, that you have (or are) a college-student returning home for the summer break, or that you are awaiting less work and more time with family and friends. Expectations of a fun summer will likely vary among family members and exploring these expectations will makea happy and relaxed summer for all. When expectations are not clearly communicated or when one family member’s personality type and expectations dominate others’ then summer is a source of stress rather than relaxation.
Janet Levine, the author of Know Your Parenting Personality describes nine types of parents and their transitions to summer vacation time. Knowing which trait generally defines your summer expectations can be helpful whether you area parent or not. To start, take a moment to reflect on your experience last summer. What was most positive for you and what did not meet your expectations? What do you expect you and your family will do this summer? Next,explore the following nine personality types and consider which describes your approach to summer planning most closely. Lastly, talk with your family members about their expectations and compromise on a plan.

Moralizers do the right thing, avoid errors even if they procrastinate and lose spontaneity. Summer is well spent for them if moral lessons were learned. The challenge in the summer will be to explore if others want to learn moral lessons.

Helpers are empathic,relational, and focus on meeting others’ needs. Their challenge will be to remember that boundaries need to be maintained even in the summer. Theri typical difficulty with saying “No” can be a challenge in the summer when otherboundaries of time (e.g., school, work, etc.) loosen.

Organizers are task focused,efficient, and waste little time! They need to stop and examine their to-do list to be sure it is both realistic and enjoyable.

Dreamers are creative, sensitive, and feel emotions deeply. Summer is sought as a time to form deep and intimate connections with loved ones. For the summer, dreamers can become aware of everyday and ordinary ways that loved ones already connect with them.

Observers tend to beprivate, thoughtful, and measured. They need to challenge themselves to be more emotional and physical in interaction.

Questioners are thoughtful,responsible, loyal, and aim to blend in. They often question and doubt themselves and also have difficulty trusting in others’ judgment and choices. Their challenge will be to believe in themselves, know that they have been responsible and can rely on others to make healthy choices for themselves.

Entertainers are energetic,charming, and spontaneous. Their challenge is to examine what level of planning and commitment is needed from them. Then, they can play all they want!

Protectors are powerful andconfident. Their summer challenge is to allow time for freedom from planning,openness to vulnerability, and playfulness with loved ones.


Peacekeepers are compassionate, noncompetitive, and avoid conflict at all costs. Their challenge will be to recognize that they are independent and their own needs are also important. Enjoy the start of your summer!