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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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Summer Vacation

June 2006

Summer vacation. The mere words conjure up images of lazy summer days, interspersed with water, ice cream and trips! We have wonderful expectations of what an incredible time we will have. However, these expectations may have little to do with reality, which is a very typical result of expectations. The reality is usually laced with frustration, lack of money and time and sunburns!

So, how do you have a good summer? First, discuss with your family what everyone wants to do. Realizing that some plans may need to be adjusted. No, we cannot go to Disneyland every day. Yes, we will all go together on vacation. Once the expectations have been adjusted, see what is left. What does your family really want to do this summer and how does that fit in with the realities of work, summer school and work and time constraints?

Then set up a plan of when you are going on vacation, when are the kids going to camp and when are you having days set aside for just playing, a very important part of summer. These discussions need to take place prior to summer actually starting since the first thing that needs to happen is that the entire family makes adjustments to the lack of scheduling. The first couple of weeks may actually have some tension in it due to everyone figuring out how to relate to each other with a lack of structure.

The second most stressful time is near the end of summer, when everyone is getting annoyed with each other and is running out of things to do, along with the increased anxiety of going back to school. Be sure to talk about what is going on with your family about there feelings now, as well. This will help minimize the tension.

So, the bottom line is have a great time this summer while holding tight to realistic expectations! Oh, and don’t forget to use your sunscreen!

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