Friday, December 7, 2012

Coping with Holiday Temper Tantrums

Coping with Holiday Temper Tantrums

The holidays can be a fantastic, joy-filled time; however they also can sometimes lead to stress. This can be true whether you are a parent or not, but parents sometimes have their own unique sources of stress. The American Psychological Association has offered some Tips for Parents on Managing Holiday Stress 

"APA offers these tips to help parents deal with holiday stress:

Set expectations – Talk to your kids about expectations for gifts and holiday activities. Be open with them if money is an issue. Depending on a child's age, parents can use this as an opportunity to teach their kids about the value of money and responsible spending. And be realistic. Take small concrete steps to deal with holiday tasks instead of overwhelming yourself with goals that are too far reaching for a busy time.Keep things in perspective – Try to consider stressful situations in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing events out of proportion and teach your kids how to keep things in perspective, including what type and the number of gifts they receive.

Make connections – Good relationships with family and friends are important. So, view the holidays as a time to reconnect with people. Additionally, accepting help and support from those who care about you can help alleviate stress. Even volunteering at a local charity with your kids is a good way to connect with others, assist someone in need and teach your kids about the value of helping others.

Take care of yourself – Pay attention to your own needs and feelings during the holiday season. Engage in activities that you and your family enjoy and find relaxing. Taking care of yourself helps keep your mind and body healthy and primed to deal with stressful situations. Consider cutting back television viewing for kids and instead, get the family out together for a winter walk. It promotes activity and takes kids away from sedentary time and possible influence from advertisements."

Sometimes parents have additional sources of stress, including children who may act up. It is fair to speculate that most kids have had a temper tantrum at some point in their lives (and so have you).  However, temper tantrums have been in the news a lot this year. You may have heard that daily temper tantrums are not normal for preschoolers based on a recent study (see last Month's APA Monitor for an article on this.) "While 84 percent of parents reported their children occasionally had tantrums, only 9 percent reported daily outbursts." However, when the extra stress of the holidays come around parents may worry about what their family thinks if their child acts up. They may feel stress or worry that they'll be embarrassed if their child has behavioral issues during the family meal or other holiday activities. They may also have reservations about taking their child to the store during all of the holiday sales and promotions; particularly if their child may tend to have meltdowns if they don't get what they're asking for. It's good to remember the tips about managing your own expectations as well as those of your child.

When it comes to issues like temper tantrums the tips from APA are a good starting point. It is important to not just manage your own expectations, but the expectations of your child (or children). Being clear from the beginning about your expectations for them and taking steps to prevent problems whenever possible is key. Preventing temper tantrums and related difficulties is always easier than trying to deal with them "in-the-heat-of-the-moment." That's why another good tip would be to know your child's "buttons" and manage any triggers or other issues which may tend to lead to these behaviors. For example, if they tend to get crabby when they're hungry or tired it makes sense to stay within their reasonable limits and manage your expectations for them. In that instance you may not want to push it too far past lunch time without a healthy snack during the holidays. Some children do well with their usual routines but the holidays can be a time where routines go out the window and lots of unfamiliar faces may turn up. Try to stick to routines when possible and prepare your child when it's not possible.

However, another recent source of news about "temper tantrums" is the recent announcement by the American Psychiatric Association that they will definitely include a new diagnosis in the next edition of their diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals called the DSM-5. The new diagnosis is called Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, it is a mood disorder that originates in childhood that was introduced with the hope of reducing the number of children who currently receive pediatric bipolar disorder diagnoses.  The diagnosis is for kids who don't have classic manic episodes and who tend to be irritable with frequent temper outbursts. You can read a little more about Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder at the Balanced Mind Foundation's blog (they were formerly called the child and adolescent bipolar foundation).

Some critics have argued that diagnosing kids like this takes the "blame" off of parents when parents deserve the blame. On the other hand, some really great parents sometimes feel that the suggestions that they receive from professionals are implying that it is there fault that their child is showing a developmentally inappropriate level of difficulty with regulating their emotions and solving problems in their daily life. They receive lots of suggestions. There are lots of parenting suggestions for managing kids when temper tantrums start to get out of hand. One book that I like for parents is Ross Greene's "The Explosive Child." In addition to the concepts from Dr. Greene's book, an evidence-based approach that psychologists can also use is called Parent Management Training. While medication is an additional option to consider,  approaches from a psychologist or counselor often rely on the parent's help. This is in-part because a psychologist can only be with the child 45-50 minutes per week (and often less than that). In addition, interventions that work at the "point-of-performance" for the child often have the most success. So if your child is having their temper tantrums at home, at school or somewhere in the community, usually being able to intervene directly  in those settings will be most helpful. Parents and teachers are generally with the child during those times and psychologists will help by being a consultant to try new approaches for preventing temper outbursts and other difficulties from occurring and helping your child learn new skills "at the point-of-performance."  While some embarrassment with family members should be expected and some behavioral concerns occur in most kids now and then, when temper outbursts become frequent and severe it may be time to talk to a psychologist. You can find psychologists in your area by using the American Psychological Association's Psychologist Locator  and the Ohio Psychological Association's Psychologist Referral Program

Todd Finnerty, Psy.D. is a psychologist in Columbus, OH. You can also follow Dr. Finnerty on Twitter.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Resource List

These are resources compiled by the American Psychological Association related to Hurricane Sandy

Superstorm Sandy Resource List

Internet resources


·         Managing the Distressful Wait after Superstorm Sandy
Your Mind Your Body Blog
Written by candlelight by New Jersey DRN Coordinator Dr. Ray Hanbury

·         Managing Flood-related Distress by Building Resilience
American Psychological Association

·         Keeping Children Safe in Sandy’s Wake

·         Sandy update 4: Staying safe & how to help

·         Responding to the Distress of Hurricane Sandy

·         Hurricane Sandy Response and Recovery

·         Coping with Shelter in Place Emergencies
American Red Cross

·         Seniors Particularly Vulnerable in Sandy’s Aftermath
The Gerontological Society of America

·         Disaster Distress Hotline

·         Superstorm Sandy Impact Map

·         Hurricane Sandy Business Recovery Information
New York City Business Solutions

·         The Road to Resilience
American Psychological Association

Specific to children

·         Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers

·         The Great Storm and Flood Recovery: Children's Story & Activity Book
Mentor Research Institute

·         Listen, Protect and Connect: Psychological First Aid for Children and Parents

·         Trinka and Sam Children's Booklet
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Parent Guidelines for Helping Children after Hurricanes
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         After the Hurricane: Helping Young Children Heal
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Helping Young Children and Families Cope with Trauma
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Simple Evacuation Activities for Children and Adolescents
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Recovery: After a Flood
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Recovery: After a Hurricane
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Childhood Traumatic Grief Educational Materials for Parents
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Childhood Traumatic Grief Educational Materials for School Personnel
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

·         Teacher Guidelines for Helping Children after Hurricanes
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

News Stories


·         “7 Ways to Manage Stress in a Disaster”

·         “Katrina, Joplin survivors offer advice to Sandy victims”

·         “Cold, gloom can hurt survivors’ safety, mood”
USA Today

·         “For Many, 'Superstorm' Sandy Could Take Toll on Mental Health”
U.S. News & World Report

·         “How Disasters Bring Out Our Kindness”

·         “Resilience After Hurricane Sandy”

·         “The Psychological Damage from Superstorm Sandy”

·         “Mental Health and Hurricane Sandy: What Can We Expect, What Can We Do?”
Huffington Post
·         “For Many, 'Superstorm' Sandy Could Take Toll on Mental Health”
·         “Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change”
New York Times

·         “Elderly Face Challenges Coping With Sandy's Impact”
ABC News

Specific to children

·         “Elmo Calms Children Frightened by Superstorm Sandy” (video)
ABC News

·         “How to Talk Kids about Hurricane Sandy” (video)
ABC News

·         “Post-Sandy, tips for parents with anxious kids”
Fox News

·         “Stuck Inside? Entertaining Your Family During Hurricane Sandy”
Parents’ Choice

·         “Sandy coverage may cause PTSD in anxious children”
CBS News

·         “Children, teens at risk for lasting emotional impact from hurricane sandy”


·         La Greca, A.M., Silverman, W.K., et al. (2010). Hurricane-Related Exposure Experiences and Stressors, Other Life Events, and Social Support: Concurrent and Prospective Impact on Children’s Persistent Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(6), 794-805. Retrieved from 
This study examines the influence of a destructive hurricane on children’s persistent posttraumatic stress (PTS).

·         North, C.S. (2010). A Tale of Two Studies of Two Disasters: Comparing Psychosocial Responses to Disaster among Oklahoma City Bombing Survivors and Hurricane Katrina Evacuees. Rehabilitation Psychology, 55(3), 241-246. Retrieved from
Research conducted in the aftermaths of the Oklahoma City bombing and Hurricane Katrina showed that the type of disaster can have a distinct effect on how people respond psychologically.

·         Roberts, Y.H., Mitchell, M.J., Witman, M., & Taffaro, C. (2010). Mental Health Symptoms in Youth Affected by Hurricane Katrina. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41(1), 10–18. Retrieved from
This study presents the results of a youth assessment survey done 2 years after Hurricane Katrina regarding the prevalence of mental health symptoms with recommendations for post-Katrina mental health needs.

·         Serious Emotional Disturbances Found Among Children After Katrina (2010, January 5). Science Daily. Retrieved from
Discussion regarding a study done at Virginia Tech regarding the serious emotional disturbances found among children after Hurricane Katrina, including hyperactivity, eating disorders, fears, and learning difficulties.

·         Schulenberg, S.E., Dellinger, K.A., Koestler, A.J, et al. (2008). Psychologists and Hurricane Katrina: Natural Disaster Response Through Training, Public Education, and Research. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(2), 83-88. Retrieved from
This scholarly article explores ways psychologists can use their clinical training in a disaster setting in light of the author’s experience in Hurricane Katrina. (See October 2008 Buzz)

·         Wang, P.S., Gruber, M.J, Powers, R.E. et al. (2007). Mental Health Service Use Among Hurricane Katrina Survivors in the Eight Months After the Disaster. Psychiatr Serv, 58(11), 1403-1411. Retrieved from
A scholarly study on the use of mental health services by adult survivors of Katrina, concluding that few Katrina survivors with mental disorders received adequate care and future disaster responses will require timely provision of services.

·         Aten, J.D., Madoson, M.B, Rice, A. & Chamberlain, A.K. (2008). Postdisaster Supervisor Strategies for Promoting Supervisee Self-Care: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(2), 75-82. Retrieved from
Scholarly article focusing on strategies for supervisors to deal with the self-care of their supervisees written in the wake of Katrina. A supervisor self-care tool is also included. 

Call for Contributors

Call for Contributors Journal of Lesbian Studies
Deadline: November 30, 2012

The Journal of Lesbian Studies will be devoting a thematic journal issue to the topic of WHITE PRIVILEGE. There is little scholarship that focuses specifically on whiteness and white privilege in lesbian studies.

Possible topics to be considered include an examination of white privilege in:
-lesbian relationships
-lesbian communities
-intersections of white racial identities and lesbian identities
-representations of lesbians
-lesbian health
-feminist theory
-fiction -poetry

Please send a one-page abstract of your proposed contribution to adottolo (at) by November 30, 2012.

Proposals will be evaluated for originality and writing style, as well as how all the contributions fit together. Potential authors will be invited to write full articles in the range of 10-15 double-spaced pages.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

National Healthy Eating Day

The American Heart Association is honoring National Eating Healthy Day on Nov. 7 with these "Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget."
  1. Plan your meals each week: You can check the nutrition facts and create a detailed grocery list; planning helps to avoid impulse shopping.
  2. Shop for seasonal produce: Fruits and veggies are cheaper during their peak growing seasons.
  3. Look for generic brands: The ingredients are usually the same as the brand names, but they're much more affordable.
  4. Avoid eating out: Most restaurants come with extra large portions and price tags to match. Fast foods are typically loaded with excess fat, salt and sugar.
  5. Eat before you shop: Cut out the impulse buys.
  6. Frozen vegetables and fruit: Just as satisfying and healthy as fresh; check to make sure there's no added salt or sugar.
  7. Limit red meat: Eat less expensive protein. Fish, like tuna, has Omega 3 fatty acids; also nuts and beans have a lot of protein, but watch your portion sizes.
  8. Use newspaper coupons: You'll save over the cost of the Sunday paper.
  9. Make your own pre-packaged snacks: Buy a large container of raisins, nuts or pretzels and divide up.
  10. Grow a garden: The veg will be healthy and the exercise is good for you too.
For more information, call 1-800-AHA-USA1

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Resources from the DRN

Hurricane Specific Resources

Be Red Cross Ready: Hurricane Safety Checklist. Red Cross. Accessible at
This file contains information on what you should do to prepare for a hurricane and how to recover afterwards.

Managing Traumatic Stress: After the Hurricanes. (2011). Psychology Help Center. American Psychological Association. Accessible at
This article includes tips on how to restore emotional wellbeing and a sense of control in the wake of a hurricane.

Managing Traumatic Stress: Dealing with the Hurricanes from Afar. (2011). Psychology Help Center. American Psychological Association. Accessible at
This article includes tips on how to manage distress from watching images of destruction and worrying about others.

Emergency Preparedness and Response: Hurricanes, Cyclones, Typhoons, and other Tropical Storms. Centers for Disease Control. Accessible at
This website contains the most up to date information regarding natural disasters and severe weather, preparation, key facts, and recommendations.

COPE Hurricane Preparedness Newsletter. Accessible at
This short PDF includes important ideas for what to include in a supply kit for a hurricane as well as preparation tips.

National Hurricane Center Online Tracker. National Weather Service. Accessible at
This website allows for tracking of hurricanes and storms on the Atlantic and Pacific in real time.

Hurricane Preparedness. National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service. Accessible at
Part of Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 24th – May 30th), this consumer website offers information on hurricane history, hurricane hazards, and what people can do to prepare.

NCTSN - Simple Activities for Children and Adolescents (looks like a great resource for shelters or communities without electricity)
Resources from SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline  (references APA Help Center materials along with several others)

Tip Sheets
Emergency Preparedness and Response: Floods. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessible at
Published by Kansas State University, these three fact sheets address the psychological effects of floods and are aimed at helping those affected- Including tips on how to deal with your emotions after the flood and how to handle children who might be suffering emotionally.

Coping with the Floods; Coping with the Aftermath of a Flood; Flood Aftermath- Helping Your Children. Project Recovery Iowa. Iowa DHS. Retrieved from , , and
These factsheets provide assistance in knowing how to cope and how to get help.

The MedlinePlus Hurricanes page:
Variety of information and links.

GSA press release "Seniors Particularly Vulnerable in Sandy's Aftermath"

Additional Red Cross Resources
Safe & Well
During an emergency like a hurricane, letting your family know that you are safe can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. That’s why the Red Cross has developed an easy-to-use online tool, called Safe and Well, to help families and individuals notify loved ones that they are safe during an emergency

To register, people should visit the Safe & Well website and click on the “List Yourself or Search Registrants” links. People in the affected areas can list themselves as “safe and well” on the site by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address. Disaster survivors can also update their Facebook and Twitter status through the Safe and Well Web site.

Red Cross Shelter App
The application displays real time open shelter information from the National Shelter System, updated every thirty minutes. Shelter details such as the agency managing the shelter, capacity of the shelter and current population, the associated disaster event and the specific shelter address and location are displayed.

Red Cross shelter information can be found on our national website at American Red Cross - Shelters.

American Red Cross Hurricane App
Be ready for Hurricane Sandy with the hurricane app by American Red Cross. Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do.

First Aid App
The official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the official American Red Cross First Aid app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid.

Earthquake App
Be ready for an earthquake with Earthquake by American Red Cross. Get notified when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an earthquake-prone area or has loved ones who do.

Wildfire App
Be ready for wildfires with the official Red Cross wildfire app. "Blaze Warnings" let you see where NOAA has issued wildfire warnings, "Blaze Alerts" notify you when a new wildfire occurs and the "Blaze Path Tracker" gives you a current view of the wildfire's track and perimeter. You can also let loved ones know that you are safe even if the power is out and learn what steps you should take to prepare your family, home and pets – all from the palm of your hand.

From your mobile phone, call **REDCROSS (**73327677) and we will send you a link to download the app or visit iTunes or Google Play app stores.

The American Red Cross has developed emergency-specific checklists using the latest research, science, best practices and expert opinion. These include information on how to be prepared for many types of disasters. These checklists are online in multiple languages at the following link: Disaster Preparedness Checklists.

Checklists that can assist you are:
Flood Safety Checklist
Hurricane Safety Checklist
Pet Safety Checklist
Power Outage Checklist
Equally important, businesses should be prepared with emergency plans in place to stay afloat. Putting a disaster plan in motion will improve the likelihood that your company may recovery from a disaster. Ready Business ( outlines measures business owners and managers can take now to start getting ready.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
When disaster strikes, often people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger. With support from community and family, most of us bounce back. However, “Some may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties,” said U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. 

The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters. Callers and texters are connected to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the network. Helpline staff provides counseling and support, including information on common stress reactions and healthy coping, as well as referrals to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fat Talk Free Week October 22-26

Fat Talk Free® Week is an international, 5-day body activism campaign to draw attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the 'thin ideal' on women in society. This annual public awareness effort was born from Tri Delta's award-winning body image education and eating disorders prevention program, Reflections: Body Image Program®. For more information, visit the BodyImage3D website.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Out of the Darkness Walk: Thank you!

Thanks to all who donated to the OPA/COPA team in Columbus, OH for the walk on October 7th, 2012. As of that date, the team donated $1865 -- and there are mailed-in donations yet to be counted. It was a little chilly start, but a beautiful day to walk for a worthy cause.

Walking team of Mary Lewis, Catherine Malkin and Beth McCreary

Walking for a good cause! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 11th: National Coming Out Day

October 11th marks the Human Rights Campaign's National Coming Out Day. 

From the HRC's website: On Oct. 11, 1987, half a million people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It was the second such demonstration in our nation’s capital and resulted in the founding of a number of LGBT organizations, including the National Latino/a Gay & Lesbian Organization (LLEGĂ“) and AT&T’s LGBT employee group, LEAGUE.  Recognizing that the LGBT community often reacted defensively to anti-gay actions, they came up with the idea of a national day to celebrate coming out and chose the anniversary of that second march on Washington to mark it. To this day National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBT individuals to live truthfully and openly.
Please visit the HRC website for resources about National Coming Out Day.