Weekly Column

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Why Anger Isn’t Good or Bad

Have you ever come home from work with an expectation that blew up right in your face? Your “quiet evening at home” turns chaotic when one of your children says they have a science project due tomorrow and your other child suddenly needs cupcakes for the class party. So much for a calm evening after…

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Choosing a Summer Camp for Your Kids

Just hearing the words, “summer camp” can make people smile. Why? Because it’s hard to forget a summer filled with new friendships and learning new things. This is true whether it involves sports, cooking over an open fire, identifying wildlife, stringing a bow or shooting an arrow. Since school will be out soon, it’s time to…

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Spring Break Safety Tips

It is hard to believe spring break season is upon us. And if you have teens or college-age young adults, you’ve probably had ongoing conversations about how they’ll spend their break. As kids try to get permission (and money!) for the trip, you’ll hear phrases like these. “I’m almost an adult. This is a rite of…

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5 Tips for Raising Good Kids

Any parent headed home with their first child is probably a bit nervous about this whole parenthood thing. You really want to raise good kids, but unfortunately, each unique baby doesn’t come with its own manual. Whether you shop local or go to Amazon for parenting help, hundreds of books offer different perspectives on the best…

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How to Score Those Life Goals

When University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling coach Heath Eslinger spoke to Chattanooga’s Downtown Rotary Club in February 2017, he shared a story about watching his daughters play basketball on their second and third grade team. “It was late in the fourth quarter and the score was tied. With about 10 seconds to go, our…

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What Americans Think About Marriage

A January 2017 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair poll asked Americans about their views about marriage, and what they found may surprise you. In 1960, 78 percent of American households were married.  Compare that to 48 percent of today’s households. Why such a dramatic drop? These days, many factors contribute to a decreasing marriage rate. Some say the…

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Football and Marriage

Every year on Super Bowl Sunday, both hard-working teams hope to carry the trophy home to their city. And they’ll do everything they can to win the game. As in any sport, there will be plays and penalties that the other team thinks are unfair or just plain wrong. From holding and pass interference to offsides…

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What’s My Risk for Divorce?

I was in my late 20s and Jay was 30 when we decided to marry. Both of us are children of divorce. I also had a lot of debt from putting myself through college, and I loved Jay and totally thought he was “the one.” But, I would be lying if I told you I…

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Dealing with Homework Pressures

At the beginning of the school year, a second grade teacher in Texas sent this letter home to her classroom parents: After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this…

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How to Help Kids Handle Rejection

When Sara left home on the first day of sixth grade, she was super-excited about starting middle school. She was anything but excited when she got in the car at the the end of the day. Sara told her mom that her friends since kindergarten had decided to end their friendship. The leader of group had told them,…

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How to Help Children Handle Their Emotions

How do you feel when your child has a meltdown? You probably do everything you can think of to help them, but absolutely nothing works. It could be in the store checkout line, at bedtime, the second you walk in your friend’s house or at a birthday party. You may find yourself at wits’ end…

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Make the New Year Great

The past year was an unsettling one for many of us. So, it’s no surprise that many people are relieved and grateful that another year is finally over. Knowing the page has been turned and new opportunities await gives us all hope for a brighter new year. No matter what happened over the past 12 months, keeping things in perspective…

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The Best Christmas Memories

For many people, Christmas marks one of the most special days of the year. It is a day to spend with family and to celebrate the birth of Jesus. As the day unfolds, people make memories they will remember forever. When I asked people to share some of their favorite Christmas memories on Facebook, here’s what…

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The Gift of Relationships

Between the tragic bus accident, wild fires and tornadoes, it’s been a very difficult and challenging time for the state of Tennessee. These unexpected events have changed many people’s lives and entire communities forever. Clearly, the families who lost loved ones, those who lost their homes and/or businesses, and the survivors have a long road…

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Ideas for Celebrating Christmas

As Christmas approaches, some eagerly anticipate celebrating in the same way they always have.  Others are ready to shake things up a bit and do something a little different. The thought of buying presents for all of their children and grandchildren overwhelmed Terri and Bill, especially when nobody really needed anything.  After several conversations about what to do,…

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A Parents Holiday Survival Guide

The song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And, in a lot of ways, it is wonderful.  Something about the season seems to bring out the best in many folks.  However, too much of a good thing can lead to serious meltdowns for children and parents alike. As you prepare to enjoy…

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Give Thanks All Year Long

A culture of consumerism, the recent election, fires, job loss, family distress and other factors have the capacity to create a dissatisfied mindset about life.  This discontentment can lead to feelings of depression, bitterness and resentment. Are you tired of the negative vibe? Interestingly, studies indicate that people train their brains to think a certain…

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A Holiday Without Regrets

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  And depending on how you look at it, this time of year can be filled with joy–or it can be filled with tremendous stress and regrets.  Whether you decide to do what you’ve always done or leap into unchartered territory, a different approach could be a very good thing. …

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The Second Half of Marriage

When the kids leave the nest and are almost off the payroll, that second half of marriage is within sight.  You finally have time to breathe.  But suddenly you have questions… What in the heck will we do with the second half of our marriage? How will we handle the challenges of aging parents, crises with the…

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Tips for a Highly-Happy Marriage

Do you ever feel like you and your spouse are roommates instead of lovers?  Does it feel like your marriage is in a constant state of chaos?  Have you caught yourself wishing for the life you don’t have? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you aren’t alone.  Truth be told, there are…

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Mom, Take Care of Yourself

It was a typical morning around the house.  Between dressing and feeding the kids and making herself look presentable, this mom wondered if she even knew who she was anymore. She enjoyed her children, but always felt like she lived in the mommy fog and had no time for herself.  She felt guilty about being…

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How to Be a Family-Friendly Workplace

If you were a CEO or business owner, how could you help increase productivity, improve your bottom line and decrease employee turnover? You might think it all boils down to money.  But what if the answer was to simply help your employees lead more fulfilling lives and be better family members? In 2009, the Sloan Center…

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Planning Your Ultimate Date Night

Can a simple date night really make that much difference in a marriage?  That’s a great question! You probably know about the benefits of family meals and the preventative factors associated with pulling off this feat.  For example, your children are less likely to try drugs and alcohol, and they’re more likely to do well in…

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What Makes Kids Smart?

According to Dr. Kathy Koch, educator, founder of Celebrate Kids, and author of 8 Great Smarts, every person, young and old, needs to know they are smart. “Smart is a powerful word,” says Koch.  “When children discover that they are smart, they are more willing to engage with all of life, including school.  Children who…

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How Friends Influence Behavior

You only live once!  Life is short, make the most of it!  Sow your wild oats while you can! You have likely heard these messages or perhaps said them to your teen or a friend.  However, those who take the message to heart without any boundaries often experience ongoing ripple effects from their actions or…

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What Every Child Needs to Learn

Did you know… Babies can hear three months before they are born? 80 percent of a child’s brain development happens in the first three years? On average, the ratio of reprimands, warnings or scolding to praise or encouragement is 12 to 1 for children in low-income families? A major study showed that by age 2,…

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Living Life with Meaning

Joseph Hernandez and his wife of 47 years were preparing for retirement and discussing how they would celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. At 67, Joseph was full of life and had just received a clean bill of health from his doctor. Joseph loved people, and he devoted his life’s work to helping others build strong families. …

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Blended Families

Remarrying with children often creates a complex dynamic.  Expectations may not be clear and people aren’t sure how to behave.  Ex-spouses and their new spouse impact what happens in your household.  Is it any surprise that all of this creates stress and conflict in relationships? “Most couples enter into remarriage with a tremendous amount of expectation and…

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The Cost of Delayed Marriage

Knot Yet, a report released in April 2013 by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies, The Relate Institute and The National Marriage Project at The University of Virginia, explores the positive and negative consequences for 20-something women, men, their children and the entire nation concerning two troublesome trends: The age at which…

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How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

Imagine walking out of your bedroom on the second floor and seeing your two-year-old climbing the outside of the staircase. That’s exactly what happened to Hal Runkel, marriage and family therapist and bestselling author of ScreamFree Parenting. “My son looked up at me with a smile on his face and said, ‘Hi Daddy!’” says Runkel….

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Stop Trying to Fix It

Perhaps you have seen the video It’s Not about the Nail that has millions of views on YouTube. As a couple sits on the couch, the female describes relentless pressure and pain in her head that won’t go away. While she vocalizes her frustration, the scene expands enough for the viewer to see a nail in her…

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Teaching Family History

Do you know where your grandparents grew up, where your parents went to school or how they met and fell in love? Do you remember sitting around the dinner table or hearing extended family sharing stories about the past, perhaps over the holidays? Stories like, “When I was your age, we walked five miles uphill…

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Secret Keeper Girl

Girls of all ages are bombarded with messages of how they should look and dress and what defines beautiful. Based on these definitions, they begin a lifelong quest to be beautiful.  As a result, they often do unhealthy things that could impact them for the rest of their lives. This quest begins at a young…

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What Girls Need to Know About Successful Marriage

When Barbara Dafoe Whitehead was a girl, her father gave her some rules for selecting a husband. He should be a man of good character and conscience. He should be a man who will make a good father and be a good provider. The last rule was: No asthmatics. (Her father was a doctor and…

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Toddlers

Brooke Womack was sure there was an intruder in their house when she heard noises coming from their family room at two in the morning. In reality, it was just their toddler, Marshall, who had escaped from his bedroom and came downstairs to watch Veggie Tales. “After nearly having heart failure, we told him to go…

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Do You Believe in Marriage?

Distinguished professor and author Dr. Pat Love challenges each of us to consider our beliefs about the permanence of marriage. “According to research, 95 percent of young people still want marriage and children as an ideal, but more people are living single than ever before,” says Love. “The median length of marriage today is eight years. “Three…

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Serving Makes a Difference

Joe Bradford grew up without a father and lived in poverty.  He was one of a few black students at a predominantly white school. As a result of a computer hacking crime, he went from standout college student to prison inmate fighting to stay alive. After serving time at a maximum-security prison, Joe was diagnosed with severe…

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What to Teach Kids About Marriage

In a Wall Street Journal article called The Divorce Generation, Susan Gregory Thomas tells the story of her marriage. She met a guy, and they fell in love.  Then, they moved in together. His parents warned them that being roommates and pals was totally different than being husband and wife, but they paid no attention. Instead, she…

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50 Shades of What?

Women are more than just sexual objects.  Even after the height of the women’s movement, they fight to seen as bright, capable of great accomplishments and worthy of respect.  For years, women have taught other females about the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one. Now, there’s Fifty Shades of Grey. Married women, college women and even young…

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Aging Parents and Broken Families

“In 2010, the first Baby Boomers turned 65. By 2030, 20 percent of America’s population will be over 65. As the Baby Boom generation moves into later life, the proportion of American elders who are divorced is skyrocketing,” says researcher and author Elizabeth Marquardt.  “The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2015, 46 percent of boomers will…

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Fishing for Relationships

Relationships are complicated, but “catfishing” takes things to a whole new level.  A “catfish” uses Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances. Have you heard about the media firestorm concerning Manti Te’o and his serious “girlfriend’s” tragic death? The entire country felt sorry for Te’o.  The problem:  The girlfriend never…

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Couples Who Work Together

Did you know that 1.4 million married couples in the United States not only live together, but they work together, too? Robin and Michael McKenna ran the family business together for 10 years in Savannah, Georgia. “My husband was working in corporate America,” says Mrs. McKenna. “We realized that we could either move around with his…

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How Marriage Affects Poverty

In 2014, a group of liberals and conservatives began discussing inequality and family breakdown, poring over research and developing solutions to this problem.  In December 2015, they released their report on poverty and mobility called Opportunity, Responsibility and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream.  “There are a gazillion reports from…

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Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Teen Dating Abuse

The former professional athlete sat in the therapist’s office, sobbing.  He and his wife had taken away their daughter’s cellphone the day before.  While watching television that night, a picture of the boy their daughter was “talking” to popped up.  It wasn’t just any picture.  It was a sexual pose with private parts exposed. Shocked at…

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When to Talk to Your Kids about Sex

There is a commercial on television showing a father and his very inquisitive daughter sharing a meal together.  Rapid fire, she asks why the sky is blue, why zebras have stripes, if turtles like cheese, why she has fingerprints, etc.  For each question, the dad gets a little help from an insurance agent who is…

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Cohabitation and Relationships

Arielle Kuperberg, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, claims that her findings on premarital cohabitation debunk 30 years of research. Kuperberg believes her study shows that couples who cohabit before marrying are no more likely to divorce than anyone else. Since the 1960s, there has been a 900 percent global increase in cohabitation. Many people…

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Struggles Can Lead to Success

A college freshman working as a summer camp counselor called her parents to vent about how bad things were with her supervisor. It was halfway through the program and six other counselors had quit because they were unhappy and not having fun. As the conversation continued, the parents realized their child wanted their permission to…

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What Starts Here Changes the World

Admiral William McRaven delivered the 2014 commencement address at his alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin.  He shared that after he graduated, he went straight to be commissioned in the Navy and on to SEAL training. Although McRaven retired as a Navy SEAL after 37 years of service, his accomplishments were not easy. He…

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Marital First Responders

If your marriage was in trouble, who would you turn to help you out?  Would it be a spiritual leader, female friend or a co-worker? Or maybe a male friend or a family member? “Results from our online survey indicate that people are most likely to confide in a female friend, followed by a family…

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Talking to Your Kids about Sex

Where did I come from? What are the birds and the bees? What is sex? Sooner or later, your child will begin to ask questions about sex. The mere thought of that makes some parents blush and get sick to their stomach. It sends others over the edge. Isn’t it interesting that we don’t hesitate to…

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