Category: Well Being

What’s Love Got To Do With It

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


In psychological research, “parental warmth” is an important concept related to the quality of a parent-child relationship. Studies have shown that the presence of parental warmth is associated with a variety of positive outcomes including improved self-esteem, lower rates of teen pregnancy and underage drinking, lower delinquency rates, better parent-child communication, and greater college adjustment. Parental warmth seems to be a good thing. So what is it? And why should we try to get more of it into our relationships with our children?

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It’s All Right To Cry

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.



When I was a seven-year-old girl, I watched a television program called “Free To Be . . .You and Me.” Marlo Thomas, in collaboration with many gifted writers and entertainers, produced a show that promoted “independence and self-fulfillment, the human need for love, sharing and mutual assistance, [and] the joys of creative cooperative relationships with one’s parents, siblings, and friends” (from I loved the television program so much that my mother purchased the Free to Be record album which I played so often I practically wore it out. The songs and stories featured on the album have themes promoting tolerance and acceptance. It also undermines stereotypes of all kinds, specifically gender stereotypes. Read more →

‘Tis A Gift To Be Simple

By Sedonna Prater, Director, Curriculum and Instruction for the Knoxville Diocese Catholic Schools


Untitled-9As we enter the holiday season, we enter into a period of expectancy, longing, and preparation. This season is a journey of faith and hope that asks for our patience, as we await the arrival of that which we so dearly long for: The Christ child, the arrival of the lamp oil, the purification of the temple, or just that one morning where family members, once scattered to the four corners can all be together, sharing in the warmth of their love for one another. Read more →

Fostering Pro-Social Adolescent Development

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.



In my role as a forensic psychologist, I evaluate adolescents with legal problems. Sometimes these evaluations are in anticipation of a transfer hearing, in which the prosecutor will argue that the adolescent offender should be tried as an adult in criminal court, and the juvenile court judge must decide whether to transfer the case. In such instances, I am called upon to describe to the court the ways in which the adolescent’s development was derailed and the circumstances that contributed to the development of criminal behaviors. I am also asked to recommend interventions for rehabilitating the adolescent. In order to know what help these troubled adolescents need, it is first necessary to understand the factors that contribute to successful adolescent development. In their book Rethinking juvenile justice, Elizabeth Scott and Laurence Steinberg describe three conditions during adolescence that have been shown to foster social and emotional maturity: (1) authoritative parenting; (2) participation in pro-social peer groups; and (3) involvement in activities that allow for autonomous decision-making and critical thinking. Read more →

Helping Your Introverted Child Blossom

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.



In her remarkable book Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, Susan Cain describes gifts introverts have to offer along with challenges they face. Some of the gifts include a capacity for deep concentration, good listening/observation skills, and sensitivity to others’ feelings. Some of the challenges include difficulty with overstimulation, hesitancy to try new things, and reluctance to speak in a group setting. One of Cain’s chapters is devoted to effective parenting of introverted children with an emphasis on helping such children develop their full potential and ensuring they don’t get overlooked simply because they are quiet. Cain highlights several issues for parents, including: (1) helping the introverted child cope with school stress; (2) exposing the child to new situations and people; and (3) teaching the child social strategies to help him or her succeed in academic settings. Read more →

Help Your Child Develop Competence In Adaptive Functioning

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.



As you get ready for the new school year, take some time to assess your child’s progress in the area of “adaptive functioning,” also known as “activities of daily living” (ADL’s). ADL’s refer to non-academic skill development. Some good places to start taking stock of your child’s proficiency with ADL’s would be self-care and household chores. Read more →

Hallmark Moments

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


Like many people, I enjoy giving cards. I especially like the challenge of finding the perfect card for the intended recipient, one that accurately captures the essence of the person while also conveying the feelings I have for them. In anticipation of my sister’s birthday last month, I perused dozens of cards, sorting them into a group of potential winners. Ultimately, I chose a very sweet card for her, one that expressed how grateful I am to have a sister as wonderful as she. When my sister read the card, she hugged me, remarking how happy she was to have a relationship in which we can give and receive beautiful cards which have warm, loving messages. Read more →

The Psychological Benefits of Exercise

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


This past Sunday afternoon, I went for a run at Lakeshore Park in Knoxville. It was a beautiful spring day, with temperatures in the high 70’s, low humidity, and a light breeze. As I ran along the park trail, I felt inspired from seeing so many people of all ages engaged in physical activity. People were running, jogging, walking, playing soccer and climbing on the jungle gym. Some were pushing strollers and others were being pulled along by dogs. I especially enjoyed seeing parents walking with their young children. It brought to mind the times my husband and I had dragged our boys to Lakeshore for a walk when they were younger. They usually complained about being made to go but would end up having a good time. Afterwards, we all felt a bit spent, but relaxed and in a better mood than before the walk. Exercise tends to have this effect on people.  Read more →

Why Your Child Should Take Up Martial Arts

               By Barry Van Over, President of Premier Martial Arts International




Reason #1: They (and You) Will Get More Active

This is the obvious reason kids should do martial arts in this day and age – to get active and moving. In case you haven’t noticed, we have an epidemic when it comes to our nation’s obesity problem. We’re also increasingly unfit in addition to being overweight. The problem is particularly alarming as it relates to our kids. Youth sports and physical education programs are great, but not every kid is an athlete, and many schools no longer offer PE. The martial arts offer many benefits, but when it comes to fitness, becoming a true martial artist means becoming a supremely fit person. When I was practicing boxing or Muay Thai kickboxing on a daily basis, I was in the best shape of my life by a long shot. Martial arts can help your child get fit and healthy. Read more →

Get Outside, Get Fit, Get Active…

by Detective Aaron Yarnell, Knox County Sheriff’s Office


Spring has sprung, and the flowers are blooming! So, what does that mean?  It is time to get outdoors!  With beautiful weather approaching and the urge to get out into it, now is the time to put down your cell phones, iPads and laptops and enjoy the outdoors.  But, what if technology could help us with our healthy lifestyle and getting outdoors?  Let’s take a look at some great apps for your phones and even wearable technology to help with motivation to get outside and moving.   Read more →