"THE HEART OF THE MATTER"
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)


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Week: 548.3 Guest: Virginia Scott, Family Wellness Instructor, Santa Cruz, CA Topic: Learning parenting/ family skills Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: I have a friend who said he couldn't be a parent, he wouldn't know how. I countered with...who does? Parenting is the original on-the-job training, and we could all use skills to handle the situations and problems that invariably come up in family life today, and to use in the creation of good adults? We're with Virginia Scott of Family Wellness programs in Santa Cruz, California....

SCOTT: Our family wellness program is designed to provide the latest information that family therapists have gathered and family therapy researchers have gathered, and put into everyday common language....in a format that makes it user friendly for families. So, we have developed a 12 hour basic course, and we have trained over 800 instructors all over the world who take this program and present it to groups of families.

NEMA: Give me some examples of how a wellness program can be part of some tough family situations....

SCOTT: A family may have a teenagers that are using drugs, and they may get some specialized treatment around that, but they also would be invited, and encouraged and, in some cases, court-mandated to participate in a family wellness program as well. We're working with the courts now in child abuse and in many cases we have family wellness programs designed into the services that become available and required for that family. We have programs where they'll bring the family members of the incarcerated person to the prison, and together they learn some skills, because we know that it's not enough to just take a person who had done something wrong and punish them, and we can't just take their children away, can't take care of them at the public expense. We really need to be able to invest in these families being better skilled.

NEMA: Seems a blend of teaching and counseling....

SCOTT: We don't see ours as therapy, we see it as education for parents and for children together. And when parents are in the room with other parents and kids are in the room with other kids, they get to see how other families are managing themselves together.

NEMA: This generation of parents wants to give so much to their kids and more parents than ever before are able to give their children things...homes, clothes, travel...but find that they don't have the time, or the connection with their kids that they hope for....

SCOTT: They feel so guilty for the mistakes they've made as parents, and in many cases, it immobilizes them...they get discouraged and they give up. And what we try to do partly is to increase their ability to teach and a lot of times, their mind opens up, and they're creative again about how to perform that mysterious and complicated job of being a good parent.

NEMA: Your family wellness program seems a perfect fit with a high school curriculum...

SCOTT: Because it's easily incorporated into their system...they can measure quickly whether it's increasing the attendance of kids at school, helping with behavior problems in classes, whether it's bringing parents into the school if they want.

NEMA: Virginia Scott of Family Wellness Programs....in Santa Cruz, California. If you are interested in learning more about being a good parent, and we all should be, you can call her at 408-426-5588 for a referral to a family wellness instructor in your area. If you have any doubt that their work is needed, look around at the problems we all have, centered on the disappearing family structure...and the hectic nature of our lives. Focusing our eyes at home can help. I'm Steve Girard.

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Last modified: April 23, 2022