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March 22, 2022 29 mins

Ryan Gorman hosts an iHeartRadio nationwide special featuring Dr. Tina Carroll-Scott, a pediatrician and the Medical Director of the South Miami Children’s Clinic. Dr. Scott discusses the latest info on kids and COVID. Also, Parenting Expert and Founder of The Parenting 411 Carol Muleta joins the show for National Single Parent Day. She discusses the challenges single parents across the country deal with regularly, along with tips for overcoming them. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to I Heart Radio Communities, a public affairs special
focusing on the biggest issues impacting you this week. Here's
Ryan Gorman. Thanks for joining us here on I Heart
Radio Communities. I'm Ryan Gorman, and we have some important
conversations lined up for you. In a moment, I'll talk
to the medical director of South Miami Children's Clinic. We're

gonna dive into the latest info on kids in COVID
and get the most up to date information on the
COVID vaccines for kids too. Then, ahead of National Single
Parent Day this Monday, I'll talk to the founder of
the Parenting four one one parenting expert Carol Mouletta, with
some great tips for overcoming some of the challenges so
many single parents face across the country. Right now, to

get things started, I'm joined by Dr Tina Carol Scott,
a general practitioner and the medical director of the South
Miami Children's Clinic. Dr Scott, thank you so much for
coming on the show. And you've been on the front
lines as a pediatrician since COVID nineteen first became an issue.
What kind of an impact does the pandemic had on children? Well,

I wanted to just start off with saying thank you
for having me on. And you know, although kids for
the most part has spared well compared to adults when
it comes to not getting severe illness or dying from
this virus, UH, the mental health issues have increased dramatically
the last two years in my practice, and I know

every pediatrician is seeing the same thing across the country.
And I've been in practice for over twenty six years
and I've not seen this level of mental health issues
when it comes to anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and even
eating disorders. UM. So, I think the social isolation has

been extremely difficult for many children, and remote learning it
may have worked for some families, but floyd to families
I serve UM. I work in an underserved community UM
with primarily black and Hispanic patients who have been disproportionately
affected by by this virus, and it's been devastating. UM.
Many of the kids you know where I work were

already behind academically, and so they fell even further behind
UM with the shutdowns, even if they had computer access
or WiFi. And when families with more resources could establish
these learning pods or pandemic pods to code learning losses
during the shutdowns. This wasn't the case for a lot

of families, Like in the neighborhood where I work, so
many of these parents are essential workers and they could
not stay home to supervise younger children with online studies,
and so a lot of these kids um fell further behind,
and they were already living in dysfunctional homes where they
had trauma occurring, and they lost their safety net um

with being in school during the shutdowns. And so that
was another fallout from from the pandemic. And then lastly,
what I would say is that, um, you know, we
don't talk a lot about this, and we should because um,
we get focused on, you know, the deaths, which we
obviously do need to be concerned about that, but you know,
we titles were a hundred and seventy thousand children in

the US since the onset of the pandemic who have
lost a parent or primary caregiver, and children from racial
and ethic minorities were hard as hit. So for every
white American child who became an orphan during the pandemic,
two point four Black American children lost a primary caregiver.

And so the pandemic is not just about the deaths,
and you know, we're going to have repercussions for years
to come when it comes to issues like that with
children being left without a caregiver. So I would say
that those are probably the biggest things that I saw
personally within the community where I work and with my patients.

That's a really important point that you just brought up.
And when it comes to the mental help impact on
que are we looking at issues that can be pretty
easily reversed with the right support, or are these issues
that could have long term impacts on these kids. That's

that's a really interesting question. And you know, and I
can tell you that even pre pandemic, UM, you know,
we were starting to see a little bit of an
an uptick with mental health issues with with kids and
that just got exacerbated during the pandemic. And one of
the issues that I've had, and I know it's not
only me, was finding resources in the community for these

kids UM as far as um out patient services, whether
it's seeing a you know, a psychiatrist or a therapist.
And so during the pandemic, that just got even ten
times worth as far as having any type of resources
in the community. So what happened is that you know,
usually your pediatrician is your your first contact for anything,

and now UM, you know, we as pediatricians are having
to to take on, you know, a lot of what
we would have referred out, you know, to a psychiatrist
or to a psychologist. You know, we're we're having to
keep that in house and to um you know, initiate
medication if we need to for anxiety depression. So we're
dealing with, UM, you know, with a lot of mental

health issues. I mean, not what we used to consider
you know, bread and butter re pediatrics. And I don't know, honestly, UM,
as as things have opened up, you know, whether whether
or not this is gonna I don't think it's going
to be a quick fix, you know. I think, UM,
we definitely have to broaden resources for mental health. I
think that we need federal funding, especially for UM more

school based programs, because the schools are operating with less resources,
but it taken on a great a greater burden when
it comes to UH kids with these mental health issues.
And so I think we really need to support our
our public schools and give them the type of funding
that they need so that we can have some you know,
so better school based programs when it comes to mental health. So, UM,

I don't think it's going to be an easy fix.
I do think that we will be dealing with this
for for you know, for years to come, and you know,
and I think that that's that's the you know, the
most honest answer that I can give you at this point, um,
Ryan Gorman, joined by Dr Tina Carroll Scott, a general
pediatrician and the medical director of the South Miami Children's Clinic.
In terms of the health effects from COVID nineteen, children

generally fared much better than older adults. Well, can you
tell us about some of the symptoms that they experience
and also why perhaps they did better than others? All right, So, um,
I think, um, you know, we don't quite know the
answer to that. And but I also think that there's

a false narrative that that kids don't get sally ill,
hospitalized or or die from this. Um And and it's
you know, definitely during Delta and and Olmer Corn, the
preponderance of hospitalized children and adults has still continued to
be in the unvaccinated And so although children are less
likely to get severely ill on a whole there's really

no way to predict how COVID may affect an individual child.
And thirty to fifty of the children hospitalized during the
last two ways with Delta and with omicron, we're actually
healthy children with no underlying health issues. And we've had
nearly one thousand US children die UM from COVID and

not all of them had an underlying health issue. So
I will say that. UM. The other thing that I
would say, and you know that we were just starting
to learn about more is long COVID and UM it's
something that we've talked more about with with adults, but
we're starting to see children suffer from this as well,
even if they had a mild illness. And I'm seeing this, UM,

I'm seeing cases in my own practice with children who
were completely healthy athletes in some cases who are now
coming in with complaints of chronic fatigue, headaches, brain fog,
body aches, and so I think that there's there's so
much more that we don't know about this virus and
it's long term effects. UM. So you know, I think

I think that that's that's pretty much what you know,
what we're dealing with when when it comes to kids. UM,
as far as um, you know any any other effects.
We know about myocarditis, and I think you know that's
that's been on the minds of a lot of parents,
especially with you know, with the m R and A vaccines,
and we know that that is a safety signal, UM.

And what myocarditis is for you know, for the listeners,
it's basically it's an inflammation of the heart muscle. And
this has been used as as a reason by um
our for a surgeon General to not vaccinate quote unquote
healthy children. Um And, but we need to put the
actual risk in in perspective. UM. It's a very rare

occurrence after getting vaccinated with an m R and A vaccine,
and we expect about forty cases for one million doses
of the vaccine administered among people under thirty years of age,
and it is more common in adolescent boys after the
second dose. No myocarditis best have been linked to the vaccine.
And you know, what people need to also understand is

that myocarditis can be caused by any virus UM and
you know, including you know, COVID and and and if
you get infected with COVID, the rate of getting myocarditis
is actually much higher with the actual infection UM and
you know, and more severe than anything caused by by
the vaccine. So I think that you know that people need,

you know, really need to look at the entire picture
and to see what the risk is. And it's a
it's a very rare occurrence UM from the actual vaccine.
So I mean, it's it's it's it's much better for
you to get vaccinated than than not because the risk
is higher getting infected with COVID. I'm Ryan Gorman, joined
by Dr Tina Carroll Scott, a general pediatrician for over

twenty six years. She's also the medical director of the
South Miami Children's Clinic. While we're on the topic of vaccinations,
COVID vaccine authorization for younger kids under the age of
five could be coming real soon, but it also seems
that many vaccinated parents still haven't gotten their older children
five years or older vaccinated. What are you seeing in

the families who are coming to your clinic and what
are some of the biggest concerns among parents that they're
sharing with you. So, you know, I definitely think, which
we anticipated that even for parents that are fully vaccinated
and boosted and got their older children twelve and older
vaccinated that as the age dropped for the vaccines, that

the hesitancy increased. And you know, I think that probably
the biggest concern with the younger age groups is concerned
about long term effects UM from from the vaccine. And
you know, as I stated before, you know, I think
that there is a false narrative going around that only
children was underlying health issues get severely ill, hospitalized or

or die from COVID and you know, and I think
that that has definitely contributed to UM, the decreased acceptance
that that we're seeing UM. And you know, and what
I'm telling you know, many many of my parents is that, UM, yes,
it's true that you know, we I mean, you know,

we don't know everything about this this vaccine, but we
know we know a lot, right and you know what
we know is that you know, this this vaccine has
been rigorously tested. And in fact, I want to add
this that the vast majority of children that were enrolled
in the study trials UM for fiz or were actually

those of physicians, and many physicians participated in the adult
els as well, and they did this because they wanted
to advance science and to provide critical information. So that
other people could make an informed decision about whether or
not the vaccines you know we're safe and hopefully put
an end to this, you know, to this pandemic. And
in the history of vaccines UM we have never seen

um AD door side effects show up after the second month.
And we've been you know, we've been following kids for
much longer than that, you know, since UMD visor got
got the approval for the five to eleven year old
age group, and we've also been following the study trial
participants for even longer. And so what I'm telling you know,
parents is that UM there's you know, there's zero you know,

there isn't like you know, a risk free I guess
you know, um option for you know, whether it's the
vaccine or you know, or getting the actual infection. But
for me, I would rather put my faith in the
well researched vaccine where we have the data and you know,
we've seen the millions of children who have already been

vaccinated and nothing bad has happened to them, versus the
true unknown of this virus that just came onto our
radar um two years ago. And although there is a
lot more that we that we know about this virus
as far as how to treat it, there's there's still
a randomness and an unpredictability with this virus where when

we think we've gotten it figured out, you know, it
does something completely different that you know, that we didn't expect.
And you know, and just because kids have been fired
well so far, doesn't mean that we could not get
a variant that affects our healthy children in greater numbers
and more severely. And so I think what, you know,

what we need to do is that we you know,
we need to be tent steps ahead always with this virus,
and we need to be proactive and not reactive. And
so we should not have to wait for another to
come out that may catch us all off guard and
you know, and start affecting um or infecting children in
greater numbers and more severely for us to decide that

we need to vaccinate our children. And so I think
that that's that's probably the you know, the biggest message
that you know, I want that I want to parents
to hear is that you know, we we don't know
what what we don't know, but we but we know
enough about this vaccine that I think we can we
can trust the science. I think there has been an

incredible amount of transparency, more so than in any vaccine
that i've you know, that I've encountered in my lifetime.
And so, you know, I think I think that we
can trust that that the science is sound and that
this vaccine is safe and and and it's safe not
only for us, but for our children as well. And
final question for you, real quick. The CDC has eased

mask restrictions for most Americans. What if ice are you
giving the families who visit your clinic about preventative measures
like masking. So, you know, I think the whole mask
issue has, you know, has really just become so politicized
and um, and it's it's unfortunate, and I'm getting a

lot of these questions from parents now its schools are
are mass optional, and I think we're you know, we're
at a point in the pandemic where everyone has to
decide what their individual risk tolerance is. And so if
you live in an area with a little positivity rate
and high vaccination rate, including with boosters, then maybe sending

your child to school un mass might be the right
decision for you. Um. I don't think there's going to
be a one size fits all strategy, and I think
everyone will have to look at the individual risk of
their child or children, their household risk, the positivity rate
in their community, and level of vaccination in their school,

with both the adults and students to make those decisions.
And you know, I do think that we need to
set our kids up for success and not failure. And
that means um you know, continuing to encourage that all
adults who are unvaccinated but they get vaccinated, because we
still have millions of unvaccinated adults in the US, and

that those who are fully vaccinated and not boosted need
to get boosted. Um And we also need to increase
the vaccination rate of children five years and older to
protect all of those kids under the age of five
who aren't even eligible to be to be vaccinated yet.
And you know, and I think I think that that's
really what what we need to do um as as

a society moving forward. You know, I don't think that
um you know, as we've said before, that one thing
is going to get us out of out of this.
The vaccines are a key component to ending this pandemic,
but it's not the only thing, and it is a
layered approach with includes all of you know, the mitigation
strategy strategies that we've been using since the onset of

of the pandemic, masking as part of that. And I
do believe that we need an off ramp. And I
think we're in a period now, UM in many communities
across the US where it might be safe for you
to take off your mask if you're in one of
those areas with the low positivity rate. The hospitals are
being overburdened with UM. You know, with sick patients with COVID,

you have a high vaccination rate. But with the understanding
that if we get the next variant UM, you know,
that starts UM infecting people, you know, the same way
that Omicron did, that we may have to start, you know,
clamping down a little bit and going back to the masking.
So I think, you know, I think the messaging is
really important, and I think that people just need to

understand that UM, Yes, things are better all across the US,
but this pandemic is not over yet, and it's especially
not over until we get our youngest kids the opportunity
to get vaccinated and really the US to the world.
I mean, it's it's a global pandemic, and so Anita
and I and I think I think we forget that
sometimes when you know, in our little quarter of the world,

everything looks like it's doctor normal. Dr Tina Carol Scott,
a general pediatrician for over twenty six years and the
medical director of the South Miami Children's Clinic, with some
great information on COVID nineteen and the vaccines. Dr Scott,
thank you so much for taking the time to come
on the show and break all of that down for us.
We appreciate it. Thank you so much. All Right, and
finally let's turn to parenting expert, founder of the Parenting

four one one and author of the newly released book
The Parenting Odyssey Trials, Carol Mouletta joins us. Carol, thanks
so much for taking a few minutes talked to us
ahead of National Single Parent Day this Monday, and and
based on your conversations with single parents, what are some
of the most common challenges they face these days? Well,

very often, initially it is the bitterness and resentment of
the that they're not together or that they're not working
together well. And then of course it's just the day
to day challenges of just handling a lot of responsibility,
particularly the parent that the child lives with most of

the time. And when you're talking to single parents about
these challenges and you're trying to help them through this process,
what are some of the top tips that you offer them, Well,
the first thing I've got to tell them is that
they've got to commit to working together for the good
of their child. Um, as we all say and go,
teamwork makes the dream work, and it's really about making

a dream happen of your child getting through this experience, UM,
well adjusted and whole. Honestly, that kind of advice, It
sounds like that would make sense for parents who are
still together too. Oh certainly, absolutely. And then as I
said though, with co parents who there's kind of it
can be this undercurrent of bitterness, resentment and guilt and um.

So you know, that's why it's even so important to upfront,
you know, set up some rules of engagement, figure out
how the two of you can communicate in a calm
way that really um meets the needs of whatever situation
that you're facing. And you know, for some couples they're
able to do it, or not couples, but co parents

they're able to do it in person, face to face.
Maybe that's not comfortable for them, then they can do
it on the phone. And then they're also UM apps
that have been created to help facilitate this communication between couples. UM.
There are a few examples m co apparently there's our
Family Wizard Cozy two Houses, and then we can't forget

good old Google calendar that can communicate what needs to
be done and may be minimized if there's a lot
of tension between the parents and UM. I think it's
very it's also very important to find some common ground
on the big things, right UM. You know, decide what

those key experiences or UM character traits are that you
really want to make sure that children haven't trying to
get on the same page about those things. And so
examples about that of that could be UM discipline, it
could be religion, education, UM maybe it's maybe community service
is very important, or the sports or the arts, or

just certain elements that you want to have in your
child's life. Try to UM get on the same page
about that, and then you know, those are the big things.
But and then otherwise, you know, respect and encourage your
partner's approach. You have to you have a disferent personality,
and each of you, even if you were still married
or otherwise together, you each have a unique relationship with

your child, and so UM don't interfere with that. I'm
just as long as that that you're both on the
same page about where you're trying to go. UM, give
each other flexibility with the approach in terms of how
you relate to the child. How problematic can it be
if the children who are in these co parenting situations

are sent mixed messages. Oh, it's a very big problem
because then it it makes them feel like they have
to choose between the parents, or it makes them have
to UM hide their emotions or their feelings for the
other parents because they're worried that they will get the
parent UM you know, the other parent upset. So and

then also it's just confusing about what they're supposed to do,
what's okay? Like if you have separate rules over at
mom house and you know different rules at the you know,
the partners, the parenting partner's house, this can be UM
you know, very confusing and just really just rupts them

developing good habits and good discipline. So it's important to
UM to be on the same page and speak the
same language if you can. I'm Ryan Gorman, joined right
now by parenting expert, founder of the Parenting four one
one and author of the newly released book The Parenting
Odyssey Trials. Kara will Letta joins us ahead of National

Single Parent Day on Monday. So we talked about parents
who are co parenting, but what about single parents who
are on their own? What are some pieces of advice
you have for them? Well, it's certainly important to just
have a good routine in place. I mean, obviously that
that saves a lot of headache for all of us.

But when you feel like you have so much responsibility
falling on your shoulders, it really helps when you can't
when life can be a little bit predictable and you
kind of have some order and not to mention this
provides comfort, a measure of comfort and security for your
ale because this is a very unsettling time anyway. And so, um,

you know, bring your child in on creating a routine
and let it become known as your family playbook. But
you know, both of you will know, um, what you're
working towards, what you're what you're going for. And then
it's very important for parents, particular co parents who don't
have a partner, or should I say parents single parents

who don't have a partner um to you know, accept
offers of help from relatives and close family friends, and
they allow them to pitch in for shuttling back and
forth activities, they be sitting helping with homework, and also
bring them in sometimes because there might be some tough
decisions you've got to make, and you know, also find

some some role models there. You can't be all things
to your child. You can't play um all the roles
that you need for your child. So UM find people
in your community or in your circle of friend and
so can help teach them certain skills and things that
you may not have. And and just don't forget to
just ask for help so that you can just have

a free day, so you know, UM, a day for
some self care, a day just to be alone or
to do something that you enjoy, so that you can
recharge and refreshing and be able to get back in
there with your child. What about that transition period for
single parents going from being in a relationship with the

family intact you have a partner in all of this too.
Then being on your own. Even if you're in a
co parenting situation, you're still doing a lot of the
work on your own. Now that transition period getting used
to all of that, figuring it all out that must
be pretty challenging. Well, it certainly can be a challenge,

but it's a great time to really uh get in touch,
reconnect with yourself and really get clear about what you
want to do going forward. And not just in terms
of whether you're going to start dating again and all
of that, but it's a great time to just take
a look again at your your goals um that you
have and aspirations and just how what can stay and

what can go, what's changed and and what's realistic moving
forward and um. And then you know, by all means,
if you want to think about, like what went wrong
in the relationship or whatever, UM, do that as well,
just so that you know the next relationship that you
might find yourself in, or just even moving forward UM

to your your goals and other areas of your life.
You're not bringing unresolved baggage, So take that time to
really get in touch again with yourself. I'm Ryan Gorman,
joined right now by Carol Mooletta, a parenting expert and
founder of the Parenting for One one. Now, even single

parents to get this all right, whether they're a single
parent on their own or whether they're co parenting, they
do everything right, there could still be an adjustment period, uh,
significant impact on their children. What are some things they
should keep an eye out for, perhaps behavioral changes things
like that in their children during this transition phase. Oh,

certainly it's that you've started off right with behavior in
terms of are they more emotional? Are they more closed off?
But they kind of drawing? Um, you know it could
or just dramatic changes. It could be. Um, they could
also be more animated and more you know, other other

compensating behaviors to um, so that they don't have to
really deal with their feelings. Maybe they know they want
to be busy, they want to be involved in everything,
and maybe that really was not their temperament before. But
it's really a coping mechanism for them now. Obviously look
at how they're doing, uh in school work? Are they
are they doing well? Are they maybe uh withdrawing from

activities and hobbies that they had before, all of those
kinds of things and just um find ways to to talk.
You don't have to, it's not about interrogation or whatever,
but you can, uh during other activities you can kind
of have conversations and then also be honest. Um. You know, UM,
we adults can be honest as well. So you know

this is hard for me too, Like I didn't This
wasn't what I was expecting. And here we are, and
I'm going to do my best to um, make sure
life is comfortable for you, that we're able to do
a lot of the things that you're used to doing.
And most importantly, I'm here to talk with you if

you have any questions, if you have any concerns or worries.
We are together, I meanbe Our family may not be
what it used to be or or maybe you don't
have um, you know, the you don't have two parents
the way you're used to seeing with other people. But
we're still a family and we've got each other. Carol
mouletta parenting expert, founder of the Parenting four one one

and author of the newly released book The Parenting Odyssey.
Trials with Us ahead of National Single Parent Day which
is on Monday, Carol really appreciate the time and inside
thanks so much for coming on the show. Thank you
all right, and that's going to do it for this
edition of I Heart Radio Communities. As we wrap things up,
want to offer a big thanks to all of our

guests and of course to all of you for listening.
I'm Ryan Gorman. We'll be back, same time, same place
next weekend. Stay safe.
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