Managing a Teenager with Diabetes
Many teens believe they are invincible. This is why many of the warnings parents instill in them while they are children become a kind of white noise in their heads the moment they become teenagers and strive for their independence.
We warn them of the dangers of drugs, alcohol and cigarette smoke. We have discussions about healthy eating, exercise and the need to get plenty of sleep. We hope these lessons and values remain with them throughout their life. And, while, for the majority of kids they do, they all have to go through the teen years which for some, test a parent’s patience but for others can induce real fears.
A child with childhood diabetes spends their entire life watching their parents protect them, diligently testing their blood sugar, providing a healthy diet and giving them their diabetes medication. They understand only too well what it takes to manage their diabetes. So, it seems unacceptable that when they reach the teen years that this is something they begin to neglect.
It is not uncommon for teens to rebel against their treatment for diabetes. They may eat the wrong foods, become lax in monitoring their glucose levels and not report to you the results. This can be extremely scary. They understand that they are not like other teens, who can binge on junk food with no repercussions. Their neglectful behavior can be life-threatening; however, some teens are desperate to fit in, they don’t care of the cost.
It is highly recommended that you make sure your child, at a very young age, is in a support group with other children with Type 1 diabetes. There are camps they can attend where they can meet other children and know that they are not alone. If you notice severe withdrawal and a change in moods or habits, it is extremely urgent that you seek professional help.