Because young children often struggle to recognize the symptoms of their diabetes it is crucial that you, as a parent, help them to understand their condition and that you conduct frequent blood glucose checks.
But management does not end there as your child’s emotional and physical well being is particularly at risk if they are diabetic. School life has been touched upon elsewhere in this blog, so here we will concentrate on your child’s life outside of the education system.
Often the families of children with diabetes worry that they will be excluded from activities or made to feel awkward and embarrassed by their condition. However, an open attitude and frank discussion with their friends will frequently result in exactly the opposite. Indeed, research shows that peer groups will often value your child and readily accept them just the way they are, if they are honest about the disease, while a secretive attitude can lead to resentment and exclusion.
Talk with your doctor and other health professionals, they will often be able to counsel your child on managing their diabetes, and advise them on how best to cope with their feelings of being different. A healthy social life is important to your child, not just for their psychological well being but also for them to lead a physically active and rewarding life.
Remember, exercise is a vital part of managing their condition and there is no reason why your child should not participate in sports and other social activities such as hiking and camping. They will help him or her to maintain a healthy insulin balance and lower blood sugar levels.
There is absolutely no reason for diabetes to impact on your child’s potential for success in both social integration and sporting achievement. Provided with the correct knowledge and tools to participate your child will develop the self-esteem, confidence and other positive effects of a normal physical life.
Discovering your child is diabetic can be a traumatic period for any family, especially if you do not have the condition yourself. You need to equip yourself promptly for the challenges and experiences of bringing up your child and, as always, knowledge is the key.
Diabetes will change family life, not just placing an extra financial burden on your household but complicating any social or psychological worries you may already have. With complete control never attainable as the disease develops, worsens and improves throughout their life the stress of bringing up your child, coupled with the every day management of your home can be a daunting task.
Never be afraid to speak openly about your concerns. Whether with health care professionals, friends or school authorities the care and health of your child is paramount. You will face any number of problems as the years pass and building up a strong and educated support network is crucial.
It is perfectly normal for you and any other children you have who are not diabetic to feel a range of emotions including sadness, guilt, anger, frustration and embarrassment, and these feelings will continue throughout your child’s development into adulthood. Nowhere are these feelings as important as in school life, when your child is away from you, often with a group of other infants with no understanding of diabetes.
Make sure your teachers and staff are fully aware of your child’s condition, it will make you much happier knowing he or she can rely on the support of other adults when they are not with you. You don’t want your child to be treated any differently from classmates, so contact the school before classes commence and communicate your wishes.
Most states have School Health Plans, designed specifically for children with existing medical conditions. Make sure your child’s school has one and go through it with a senior member of staff. School life is vital for the healthy development of any child and yours should be no different.