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Health Information For Parents
If your child has been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may feel shocked, sad, or even angry or guilty at first — feelings that are perfectly normal.
But the more you learn about diabetes, the better prepared you’ll be to talk about it with your child.
Be sure to talk to your child in an age-appropriate way and to always tell the truth. And don’t be put off by your child’s questions — answering them can help you learn more about diabetes, too.
Kids who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes may feel that they’ve done something to have caused the disease. It’s important for parents to make it clear (especially to younger children) that this isn’t so.
Make sure your child knows that diabetes is not going away, and that it’s OK to feel sad or upset about having it. Encourage your child to talk about it openly. Also discuss the diabetes diagnosis with your other kids, who might be jealous of the extra attention their sibling gets or concerned about developing diabetes themselves.
The words you use can send a powerful message about diabetes — and your child’s role in managing it. Be positive. Emphasize that together you can get diabetes under control.
Avoid using terms like “cheating” and “being bad” if your child veers from the diabetes management plan. Instead, help your child understand how eating and exercise affect blood sugar levels.
Kids look to their parents for guidance, so how you deal with diabetes can affect how your child talks with you about it. If you overreact about a high blood sugar level, for example, your child might be less than honest with you about future blood sugar readings.
It’s also hard to expect kids with diabetes to limit sugary treats or get regular exercise if siblings and parents don’t do the same. Have a family discussion about why living a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone — not just people with diabetes. Include all family members in meal planning and other activities so your child won’t feel alone in diabetes management.
Here are some tips for diabetes discussions based on a child’s age:
Infants and toddlers don’t understand why they need to have shots or get their fingers poked. To help, try to make blood sugar testing and giving insulin part of your child’s daily routine, like diaper changes or going down for a nap. Perform diabetes care quickly and gently, in a soothing manner, and reassure your child with calming words afterward.
Preschoolers still rely on parents for their diabetes care. Explain diabetes-related tasks in simple terms. Parents can also help them feel some sense of control by letting kids tell them where they’d prefer to have their insulin injection and which finger to use for a blood glucose test.
Kids in grade school through middle school should be learning how to take on some of their diabetes care, but still need parental involvement. Be supportive, but don’t push as your child gradually takes on self-care responsibilities. Your doctor or diabetes health care team can guide you on which tasks are appropriate at each stage.
As kids grow, they become more interested in doing things independently and more sensitive about seeming different from their peers. Offer praise whenever your child assumes a new self-care responsibility, but be understanding of temporary setbacks — which can be especially common when kids feel stressed. Avoid being overprotective, and reinforce the expectation that kids with diabetes can do anything that kids without diabetes can do. Also discuss how having your child take responsibility for diabetes can make it easier to go to fun events like parties and sleepovers.
Teens may make poor decisions regarding their diabetes care because of peer pressure, the fear of being different from their friends, and a feeling of invincibility. It’s important to talk about drugs, alcohol, sexuality, and other issues with your teen and how they could affect their diabetes and overall health. There is a fine line between offering support and lecturing, so express your concerns in a caring manner.
For kids of any age, finding a support group can help them connect with other kids with diabetes so they’ll feel less different.
Honest, open communication is key when talking to kids and teens about diabetes. The more you talk with and involve your child in diabetes care, the better prepared you’ll both be when you’re apart.
Dealing with diabetes can stir up a lot of different emotions. Find out more about dealing with your feelings if you’re a kid with diabetes.
It’s perfectly normal for people with diabetes to feel sad, angry, confused, upset, alone, embarrassed, and even jealous. After all, these are natural emotions that everyone feels from time to time. But how can you cope?
Does your child have type 1 or type 2 diabetes? Learn how to manage the disease and keep your child healthy.
Our Diabetes Center provides information and advice for teens about treating and living with diabetes.
Diabetes means a problem with insulin, an important hormone in the body. Find out how children with diabetes can stay healthy and do the normal stuff kids like to do.
When you have a child with diabetes, you and your family have a lot to learn, but you don’t have to go it alone. Your child’s diabetes health care team can help.
To keep your diabetes under control, stay healthy, and prevent future problems, you need to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. To do that, check and track those levels regularly.
Checking your blood sugar levels is a really important part of managing diabetes. Knowing those levels will help you keep your blood sugar under control – and that helps you feel good and keeps you healthy.
Are you on your own at school when you’re dealing with diabetes? Not at all. Your teachers, coaches, school nurse – and even your friends – can help you out.
Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, a sugar that is the body’s main source of fuel. In type 1 diabetes, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells where it’s needed.
Being sick is no fun for anyone. For people with diabetes, being sick can also affect blood sugar levels.
If your child has diabetes, you may spend a lot of time thinking about the physical effects. But it’s also important to understand the emotional issues surrounding a diabetes diagnosis.
Thousands of kids all over the world have type 1 diabetes, a disease that affects how the body uses glucose.
You probably spend more than a third of your waking hours at school. Chances are you’ll need to check your blood sugar levels or give yourself an insulin injection during that time. So what do you do?
Keeping blood sugar levels under control can help keep you healthy and prevent health problems from happening down the road. Find out more.
People who have diabetes may hear or read a lot about controlling, or managing, the condition. But what is diabetes control and why is it so important?
You’ve probably heard your child’s doctor talk a lot about diabetes control. What is it and why is it important?
Kids who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will need a diabetes management plan to help them manage the condition and stay healthy and active.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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