Don't know what to do

It’s starting to become a real struggle, I’m trying to encourage my daughter to make the right and healthy choices without being to pushy but it feels like I’m doing it alone . This week she’s been making poor choices cheeseburgers for dinner chicken tenders and fries for lunch tonight she came home with another cheeseburger and chocolate cake for dinner tonight. I wish my wife and I could be on the same page I always feel like they think of me as the bad guy but I just want her to be healthy. I know this is her diabetes and she will make her own choices but I dont think that means I shouldn’t help guide her towards better decisions. Any feed back on how I should handle this would be appreciated.

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I’d focus more on making sure she is dosing insulin the best she can for the meals she is eating. I’m as well-controlled as can be and rarely refuse a good cheeseburger. I’d give her the tools to eat these things without doing damage - pre-bolusing, counting carbs as accurately as possible, testing/checking BG often, using extended boluses for the protein/fat if on a pump or multiple injections after eating if on MDI.


Better that she knows how to dose for FF and cake than to spend her life avoiding all fun foods. Seriously Who wants to go through life not enjoying those sorts of things? I don’t make a habit of eating fries with a burger, but once in a while I do have fries. And cake.


My short answer would be — proceed carefully! I’m assuming your daughter is in her late teens since she is coming home with her own food? If so, I think this has to be a discussion among three adults. We probably all know adults who don’t take care of their diabetes. If I were to have a discussion with such a person, I would not say, “You are harming your health and this is what you should do.” Rather, I would ask questions aimed at the WHY of the behavior. Somehow making the right choices carries a high emotional burden. I’m being deprived, this is too complicated, what will my friends think, this isn’t really THAT important, etc. Having a discussion once you know the whys could be helpful.

And maybe a compromise is the best option for now. The previous post regarding increasing insulin to cover some bad choices may the best you can hope for currently. Getting your wife on the same page would help a lot too. Why does she think you are over-reacting? How could you come to a compromise that would satisfy everyone. Could a medical professional help with these discussions?

Finally, this is not specifically a diabetes issue, it is a parent/child issue! Substitute “smoking,” “drugs,” “sexual behavior,” etc. and parents are asking the same questions and having the same concerns.


Gentle chuckling… we make dopey choices at that age. You and mom need to chat, see if you are on the same page, or not. With kids the good cop bad cop game often works. Honey am I the good cop or the bad cop this week hon?

You want the girls attention re-write your daily script. Change the channel and do not ask diddley about her numbers, her diabetes, her coverage… nada. Do that for a month or so. Changing the channel gets their attention rather than the Charlie Brown teacher waaaah waaa she likely hears if ???

How old is the girl? What kinda of things are we talking beyond not fantastic foods?


Ah, those lovely teenage years! I don’t know how my parents or any parent survive them! But as everyone has already said, you have to find a happy middle ground. If you keep pushing the “bad food”choices, it will push her towards them more. Usual teenage behavior, diabetes or not. And I agree, while having those family chats about better food choices, the big discussion should be around how to handle them. We all love those fun foods but we also know how to handle them. If I want that big huge burger and fries from a restaurant, I know now how to handle it blood sugar wise. Knowledge is power and the more she understands how insulin and food work together the better off she will be. You and your wife need to be on the same page. Nothing teenagers love more than causing havoc between parents. Stand united and show her how much you both care for her well being. You will all come out on the other side much stronger!

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She is fifteen, I have tried the backing of thing and not asking about numbers and when I did that the sheet we fill out for our endo team did not get filled out. That info is pretty vital as she is newly dg august. I dont want he to never eat those foods again but she is making those choices more often than not

This is not about burgers, fries, chicken tenders or cake. It’s about a child becoming their own person and doing things that drive you crazy. It’s a phase. Ignore the behavior, but be clear about expectations: “learn how to do this (insulin dosing) for whatever you eat because it’s ultimately going to all be YOUR problem in a few years.”

The only person who should feel the effects (and affects) of questionable food choices paired with inadequate blousing is her. I can eat whatever I want, but do I really want to work that hard for crappy food? (Unless it’s Fuddruckers’s or 5 Guys Burgers-- then, for me, it IS worth it!) I save my excursions into food acrobatics for things like my sister’s homemade apple pie or my brother-in-law’s homemade sourdough bread.

She’ll eventually learn that she’s the one who’s going to feel bad if she doesn’t figure it out.


The thing that scares me is not her feeling crappy now , but the long term health problems she could see down the line. From the things I’ve been reading it’s the complications later in life such as heart disease that can be as dangerous

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Which is why she needs to learn how to cover carbs properly. Not that that is the only thing, but it is important, nonetheless.

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I know it can be a struggle as a parent, but I would really encourage you to allow her to make her own food choices and that you focus on helping her learn the best dosing strategies. Teen girls already have so many pressures around food and body image that I think the healthiest thing would be to keep the focus away from the food itself. I had years of an eating disorder behind me by the time I was diagnosed and I can tell you T1 does nothing to help someone create a healthier relationship with food.

I agree with what others have said: worry about the blood sugar control, not the nature of the food, which young people want and need to choose for themselves. The great sociologist Bruno Bettelheim once commented that nothing is more important for psychological health than eating with a sense of freedom and joy. Becoming the household food police is going to create problems.

There is a long history of diabetics being punished just for the sake of punishing the freaks of the community who dare to insult the omnipotence of the medical profession by being so darn incurable. Dr. Allan’s starvation clinic in New York for young type 1 diabetics was so hideous in its effects that when Dr. Noorden came from Germany to visit it, he could not force himself to complete the tour of the clinic. Before insulin, diabetics used to be fed donuts made from fried talcum powder and were nourished by food being inserted into the anus. French doctors made diabetics race up and down stairs in order to bring down sugars, but just wound up worsening ketoacidosis. The Cleveland Clinic would not allow diabetics to use insulin even four years after it was developed, because they felt this would just encourage patients to go off their diet. So instead of tolerating this ‘indiscipline,’ they just murdered people. The list goes on, and many details can be found in Michael Bliss’ book on the history of the disease.

When I was first diagnosed in 1966, patients of some doctors at the Joslin Clinic in Boston were not allowed to drink diet soft drinks ‘because it would just keep the desire for sweets alive,’ even though now all doctors allow that with no problems. At my first meal at the clinic I was screamed at for putting salt on my food, since, as I was told, this would cause my urine to burn. We all know now that this was all nonsense, but then the question is, what explains all this delight in punishing the patient, even when there is no rational reason for it? Was it a form of shunning, disciplining, and tormenting the outsider, the ‘scourge of the elephant herd’? Was it a symbolic conquest of death, implicitly corporealized in the person of the patient who cannot be cured? I don’t know, but I have seen this same sort of sadism many times since my diagnosis.

Absolutely, but the nice thing is modern insulins combined with pumps or MDI are designed to let you eat what you want (with some exceptions) and maintain good control. It’s not like the old days where meals had to be timed and limited to R/NPH peaks.

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And in fact she may feel perfectly fine now. When I was younger I never measured my food and I was probably high most of the time (not out of any sense of rebellion but just because I didn’t really care). I remember regularly eating something like a big wedge of iced cake or a big slice of pie without taking an injection. So I’d be thirsty all night and pee a lot … big deal. The body gets used to it.

Since your daughter is recently diagnosed, has she had any kind of education beyond a basic talk from her doctor? Depending on the size of your community, a local hospital or community health center might have a diabetes clinic geared to people her age. She may resist, but it will at least give her a grounding in carb counting (cheeseburger bun = 30 grams carb; weight in grams of chocolate cake with icing x 0.6 = grams carb) so she can dose appropriately. It seems hugely complicated and daunting at first, but it’s not long before it’s totally routine and she’ll be able to do it in her head. Or at least make educated guesses, which is better than nothing.

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Has she been to a Diabetic Educator? It might be worth the trip. She sounds like she needs to be on a sliding scale for rapid acting insulin to handle the questionable choices. If she can get a handle on the card counting and get an accurate sliding scale this will help greatly. It is not a matter of avoiding the “bad” because kids will do what they want, especially if she is working and is able to buy it when no one is around. It is a matter of incorporating it into the diet when she does. I have been Type 1 for 46 years and I was like that too.

She has been educated we have a pretty good endo team, she does well with the carb counting and dosing. I just thought if she sticks to healthier and lower carb choices the long term management would be over all improved. I understand she is able to eat whatever as long as she doses properly but don’t think it’s able good idea to always eat that way. But it is her choice and I don’t want to push her to far one way or the other .I will try to just gently help her when I can . Thanks so much for all the responses this can sure be a bumpy ride.

She’s a teen. That should explain a lot. Teens, at least the ones I have been around, it’s very hard to get them to eat “healthy”. And face it at that age they think they are invincible and they can usually get away with not eating right.

I think if you just keep making sure there is healthy food around that she likes, just in case she’ll reach for it. Because face it, she can eat cake and cheeseburgers as long as she doses right. Hopefully picking the better choices of food will happen as she ages.

If the other suggestions don’t work or you want another idea. Bribery can work. 2-3 days a week she eats healthy (she will also get used to the healthier food) and you bribe her with something she wants either each week or monthly.
Bribery works great with some kids!

But if you push too hard, Teens are likely to do the opposite just because they can.

My son is 11 and was diagnosed T1 in January. He still eats the same as my daughters (except gluten). We don’t restrict foods because of diabetes but we do prepare well balanced meals. A piece of cake every now and then is fine but a whole cake for dinner is bad for everyone. He is still at an age where he eats what I make him or he doesn’t eat. I feel that if I am too restrictive now, he might go nuts with food when he goes out on his own. That being said, if the food he eats spikes him, and nothing we do prevents that spike, we would limit that food to an occasional treat. The pre-teen/teen years are hard for everyone. Throw a T1 diagnosis at them too and it’s beyond overwhelming. Everytime my son’s blood sugar spikes over 200 I start thinking about the damage that is being done to his young body. I often have to remind myself that the stress and emotional havoc T1 has on him can be just as damaging. I hope you guys can find a happy middle.

I agree with what has been said. I know it’s hard to watch, but she’s going to eat burger and fries, cake…pizza, ice cream, Thanksgiving dinner with stuffing and potatoes, etc…sometimes --both as a teen and as an adult. It’s best if she learns how to properly dose for them. That will help keep her BG in check both now…and when she splurges as an adult.

I think there’s a lot of wisdom from the group. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t worried about heart disease when I was 15 so I don’t think that’s your best route for opening the lines of communication with her…Scare tactics regarding health issues later in life don’t keep most teenagers awake at night.

What would you like to see her eating? If she threw in an apple with the meal would you feel a little better? Ask her if she’d do that. What are you, yourself eating on a regular basis? Are you providing that same meal/food to her? I grew up with Mom making dinner pretty much every night but I’m a mom now and I don’t do that. I work outside the home full-time and I order pizza or we eat cold sandwiches during the week. I agree with getting her on track with knowing how to bolus/pre-bolus for her body - that’s powerful knowledge.

It’s not easy seeing your child grow up & make decisions that make you cringe but I’m going out on a limb and say I bet your mom has a list of things you did at that age that weren’t the best choices.

The other thing you mentioned is not being able to fill out the sheet for the endo visits when you take a step back from your daughter. When our daughter was diagnosed at age 4 I looked at that stupid sheet and thought, “Is this 1985? Am I supposed to fill this out with my grape-scented glitter pen & store it in my Trappper Keeper?!?” Lol I didn’t do it. Instead I found any app on my phone (and now there are several) where you can log that info. And, now she has a pump & CGM that stores her numbers and you can see her numbers online and they run all sorts of reports to show where she tends to run high, or low, etc. It actually looks like a roller coaster most of the time. I’m guessing your daughter is a lot more tech savvy than I am, and might feel like that log sheet is one more annoyance she has to deal with everyday. I’m rolling my eyes along with her just thinking about filling it out. Help her feel like she had options, she’ll feel in control instead of feeling like her T1 is doing all the controlling. Just an idea.

I think you’re walking a fine line getting on her about food at her age. T1’s, I’ve been told, already have a very high propensity for eating disorders and that’s not something you want her to struggle with on top of the 24/7 monitoring she already has to deal with. I would have been devastated at that age if my dad had commented on my weight or appearance. If she’s getting to be unhealthy and you have a good endo the endo can & probably will broach that subject with her.

Hang in there! Soon enough she’ll be driving! :slight_smile: