Got the right attitude

Hi All,

I’m new to all of this and looking for some advise! I have been with my boyfriend for some time now, he has with a 3 year old daughter,Gabbi, with diabetes. Due to certain events we live with his parents. I love them all very dearly but we are not all on the same page when it comes to her diabetes. They never want to think that when she is having a tantrum its because she is being a regular 3 year old kid, they always blame it on her being diabetic (even when her sugar levels are perfect at the time). They (the grandparents) give her anything and everything she wants because of this-which causes a big problem when it comes time to say “No”. I need anyones help!! I’m at a loss trying to convice them that she is a normal kid who happens to be diabetic. I don;t want her growing up using that to limit herself or use it as a crutch. Please help!

Hallo Jodi, it is great you joined this great community; you will find the answers from parents who know better than me. I am a pediatric endocrinologist and I always stress to the parents that they have to treat their kids as they treat their siblings for many reasons. First step they have to learn about the effect of hyper or hypo on behavior and watch the pattern in their children, and again the children will feel agitated for the daily routine of checking BG, taking shots something other siblings do not do
You landed in a great community, welcome.

You’re probably just going to have to make the best of it until y’all can move out. As the girlfriend living in the boyfriend’s parents’ home, you aren’t going to have a lot of weight to throw around, and there’s not a lot that can be done to offset that. You can try to get the child’s healthcare providers to have a chat with them, but again, as the girlfriend, you don’t have rights, so you might not get far with that approach. If there’s a social worker at the endocrine practice the girl goes to, that would be a good place to start. You really need a mental health professional, ideally a family therapist, because it’s a family systems issue. Even if the family won’t go, I highly recommend you go alone. If your boyfriend will go, that would be even better, but if he won’t go, go on your own, and talk to the therapist about getting your boyfriend to participate. If you’re willing to do that and demonstrate you think the issue warrants that level of intervention, given some time, your boyfriend could agree to go with you. Then y’all can start to work together to deal with the parents. He needs to be on board first though.

There is a fine line here. Fluctuating blood sugars can make them very moody and feel like crap. Juvenile diabetes does effect their moods. Which comes first, the chicken or the horse? While I agree that diabetes should not be used as a crutch, it is entirely possible that you are BOTH right, i.e., sometimes her moods are caused by her blood sugars, other times not. Who is the primary caretaker of the child? Are you the primary caretaker? Or is her father and grandparents the primary caretaker? You may have a valid point and should talk to a family therapist. You will need to have understanding as to how fluctuating blood sugars, up and down, hour by hour, effect mood, even though at the time of the blood sugar check, her sugar is “normal.” You also need to understand insulin on board. A “normal” blood sugar could be normal upon blood sugar test, only to plummet to 50 shortly thereafter, and yes, they will be moody, it may be a sign of a quick drop. Alternatively, that normal blood sugar could be cycling upward very quickly to a high sugar, in which case moodiness is also a sign. Three year olds are very temperamental in general. A three year old who is having to live with constant injections and frequent blood sugar checks has much more to deal with than a non-diabetic child and should be given some room to express her feelings. But I would feel free to say No if necessary and let the chips fall where they may if you feel the child is being unreasonable when she is in your care. She will probably learn not to pull temper tantrums with you if you do not cave in after a few tries. I would not, however, interfere with her grandparents or parent handling of her or try to take over disciplining the child. Unless you are her primary caretaker, it is not your call. Also, you will need to learn to love this child as your own as your relationship with her father deepens. If you resent the child because of her behavior issues (and I do not believe this is the child’s fault) this could cause trouble for your relationship.