Low/High -vs- Bad Behavior

My daughter can’t consistently tell me when she feels high or low (she’s 5) so I wonder how do you deal with bad behavior? I feel like any time she is not having acceptable behavior I should test, but then I feel like it becomes either a punishment or an excuse. Anyone else struggling with this?

We test everytime Jared gets crabby and 90% of the time his BS is low. Jared doesn’t really change his behavior when he is high. We have noticed when we do correct him from a low he tends to get very hyper. I don’t think of it a punishment, I just think of it as making sure he doesn’t get dangerously low. Somtimes when Jared is showing signs of being low he may not be low at that time but his BS is dropping rapidly, this is why we retest in 15 min. to determine which way Jared’s Bs is going. Hope this helps:-)

I have been thinking a lot about this. Isabelle has always had a flair for the dramatic…even in the womb! So we just thought it was her personality. But, since dx we have figured out that she is her worst when she is high or low. So, whenever she gets really whiney or mean or dramatic I check her. She can’t really tell me yet when she is high or low, but sometimes she does tell me when she is feeling different. Almost every time I check her because of her behavior her bloodsugar is off. I don’t really think of checking her bloodsugar as a punishment, but what I have been wondering about is how responsible do you hold them for their behavior when they are high or low?

For instance…if she is yelling or screaming or over-reacting to something I usually check her bloodsugar before I punish her. Most of the time she is low or high so I deal with that and don’t punish her. I’m wondering if that is always the right thing to do. She is 3 1/2 so we are really working on how to express your emotions in a good way.

This is exactly what we struggle with. I assume highs/lows are a part of her life to some degree, and we struggle with the best way to help her control her emotions when her numbers are out of whack. Maybe we just need to be patient and in time she will recognize the feelings of sadness or frustration as a time to test.

If someone has an answer for how responsible they are for their behavior when they are high or low please I would love to hear your thoughts!! I go back and forth with; she is too young to know she needs to test, so she is too young to be accountable for her behavior; and it’s my job as her parent to help her understand that she is going to have high/lows and there are consequences for her actions regardless of her “number”.

I think kids need to have consequences for their behaviour, even when it is related to a high (and to a certain extent to a low, although that’s a different beast).

I can remember when Olivia was little - she’d act up and I’d say “You better be high!” It got me some funny looks when we were out. I would correct her high and then when she was more in range, discuss with her what was appropriate and what wasn’t. I wound up giving her a big stuffed bear and when she was high and everything was making her angry, she was allowed to go hit the bear. She tended to just get really whiny and would cry a lot when she was high. Now, at age 12, she gets headaches. I can tell the difference between high and just 12 year-old drama queen. Most of the time, it’s drama queen. Oy.

Maddison has always been a drama queen too, so highs and lows make us feel guilty for always poking her fingers first. I always say “are you just grumpy” or do you feel high/low. I think just that simple question shows that we dont “blame” actions/words on a high or low and making excuses. As a mom with Type 1…I always remind parents that it is REALLY REALLY hard to tame this rollercoaster of emotions and feelings, I wasnt Type 1 as a child, and I cant begin to imagine. But I do know from my own high/low experiences that sometimes we do lose control of ourselves. You have to remember that sometimes the blood sugar DOES control you. It honestly, truely takes over. When I am very high, I need to just go to sleep to avoid being mean/angry/tearful etc…and I am an adult! I dont have any advice I guess…but as an advocate for the kids, I can tell you how hard it is.

Kelly, this is what i really want to know!! how does it feel to be high or low? i can’t imagine, and i go through the same questions with sam - do you feel like you are going low? or are you just being a pain in the butt!? but i really wish i could understand how he is feeling. i have read that symptoms/signs are somewhat different for everyone, but could you describe how it feels a little more? i would be so grateful for the insight…

Well for me, when I am really busy around the house I wont feel a low until I am staring blankly at the wall and in the lower 40’s. My mind slows down to an amazing snail speed, and I can hardly remember to get to my meter. I could get distracted by a million things along the way. The fast falling lows are the worst of course…sometimes they take me an entire day to recover if it was a serious one. Just like the falling feeling in your sleep. I just dont snap back into being me after a low low, I remain irritable, slow in the thought process and have a huge headache. I tend to want to be a hermit and dont like company when these happen. Have you ever been scared to death while driving by the idiot that almost runs you off the road or crashes into you? You know how your heart races after that? Well, that is exactly what an impending low does to you, Same adrenaline rush. Only not in a good way of course.

When I was diagnosed my average BS was 380’s. I would sit at my desk at work and my eyes would literally roll around inside my head because I was fighting to stay awake. Kinda that tired/exhaustion after 18 hours of labor or after a week of moving into a new house, Your everything HURTS. Your muscles are tight and feel hot. Your blood literally feels like it is boiling, thick like molasses I guess they would say, You want to drink the ocean of course. For me, I had angry outbursts. I would be fine one second, and screaming at my kids the next…everything was a personal attack. I probably could have been postal a few times. I mostly notice the same slowing in mental sharpness, inability to concentrate, cant find my words. Most days after running high for weeks, I would cry, cry cry. Feeling guilty for outbursts of course, but also I think the release of the stored up energy that was sucked right out of every pore of my body comes lashing back out. Its funny though becuase sometimes when I am high zoom around like a coffee high. I guess the occasional highs/lows arent so draining as the ones that linger for days/weeks.

Kelly, Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I really appreciate the insight into how Amelia is feeling! It is so hard to not react to her dramatic or mean behavior; it’s something my husband and I really struggle with. I think this glimpse of how she is feeling inside will help remind me to have more patience. Thanks again Kelly I really do appreciate you sharing!

Umm… yep. That’s Julia in a nutshell. She’ll be 5 in August. 95% of the time she’s nasty its because she’s low. The other 4 percent happens because she needs a nap. The last 1 percent of her behavior has been strictly a disciplinary matter, so yeah it’s not an excuse its a symptom, and it’s not a punishment (so try and talk to her about it in a positive way - ie “you’re not in trouble sweety, mommy just wants to find out if you’re low”). If you find out she’s fine then go from there…but it’s always a good idea when they’re irritable to check!

Kelly, thank you for the insight! I have also been struggling with trying to get Izzy to try to put into words how she feels when she is low/high. It is hard for me because I have no idea how she feels so it is hard to figure out how to deal with her. Just this afternoon we had a major blowup…her BS was in the 300’s so I am sure that was a part of it. This helps me understand what she is feeling a little better. Thanks again!

My son Thomas was diagnosed in April, (he’s 6) and we have been struggling with this, too. He tends not to have as many lows, mostly because his honeymoon is ending, but we are cautious about how much insulin he gets right now, especially because we are out/at the beach, etc all summer, and the DNE at Joslin wants him high instead of low if we have to choose one. BUT, I have finally started cluing in to the fact that he also acts crabby when he is high.

He never says he feels bad - even when he is very low - the lowest was 24…he also never says he feels bad when he is high, but he can act whiny, anxious, etc…and like Kelly said, it is hard to determine when to punish and when to test.

Luckily for us, he doesn’t seem to mind testing, and we are pretty matter of fact about it, so often if he is acting up I’ll just say something like “time to test” and not even let him know it is related to the way he is acting.

UGH…this is just so hard, all the time!!!


Thank you Kelly! That was a great reality check.

I want my eight-year-old to learn socially acceptable ways to deal with his feelings - blood sugar related or not - but I have to remind myself how big this can be, especially for a kid. I’ve literally watched him go from screaming and telling me I’m meanest mom in the world to chatting about sleep-overs in the space of 5 minutes and a few bites of food.

I think listening to your body and learning how to handle it are skills we/he will have to work on slowly over time. Puberty should be VERY interesting…

This is a great discussion, I’m so glad you started it.

For our son, to further complicate the whole question of “is he high, is he low, or is he just being a royal pain?” is the fact that having diabetes makes him angry. He’s a bit older than your daughter (8 years old), and he actually insists on taking a lot of the responsibility - - he does the testing, gives his injections, and is very aware that he has to make sure that what he eats is ok/covered.

But it is also a recent diagnosis. There are days before meals when he starts roaring around and I KNOW he’s not low or high. I think he’s just mad. Mad that he has diabetes, angry that he can’t just sit down at the table and start eating without the whole production of it all, overwhelmed. And frankly, right now, I’m tolerating it. I think emotions can be so complicated for kids anyway, I’d rather he get them out, I don’t want him to think he’s not allowed to be pissed off about this. I have a friend with a 14-year-old who has been diagnosed for 2 and a half years, and she (the daughter) still has fits about how unfair diabetes is. These kids are all tough!