Older non-diabetic Siblings


I have a 4 year old daughter (non-diabetic) and my 20 month old son who was just diagnosed in November 2013 with T1. I do my best to explain what all is going on to my daughter in an effort for her to be involved, but find there are days when she will out of the blue mention to me that Diabetes scares her, or she will tell people out in public, strangers, that she has Diabetes. It's been such an interesting adjustment with my son, getting acclimated to everything. I am doing my best to keep Ashleigh involved and so don't want he feelings to fall through the cracks. Any suggestions from anyone who has been where I am now......I'm doing my best, but I am EXHAUSTED!



I know you are doing a great job. It is tough. We have a non-diabetic daughter that is 8 and our T1 daughter will be 6 in April. She was diagnosed at her 3 year old well visit. There are definitely times when our older daughter gets jealous of the attention that our younger daughter gets. It's hard for kiddos to tell the difference between different types of attention. We try keep as educated as we keep the younger daughter. She is very protective of her now. I make special dates with her for lunch and crafts and she loves that. At the beginning I could not do that because there was so much to absorb and learn. The first year was a year of firsts but now we have found our new normal. Both girls are very active in very different activities. We are on the go every night but they are both excelling and doing great in school. I would say they are both better at math than most of their peers because we have them help add carbohydrates. Hang in there - it takes time so please don't be too hard on yourself. You will make mistakes, we all have. Try to view mistakes as learning experiences and know that the next time you will try something different.

Thank you so much! Yes this is tricky these days. I do have mommy/daughter dates with her in an effort for her to get some one on one time with me. I let her use a non-needled shot so she can inject Mickey with insulin while I giver her brother a shot. She seems to like that right now. :) I like how you put it, to view mistakes as learning experiences. You are so right, thank you so much for your encouragement, and congratulations for all of the success you all have had with your diagnosis. I am hopeful to have it under my belt eventually, and I love hearing success stories! :)

Just to reinforce what others have said here, and elsewhere . . .

Whether you are the patient or the caregiver, diabetes is something you must manage yourself. The medical team can't do it for you, because you are the only one who is there 24x7. So there is indeed a lot to learn and it's common to feel overwhelmed in the beginning. But yes, it absolutely does get easier. Honestly.

One of the ways to keep that "overwhelmed" feeling at bay is to not try to learn everything at once. You can't, anyway, the brain will absorb only so much before shutting off to rest & regroup. :) Take it in steps. Learn one or two new things at a time. You'll be surprised how soon it starts to come into focus. That applies not only to the technology and science, but to management methods and routines as well.

From reading your posts I can tell you're doing a terrific job. Keep it up. There's more than just light at the end of the tunnel -- there's a new perspective on life as well. And this community is always here for you.


Hi Alyson -

When Malcolm - my D son was diagnosed @2 his older brother Paul was the same age as your daughter. What you are doing - being open - is the best thing to do - D is now part of all your lives and treating it in an open and forthright manner is exactly the right thing!

On the subject of explaining Type One D to your daughter: A great little book that will be wonderful for your daughter and is available for free downloading is My own type one diabetes book at www.grandmasandy.com - this is a great book written in simple language (great for reading aloud) that will help your daughter understand all about D. This website is part of the TuDiabetes family having been donated to the Diabetes Hands Foundation by Grandma Sandy (disclaimer - Grandma Sandy is my wonderful mother).

Hi Alyson,

My oldest, now 9, is non-D and the youngest, who is almost 7, has T1D. Thought you might enjoy this...


Thanks David! I love your advice, we should always remember to take things one item at a time. I know with this, I will learn through my mistakes as well. IT's certainly been a learning experience, not just as it pertains to Diabetes, but my patience as well. I so appreciate the encouragement!

Barbi! Thank you so much for the download information. I will download this right now, we had been reading the Rufus book, as she was given a Rufus bear at the hospital but I think it's too much for her to comprehend at this age. I am excited to read this with her tonight, so wonderful of your mother to donate it!

Thanks so much again!!

Elizabeth, thank you so much for sharing your post with me! You found such a great way of explaining in terms your young son would understand. Your boys certainly are lucky to have you for a mom. I will read this to my daughter today as well, it may help her gain some understanding. :) Wonderfully written!