Guilty as charged, and, now paying the price. My son was diagnosed at age 18 months. Now, he is 11 and in boy scouts. He went on his greenhorn campout - first time camping without me being there. Long story short: he lasted the entire weekend but didn’t properly manage his diabetes. He threw up the last morning at camp and came home with large ketones. The logs from his pump show inconsistent BG checks and bolus entries.
Bottom line is my hovering in the background prevented the growth and development of his self-management skills. Kids have to be kids and I vowed to not let diabetes rob him of being a kid by letting him go on these outings but hovering in the background supervising. But, by hovering in the background, I failed to let him make mistakes and thus learn to manage his diabetes.
How ironic that my hoving enabled diabetes to rob my son of a normal childhood of doing age-appropriate things off in the world beyond the sight mom & dad.
Thanks Rebel Rita…I love that your Mom is overprotective of you at 96! I know that will be me if Diabetes still exists at that point. You know, we just had a diabetic guest who is old enough to be my father, but I felt protective of him too! As he would leave the house, I’d ask if he had his meter and his glucose!!! He must’ve laughed on the inside…just can’t help it. I pray the cure is close…we are ready for it!
Hmmm…I will take note of this for the future. My girl was diagnosed at 15 mo. and is 4 now. She doesn’t always feel her lows, so I do feel the need to hover and don’t know how I can NOT hover at this age since she still needs help. However it is true that we have to somehow transfer the responsibility to them as they grow older while also watching for signs of burn-out. It’s certainly not easy.
Jessica…Don’t feel bad! 4 is so young. Has she started checking her own glucose levels? If not, you can show her how to do it while you monitor her and her progress. You have a ways to go before she is on her own entirely!!
Thank you Allie. It is young…no, she doesn’t check her own glucose. She knows how to do it all, but I usually do it. Sometimes she puts the strip in, or hands me things, but I am concerned to hand too much off on her too soon. I’d read in a diabetic parenting book that kids can become burned out if given too much to do too soon…they’re going to have to do this for the rest of their life. I’m not sure if this is correct, but that’s what I’d read at least and it seemed to make sense.
I guess I’m having a diabetic mama moment…most of the time we’re doing well, but then emotions pop up and they just get you. Last week Elisabeth told me she wished she could pass her diabetes to some place else and that made me sad. It’s also hard to know when their behavior is due to their temperament and personality or their diabetes. The answers I need for my questions don’t always seem so clear cut as other parenting issues.
I will definitely be a somewhat overprotective parent forever, but we have a wonderful doctor who kicks my butt and makes me step back a bit when necessary.
My child was dx at 2. By the time he was 4 I would ask him to test because I was busy. It gave him a bit of control of his life. He did not recognize his lows until he was about 6. I quizzed him every time he was low and asked him how he felt to get him to learn this. It took a lot of time.
He is now moving into the teen years and his doctor has really pushed for him to do 99% of his care. I thought he was too young. The doctor and a psychologist with T1 corrected me. Yes he will have this forever, and yes I will do all I can to help him but helping him means teaching, stepping back and being there to fix the errors while I still can.
It is so tough to balance and learn how to let go but that seems to be part of parenting. I have the same “letting go” issues with my other child and there are no health issues to deal with.
I think its just being a concerned parent.
Thank you for your response Barb. I will speak with my daughter & see if she’s ready to start learning how to test. We don’t know many children with Diabetes at her age, so it’s hard to know how much can be passed off at this age.
My daughter is 7 and has had T1 for a little over a year. We are very overprotective but also committed to teaching her that she has responsibilities. We struggle with some things, like her pump insertions, but others she does well. She can program her pump and knows how it works, yet, she struggles with pricking her finger. We know she will have to do that, but at this point, we push the big issues and know the little things will follow. One problem we had last night was that she forgot her meter at her grandparents. When we went to check her glucose before dinner, we had no meter. We’ve told her that her meter is her responsibility at all times and have been trying to enforce it. We knew there had to be some sort of consequence, because in some circumstances it could be disastrous to have misplaced her meter. So, she was only able to eat non carb foods for dinner instead of what she wanted. She pouted and I hated to do it, but yet, I know she has to understand the importance of taking responsibility for her life. We’re hoping by instilling these responsibilities in her while she is young, it will make her more responsible for her care as she grows older.
Jessica, My daughter was just diagnosed about 4 months ago at the age of 11. She has been doing everything basically since day one… with that being said, there are days that she doesn’t want to deal with any of it, I then step in and take over. She does everything with supervision, but she is the one that does all the injections (well she did prior to getting on the pump), she checks her blood glucose and her urine for ketones. She is also pretty darn good at calculating carbs.
My first reaction was to do everything for her but everyone encouraged us to allow her to do it by herself. I did and am glad for it. She does very well for her age.
I would recommend letting her do whatever she is comfortable with. Maybe start off by allowing her to do the fingerstick. Or maybe choose where the injection site will be. It will make her feel more in control and less like there is something wrong with her.
That’s a good question! My daughter has had diabetes for almmost 10 years, she’ll be 11 in September. I think it’s better to be on the over-protective side of things because if you’re not things can go south really fast. One time my daughter was going to stay the night at a friends house just up the road and the mom did not want to learn how to check sugars because she didn’t like blood. I had to tell her my daughter could not stay if she wasn’t willing to learn. If she were to have a low in the night and needed help, she needed to know how to help her! Now that my daughter is older though I am having to learn to let go a little and trust her somewhat and that’s hard, but necessary. I just tell her if I give her freedom and she doesn’t take care of herself she’ll lose some of her freedom. My husband has also been good about balancing me out because he’s more laid back. I think though you sound like you’re doing good. There are some parents who are not paying attention to their kids and it’s commonplace for the kids to have seizures in the night, I don’t think that’s going to happen if your being protective and vigilant… Keep up the good work, it does get easier as your child gets older and the pump also helps if your child is not on one.
Thanks for everyone’s responses…I learn so much from them! Reading about the young teen who passed away from low BG in the night makes me think it’s so necessary to be vigilant. My heart just grieves to hear those stories.
Although I think my daughter is a bit young to start taking over parts of her care, I do explain a lot of the care to her, she needs to drink extra water when she’s High BG, or have juice when she’s low, or exercise will bring her BG down, how the insulin goes into her body via the cannulla, etc. She likes to rattle off what she ate for a meal and sometimes knows the carb count on that also.
I do find it hard to find other adults who are willing to learn how to help care for my daughter. So many people seem squeamish about blood and/or needles, or afraid of something going wrong on their watch. So, for now, we’re at home doing Pre-K together and taking gymnastics class, Sunday school, etc. which helps with social contact.
my son is 4 (dx @ 2yrs) and I do make him check his own BG. Although he is always supervised when doing so and I still take over sometimes when he just doesn’t want to. It really gives him a sence of ownership. And of couse he sleeps through the night checks. He also has a hard time feeling his lows. I tend to “hover” but he is still young and i like to word it as being proactive. I figure I can start to back off as he gets older.
Thank you Rebel Rita…we hope the same!