Preteen who refuse to help manage Type 1 Diabetes

Hello I’m new too this forum and group. I’m here to learn more and get and maybe give help to others. I’m having a huge issue with my daughter she’s 11 years old and was diagnosed with type 1 February 2013. So all of this is very new to the both of us. She’s been hospitalized at least 3 times this year with DKA! Started with sneaking of foods, not counting her carbs. It got so bad the hospital called Social Services on me because they felt I must not be helping her and that was the upmost from the truth. After counseling I was told she was dealing with depression and it was common for kids diagnosed with type 1, so she was put on mild antidepressant. Now she lies left and right, don’t want to manage her diabetes, I was told by the school nurse she wasn’t coming to her office during school and her A1c is at 11%. I’m so tired and fed up I can’t give up she’s my daughter and I love her but I don’t know what else to do!!

My heart goes out to you and i hope it gets better, My son is only 3 years old so it is easier for me to manage what he is eating. If i were you I would try and find some local support groups for you both, but especially for her. I think if she was around other kids her own age that might help her know that she is not alone in the world. Even though my son is only 3 I have surrounded our life in the diabetes locally , We just did a 5K walk that has many events geared towards kids, Even though my son is only 3 it is important for him to know he is not alone and not bad/weird different(my husband is also type1 and that helps my son know he is not alone). The key is for her is to embrace it and i think the only way is for her and you to immerse yourself in the local community. Try reaching out to American Diabetes Association they are a wonderful resource.

You had also mentioned she is sneaking food one way of minimizing that is by not buying things loaded in carbs and sugars, I know when my son was diagnosed I sat all three of my other children down and explained that we all as a family would be eating differently and that we had to be a team, Now i know an 11 year old is much harder to control with this. As far as the school i would talk with them and if she dose not come to see the nurse then the nurse should go looking for her.

Also have you thought about putting her on a DexCom Meter and Insulin pump? The Dexcom will alarm when her BS goes low or high with setting you can set, When the alarm goes off it sounds like a fire alarm and that way people (teachers and friends)know what is going on and might be able to coax her into taking care of herself. Also the pump system is less invasive than having to give oneself shots multiple times a day.

I wish you and your daughter the best of luck, This is a hard journey for everyone involved with this disease.

So sorry to hear this. I have similar issues about not doing blood sugar checks or sneaking food with my 14 year old son but he has been diabetic for 6 years now. I have been told it is a stage and I have heard about diabetes burn out. What I have done to help my son is just go to him and make him check his blood. I used to just tell him to do it and get a "yeah Mom, I will" but he wouldn't. So I just show up with the test strip loaded and stand there until he checks. There is also a book that has been recommended to me but I have not yet read it all the way through called Raising Teens With Diabetes by Moira McCarthy. The gist of what I have gotten when I have researched this subject is that we as parents have to take a more active role if our child is not doing what they should (even if they are old enough to "know better"). My son has thanked me for making him check. I think it makes an impact and that he feels like he is not alone in fighting this disease. So my advice is basically to just make it as easy as possible for her and help her in every way you can (counting carbs, drawing up insulin, etc.). Do not try to give her all of the responsibility because she just may not be able to deal with it right now. Best of luck to you.


I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this -- I've been in a similar situation and will share with you what I have done in the hopes that it will help.

1) Checking blood sugar: My daughter was afraid to check her blood sugar because it might be a bad number. We try to help her see that checking is just information - we do not judge based on numbers. She is more than her BG or her A1C. If she has a bad number then we learn from it -- that we counted carbs wrong, that we need to adjust ratios, etc... Never punish based on checking and getting a bad number.

2) Set a goal for checking blood sugar: My daughter's goal is to check a minimum of 4 times a day. We usually are at 6. Again, for now, the numbers don't matter, checking does.

3) Send a weekly report to the endo: My endo asked that we do this in the beginning, and even after they said we could stop, we did not. It kept me accountable and it kept my daughter accountable. It is a pain, for sure. I would take a photo of the log on my phone and email that photo to the endo every Sunday afternoon. I did this for almost a year, every single week. They would make suggestions based on the information I provided to them. During puberty, this is even more essential. We have tweaked numbers literally every week for months because there was just no rhyme or reason to the numbers. Finally, providing this documentation to the endo's office will be important in the event Social Services intervenes. (Even if your endo doesn't require you to do that, your daughter doesn't need to know that. Just tell her you have to send it in, which you do, for your peace of mind.)

4) Realize that you both have to change: I am a very hands off parent and my daughter is very independent. This is a bad combination when your child has diabetes. I have to be more hands on -- logical consequences just don't work with diabetes -- and she has to be more dependent. We both had to change and we both recognize that and we try to encourage each other.

5) Make counting carbs a game: My daughter guesses her carbs all the time. Every lunch is 60 carbs and dinner is 100, and we have to be more exact then that. When we count carbs, we make a game of it. My husband, my daughter and I all count carbs silently then we share the number. It's awesome when we all come close and we try to learn something when we don't.

6) Lying is unacceptable: Let her know that. And encourage her never to lie about foods. It doesn't matter what she eats, just cover the carbs. It does matter that she waits a few hours between meals so that you can get good BGs to ensure the correct ratios and correction factors, so enforce that. But limiting foods is only going to backfire on you and she will lie to you.

Just recently, after a few days of being very, very cranky, I checked my daughter's pump only to find that she had been slacking off. She had a weekend of bad numbers, and the cycle started again -- she dreaded checking and suddenly she's back to only checking once or twice a day. So now I'm back to sending in numbers to endo. That's how we get back on track.

I hope this help. Good luck to you. It's hard, but you can do it.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I truly appreciate and feel better to know someone out here understands me and my daughter. Thank for the suggestion of the Dexcom I think that will really help her/me out. I did ask her endo about switching to the pump but was told they want to see her A1c become lower at least to 8%. I was able to send her to a camp this summer for kids with Type 1 and for a month she was excellent numbers were good and she was taking responsibility for herself but she just fell off again. Thank you Julie for reminding me not to make a huge deal about her highs and lows. I used to send in her numbers to the endo but I stopped so I’ll certainly go back. Now I make her test and give her insulin in front of me or her stepdad. I know it’s a lot for an 11 year old to deal with. So again thank you all for reading, sympathizing, and giving ideas to help support my daughter!