Sneaky little boy

We are very new to diabetes. My son was dianosed in May of last year, so we are in our 9th month. We have had lots of crazy issues but about 2 months ago, after an endo switch, things started to smooth out. 3 weeks ago we kept getting highs in the 300s. My son is 10 and in the throws of puberty so I thought it might be that untill I made cookies one night and there was a few missing after I had given him one. Tonight we had friends over for dinner and I was told that he snuck a cookie in his room. After confronting him about it he came clean that he sneaks food every day!!! I know he is only 10 and I am sure this is a common problem but I feel like I am going crazy! Grounding him, explaining the seriousness of it, begging, none of this works, HELP!!!

We had the same problem! Our daughter was diagnosed last year when she was 10. I thought she was an angel and there was no way she would ever sneak food ( I was even irritated when our CDE suggested she might be sneaking)! Well after finding countless half eaten cheese and crackers, candy wrappers and even bowls hidden in her closet I realized all of my cautioning against how dangerous highs were just did not sink in. What it came down to for her was that she felt deprived of certain foods and after several “no’s” to her request for treats late at night or when she was already on the high side; she decided to stop asking and just eat it anyway. I hesitated to let her eat a high number of carbs if her BG was already high or if it was close to bed time and really tried to restrict her daily carb intake to the range her dietician gave us otherwise she had huge spikes. It was not until she went on a pump in November that she really stopped sneaking (probably because now she can eat what she wants and just push a button). Now I let her eat what she wants and dose for it and that has seemed to work (and probably would have worked with injections too if her BG was under control, but it was always on the high side). My cousin goes through the same thing with her son and had to actually lock up snacks because he would not stop sneking. Maybe talk to the social worker at your endo office (if there is one available) and see if you can come up with a plan that you and your son can work with. Good luck and hang in there; I know how incredibly frustrating it is.

You might look into this older discussion that got a lot of hits about a 12 year old boy with the same issue:

Also, do a search in the forums for “sneaking food.” It’s a really common issue.

Thanks Olivia! I thought about locking up snacks and I thought my sonwas an angel too! Wow was I wrong. I have never really restricted him from having sweets thats why I just couldnt understand why he would do this!! I am hoping the pump will be a part of our lifes soon! How long have u been on the pump?

Melissa, I did read the discussion and it really helped to hear what you said about not punishing him beacuse I felt that mabe we shouldn’t but my husband disagreed! It is always great to get another perspective!! Thanks!

We have the same problem with our 7 year old. Our main issue was not that she was taking the extra carb food, but that she would lie about it and sneak. The issue of trust is the main thing we are trying to teach her because it is so important for her health for her to be honest about what she is eating. We do have a rule that if her sugars are too high, she has to wait to have a treat until they come back down…mainly because she has sneaked some kind of food to bring it high anyway. We only punish if she lies about taking the food and try to help avoid that by working in small treats at least with her dinner meal. She has also been on a pump for almost 4 months, which helps us control her BG better, but hasn’t really solved the sneaking issue.

David was 10 when he was diagnosed and has now just turned 17. One thing that his diabetes nurse educator said early on, was not to deny food. Pre-pump, that was easier said, than done. A 10 year old automatically feels like he IS being punished if he decides to have a snack or a second helping, but can’t do so without an additional shot of insulin.

It might help if you can plan some treats directly with your son or make Friday supper each week, a “his choice” supper, something to get him involved with the meal plan, and in turn more involved with the insulin dosing needed to cover the “his choice” supper.

Recently we have put a lot of effort into cutting out diet pop. When David was younger it gave him his sweet fix without the rise in BG, but the junk simply isn’t good for you. I’d rather see him have a glass of milk with a homemade cookie.


I have a similare situation with my 10 year old daughter, however not only does she sneak she doses for it. Which sounds fine, except she is not testing before she gives herself additional insulin. She has told me that she just estimates the amount of insulin, very scary!! She was sneaking into her class room at school during recess and eating glucose and dosing for them. I have tried to stress the importance of taking care of her body. She really eats more “snacks” than most of the kids around us.
I tell her that she is in trouble not because she ate food, but because she did not check first and becasue she lied.
What do I do?

The pump changed everything for us. My son either hasn’t hit that stage, or we are missing it, but I don’t think so b/c he doesn’t seem to have many random high numbers. BUT the day he got his Omnipod, we went to a buffet and after he got all of his food he looked at the desserts, and then at me with this look of triumph and said, “I think I’ll decide if I want dessert AFTER I eat, and see if I’m still hungry.” It made such a huge difference to him, and I hadn’t really even thought of that. It is so much easier to be able to push a button if you want more, instead of constantly be guessing how much you will want, or what exactly you feel like. I can definitely see where my son might have started sneaking if we hadn’t started pumping.

Also - we try to really make a HUGE deal when he makes a good judgement call, or tries really hard to do the right thing. He has come home from school sometimes telling me that they had a certain snack for someone’s birthday, and what he did about it and why. When he does that I don’t care if he was right or wrong, I just really praise him for thinking about it and taking the time and the information he has to figure out what he can. I think the more he feels like he has some control, and has some tools to handle the disease, the more he is willing to try more, and be honest about it.

Last week he went to a birthday party by himself - and it was really active. My husband and I weren’t available to be with him and we told him that it was his chance to show us how well he could handle it. He checked every 30 minutes, and did the math for the ridiculous amount of carbs he ate. I told him that since he did what he was asked to do, it made me more likely to trust him the next time he wanted to do something like that. Basically - we try to make rewards available instead of focus on punishments.

We aren’t that much farther into this than you are (about a year and a half) - and my son is only 9, so I don’t have all the answers, but that’s what is working for us so far.

This is all so familiar. My 10 year old son was also dianosed May 09. He has more than a few times done the same sneek thing. Everyone is giving such good advise. Someone recommended a book to me early on “Sweetkids How to balance diabetes control and good nutrition with family peace” by Betty Brackenridge & Richard Rubin I think its put out by the ADA because there name in on the cover too. I found it a very good book about not putting such a strick control on food for them.

Lately my 10 year old is “over dosing” to cause a low so he can eat more. We use a pen, Dr. has not moved toward pump yet, but hoping to in March. But I am afraid the pump might be a bit too easy to do this?

There are parental controls on pumps that allow you to lock him out, though that won’t ultimately solve the problem.

Here are my two cents:

My endo likes to remind me that lows are a medical emergency. If you treat lows ONLY with fast-acting glucose (tablets, juice, etc) and not treats, lows will lose their appeal. My suggestion would be to standardize low treatment and remove candy / chocolate / treats from the treatment strategy. Then, instead, teach him how to work those treats into his normal diet.

My first 15 years with diabetes included a lot of “low desserts.” Lows were not only an excuse for me to get an ice cream sundae or a piece of pie, but an excuse for the whole family - “Melissa’s low - we all get ice cream.” It resulted in many years of poor control and bad diet for all of us, to be honest. When I reached my adult years, it was HARD to break that habit, but absolutely crucial in how I approached my diabetes care. Not to mention a healthy diet in general!

I know it’s easy to give a child a treat when he’s low, especially when you feel you have to deny it the rest of the time. It’s nice to be able to say yes when you know he’s tired of hearing no…but ultimately, it treats a medical emergency like a happy disaster and causes him to correlate taking more insulin with getting more food. If you can get this under control now, you can help him with potential weight gain (from both the food and the insulin) and help him prepare for the responsibility of managing a pump someday.

With a pump he probably won’t be as tempted to do it though, since if he wants more he only has to push a button, not get another shot or wait a certain amount of time. I mean if he’s doing it to get treats that’s one thing, but if he’s only doing it so he can eat more food I think a pump will make things better, not worse.

Sounds like she could benefit from talking to a social worker or diabetes educator (I had both in my endo’s office as a kid). Someone (other than you) needs to explain to her the danger of taking insulin without testing first. And you need to be able to get to the root of why she feels she needs to sneak.

Being a diabetic is really hard as a child in the sense that you feel like you are the one dealing with a disease that everyone around you who cares about you has staked some claim in. Moms and dads want to monitor every aspect and you are becoming just autonomous enough to resent it around age 10. With many kids, sneaking food or taking extra insulin becomes a way to steal a little control from Mom and Dad. It becomes a way to rebel against the regimen you resent. It becomes a way to have a moment to yourself where someone isn’t watching you. There’s a lot of psychological drama that you’re coping with. I was a ‘perfect’ little poster child as a 10-year-old diabetic kid who never rebelled against it…and even I was exhausted by the regimen by the time I reached college. Rather than rebel, I relaxed…testing less, blindly estimating insulin, eating more.

My best advice to parents is honestly to accept that a blip on the meter one day or one week is probably not going to harm your son or daughter long-term, so there are times you may need to turn your head and focus on the larger issue. You’ve got to allow the child space and time to cope, but you’ve also got to make sure they have someone non-parental to talk to about their frustration with diabetes. Adult diabetics complain constantly about the diabetes “police” in our lives - friends, relatives, spouses - so you can only imagine how tough it is on kids. You’re right to police them - and they need it - but sometimes they need to breathe, too.

Talk to her doctor/CDE/nutritionist/social worker.

Melissa, that is great advise. Thanks for giving me your thoughts. I will move toward putting them into use. It would be much easier to use one thing and have that be the standard. We are working really hard to eat healthy and his numbers are so much better. He is a picky eatter but the more I keep reintroducing fruits, salads, veggies, the less he seems to complain.

Can he get too much insulin via the pump? What if he over does it too much?

well one good thing is that if he gives himself too much, you can see the history of what was given - so you can accurately treat an impending low. but what i’ve found is that my son doesn’t mind giving himself some for his current meal, and then if he’s still hungry or wants a snack soon after eating (or we are at a party and suddenly there is ice cream AND cake instead of just the cake we just bolused for) he can always just give himself more. so there is no need to create a low so that he can eat. does that make sense? it does in my head but i’m not always sure i explain what i mean very well.

Thanks, yes I follow you. I think my son will be fine also. I also don’t mind giving him an extra shot in the case also. My problem lies more with his wanting to eat and me trying to control what he eats. Not in a diabetic sence but a calorie one. He is 11 (b-day yesterday) and he is not overweight, just stocky. He is 5’1" 120 lbs. very solid with a little poochy stomach. We are just trying for him to not become overweight. But I do understand he is growing and needs food. Trust me I don’t limit him to a strick diet. I would not mind him eating more healthy choices. I think I need to just clean out the pantry more than I have. If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it right?

There was a really good idea I saw on another website. This mother made up snack bags, each with one of the food groups. Her kids including the one with D were allowed to have one of these snack bags whenever they wanted. If they ate one bag and it had one of the food groups in it, then the next snack had to have another food group. The carb counts were included on each snack bag and their child was empowered to cover the carbs with the necessary insulin if needed. It stopped the sneaking although I am sure it happens with the best of kids, but it will make things easier for your child to feel more like the other kids because all of the children will have to follow the same rule. Hope it works.