I’m sure that most teenagers have the temptation at times to be in denial about the necessity of regular testing and recording. But that is not a luxury that can be indulged in when your life and health are at risk if you do not do both of these. I suppose that most kids overcome the temptation and that some don’t and suffer the awful consequences. I’m wondering how to help motivate my grandson to monitor and record without being either a nag or a slave. Any ideas?
I understand your concerns, I am sure my parents and grandparents went through the same feelings, but a word or two of caution.
Words like luxury and indulge are quite inflammatory, particularly to a teenager who is I suspect already struggling with becoming an adult, it’s hard enough as it is, without the burden of responsibility that diabetes places on you. Reminders, however tactfully and gently done about the potential damage, ‘complications’, consequences, health risks, all instilled a fear in me which spawned rejection, not acceptance of the condition.
Imagine how scared you are for him and then try to imagine all the things going on his head.
Try to focus on positive ways of motivation, rather than highlighting the terrifying possibilities of the future to him, taking charge, owning his own condition, try it in baby steps like one before every meal and work up rather than just saying ‘do it because you have to’, which in my own case I didn’t respond well to as I am sure many other teens will have felt, try the stealth approach in that by recording results you can work out patterns to improve control and feel better, and in fact live more normally without worrying so much about the ‘what if’s’ all the time.
Does he have a good team to support him, do his friends help? without knowing exactly how he’s feeling it’s difficult to suggest an approach but ALWAYS use more carrot than stick. being reminded of all the cra**y possibilities just makes you want to ignore it all the more.
In the end all you can do is be there for him and try to encourage him, without appearing to nag (stealth approach), he has to sort it out in his own head when he’s ready, you can only give him the tools so he can use them when he’s ready, and hope that it will be sooner rather than later. Perhaps you could suggest he joins Tudiabetes there are plenty of teens, people who remember how they felt (like me) and parents of CWD here who can help, empathise and advise.
Hope that helps a bit. x
Temptation at times to be in denial? Hah. I seem to recall it was 24/7 in denial for me at various times of my life with diabetes
Why not ask your grandson, directly, how you can help him?
I think an open, honest conversation along the lines of “I love you. I know I can’t really know what if feels like to live with diabetes. But I want to be a support and a rock for you. How can I help you? What can I say. What shouldn’t I do? What shouldn’t I say?” goes a long, long way. Help him help you define how you both will be there for each other.
And, honestly, all the talk about “awful consequences” has no meaning when a person is 13, 16, 18 … and sometimes well into the years beyond (see Danny’s blog).
If you are having extreme emotional and mental turmoil from your own fear of diabetes complications (and what loving parent, grandparent, sibling, spouse, friend wouldn’t?), don’t make your grandson carry that burden for you. Seek a support group, seek an online buddy, etc. Other peoples’ anxiety and worry is very, very draining–and we’d rather worry about just our own concerns as much as possible, like whether to check blood glucose or eat a hamburger.
PS: Not all of us make smart decision all the time about diabetes. In my 36 years, I’ve had my ups and downs. I totally and completely respect loved ones who want to support and encourage their PWDs. But, in the end, it comes down to one person–the person who has the diabetes. If that acknowledgment isn’t part of your conversation, then it’s hard for the PWD to take the conversation seriously.
But it’s also a great comfort to know that even though diabetes is our own personal burden, sometimes other people can, with a word or a smile or sarcastic comment or a cash gift (I always ask for those; never get 'em, but keep trying), help carry the load.
When I was a teenager honestly the main thing that got me though those years were my friends who are diabetic themselves. And (I will be 24 in October) still sometimes they are the only people who get me though. Not friends online (although they are a big help) but the ones I know in person. Does he know any other type 1’s. I went (and still go I work at now) to diabetes summer camp. That is where I met everyone. Three other kids in my grade at school also had type 1, 2 of whom I went to camp with in the summers. It gets easier to deal with as I get older, but heck, I still HATE it. I find myself sometimes still not testing before I eat, dreading an a1c test (although I have never had anything over 8.2 and that was back in high school) and all around hating being diabetic.
My grandmother died of complications from type 1. She died before I was born so I never met her, but my mom told me horror stories of stuff that happened (it was her mom). My dad’s cousin has type 1 as well and a few years back needed a kidney transplant and has had a few strokes because of it. I have worked in hospitals and in nursing homes and have seen people suffering in them from complications. None of this stuff has ever worked on me to kick off my old habits.
My absolute saving grace was my friends (the diabetic ones) whom I could vent to and they motivated to me to check (taking insulin was never a problem, it was testing), a CDE at the childrens hospital where I live who had type 1 too and I could relate to her my medical frustrations and a doctor who was THE BEST doctor I have ever seen. I cant see her anymore because she is a pediatric endo but she let me see her till I was 22.
Remember, he is still a teenager and still has normal teenage issues I am sure, on top of having to deal with diabetes. Its not an easy time in life. Maybe, if it is really bad, he needs to see a therapist or something. Some of them specialize in teens and kids who are diabetic or have chronic health problems.
I don’t write down my numbers though. I never have since I was dx’d. I have some program on my computer where I can plug my meter into my computer and look at and print off a spread sheet of my blood sugars and it graphs them for me and everything. Plus, there is no cheating that way in writing down false numbers.
Best of luck =) I guess its not advice, but probably the best thing to do is let him know you are there for him and support him.