Toddler mood swings, wacko BG, or is satan inhabiting my three-year-old?

My daughter is almost three and a half. She was diagnosed this January, and we just started pumping with the Animas Ping in June. She has always been a little headstrong and independent, but lately, LOOK OUT!

She has had tantrum upon tantrum upon tantrum. And they are TERRIBLE! Raging, screaming, kicking, making herself ain't pretty. It's as if the demons of hell are spewing forth from her darling little blue-eyed blonde head. It happens when we want her to do something she doesn't want to do, like brush her teeth or come home from the playground (I know, I'm a terrible parent asking her to do these things...shame on me!)

MY question...could it be BG related or is it just her being three? Her numbers have been running a little high lately, but not outrageously so. I want to check to see what her number is when she turns into satan's spawn, but that's impossible, what with the eight heads and twenty-nine legs that sprout from her body...

Has anyone else experienced living with a living nightmare tantrum thrower? What do you do??? HELP!

thank God it’s not just me!!! Ethan just turned 4 on July 4th and was just diagnosed in May. He has been a crazy person!!! Literally everything is a battle with him. the crying, whining, and back talking has been so bad. High or low blood sugar, it does not matter. Maybe it’s just their age??

A great book: Raising Your Spirited Child.
I had an intense one, too. We added a sibling to the family at that age, and he became a little tornado (but a sweet smelling and loving one!).
Adding the intensity of diabetes on top can only be even harder for her. Three is about control, and you have had to take control over things important to her in ways most moms don't.

There are some great books out there that give you tools. They help you stay calm in the situation and have a unified, de-escalating approach.Of course these books give choices "Want to brush your teeth now, or in 5 minutes?". My kids would just throw the toothbrush and yell "NEVER!", so I am not saying it always worked! (Message me if you want to read an essay I wrote on my kid at this has some humor)

We went through a lot with our pre-teen when he was just diagnosed in October. It got scary (imagine big tantrum with giant child). But we approached it the same. We rallied around him and stayed the steady rock in the turbulent water.

I am convinced that irregular blood sugars only feed these moods (as does lack of sleep, both we were dealing with). But the real culprit is the stress and awful new pattern of dealing with this crappy diagnosis. Prick your finger, take a shot, and parents are stressed as hell.

xxoo Best to you!


I so sympathize with you and FEEL YOUR PAIN! We are in the same situation. My daughter was diagnosed on 2/13/12 at 3 yrs, 4 mo old, so she will be 5 in October. She was always a difficult child (read: headstrong and independent), but since diabetes, even more so. I know I once checked her when she was in the middle of turning into satan's spawn and her BGs were in the 400s.

We are getting very close to deciding to get a CGM for her - I'd like to know how her BG corresponds to her behavior - if it does at all. We have also kicked around the idea of going to a counselor. She just refuses to listen or obey, and the back talk is getting really bad. We feel like the worst parents in the world and her behavior is rubbing off on her little brother now, too. We need to do something before she goes to kindergarten next year.

We have struggled mightily with the same question you asked - it is just her age or is it the diabetes? My daughter is so good with handling her diabetes, checking her BGs and bolusing all by herself (she started podding last September), learning about what foods to eat, etc., but I wonder if she harbors pent up anger about it that she can't express due to her age?

I am currently reading a book someone suggested called "Connected Parenting." I'm not that far along into it yet, but I like the basic concept so far.

Been there, both with our T1D daughter AND with our son who is not T1D. It is most likely just normal craziness. I used to call my daughter's fits "Helen Keller moments" because they reminded me of the scene in the movie when she went berserk.

You have to remember, they are trying to deal with this disease as well, without the ability to rationalize this. At times they will just go berserk, having little to do with diabetes (bg wise) Like washing their hair, brushing their teeth, making their bed will set them off. Been there done that!

Our son is turning 7 next month, going on year 5 of T1. Not only are they dealing with being a kid, but you add this 24/7/365 weight on top of it... and they aren't able to get away, take a break. They are forced to do things over and over again, they do not want to. You and I would break at some point as well.

The good news is.... it gets better. Not going to say it stops.

Our son went through the same thing. He has his moments now and again, but it slowly went away. We tried our best to take diabetes away from him during these times. Doing all the testing, asking as little as possible from him, when he is at his "max". Everyone has their breaking point and this is them telling you... they have reached theirs. Now, we didn't stop enforcing the rules of the house.

Seriously, it gets better. Talk to them, open up to them. Ask them what is wrong, if they even know of can verbalize it to you. Ask them to draw it out maybe? But work with them and make sure they know you are there for them, that everyone in the family is there... you are all on the same "team", we like to say in our family. Everyone plays a part to help everyone else out. Try your best to remove the daily diabetes from them for awhile. Don't stop parenting them.

The Big D is just a new way of life. It sucks at times, but we will get through it.

Theo, great reply. And, as a post script, my 12 year old was just 30 mn ago acting irrational and irritated and even told me to “shut up”, which I corrected. I slid his test equipment to him and left the room. He came upstairs in the mid300’s, crying, telling me how bad he feels- sick, even when he is high. So- we saw the emotions and the fit that we are talking about here…it has to be one factor, at least sometimes.

A bolus and some time together later he was back to himself.

Yes and yes. My son was diagnosed at one and just turned four. As soon as he turned 3 he became very hard to control and had crazy tantrums. High and low bg made it much worse. So we had to have more patience than normal and ride it out, taking care of the bg too. He’s better now that he’s four. It’ll get better but diabetes will always cause their mood to be amplified. Just one more reason diabetes sucks especially in a little one.

Why pick just one? Sometimes we get all of the above. My son was 18 months when he was Dx'd and we went through some "spirited" times too. It will get better. But as Theo pointed out, she is coping with a big life change without having the tools to cope. So... you need to work on giving her the tools, meaning, work on actively teaching her better ways to communicate her frustration, anger, and upset, and helping her learn to recognize the difference between her emotions and her blood sugar. This is not going to happen quickly!

I sort of wonder if she might do well with a Rufus diabetes bear []; you'll need to read the book that goes with it to her regularly, until she gets the message that she has an outlet for her unhappiness in the person of the bear. It might help avoid the need to call in an exorcist.

Another great book I read over and over to my daughter is When Sophie gets Angry. Its a great book to help little ones learn how to deal with their anger. Its gives them ideas for appropriate responses. If your really concerned that its her BG’s you could use a CGM to help figure it out. That maybe more ore of a battle though. Hang in there!

Such a great question. My now 22 month old was diagnosed at 16 months and we are going through quite a time. Almost the terrible 2s. (We have a 4 year old as well). Put it down to the age but this little girl has terrible fits. Happens when she is low and high. Lots more when she is low. It’s been a very very big test on our patience. She was diagnosed when I as pregnant with our third and the new baby arrived 2 weeks ago so patience has been through the ringer. On top of it my newborn sleeps better then my 22 month old. Hmmm

They really may just not feel well and not want to deal with anything.

My son was almost 16 when diagnosed but he asked almost weekly, if he was ever going to feel good again or was this as good as it was ever going to be with diabetes?. He really felt bad and his immune system was trying to fight off everything (not too successfully). He got swine flu, stomach virus, colds - anything and everything going around school. About half the time, he went to school but didn't really feel that great - like when you are trying to catch a cold.

Once he went on insulin, his #s were good but he just had no energy. Between all of his appointments and illnesses he missed 22 days of school that year. At about 8 months, he began to feel better. It was also about the time he went on a pump and received basal every 3 minutes.

I have a 3 ½ year old that does exactly the same thing. Over the top fits to the point where he can barely catch his breath. All over the smallest things. I can’t say if it is high blood sugar that is causing your daughter’s fits since my 3 year old isn’t diabetic. But I can say that a lot of kids go through these phases regardless.

My 7 year old son who is diabetic and his twin sister never had those tantrums. I’m sure your daughter will grow out of it. (At least that’s what we are hoping in the case of our 3 year old :) ……)