What The Kids Think?

We are often told what thoughts and feelings our parents with children who are diabetics think and feel, but I wonder what the children of diabetic parents think, or thought as they grew up?

A complete role reversal where the children often feel like they are responsible for the parents, or a loss of the feelings of safety and security that a parent often provides? As much as we would like to hope it never happens, the frequent news stories of children “saving” diabetic parents is probably only the tip of a very embarrassing iceberg, from which diabetics may try to shield their children.

Maybe it would help to hear from children, especially grown-up children of diabetics. Did they see their parents as heroes, who courageously battled disease daily, if not hourly, to raise their children as normally as possible? Or did they view their parents as an undeserved burden in their young lives? Is or was there anything their parents may have done to ease the burden?

As a child of a type 1 diabetic I can tell you that growing up I felt a lot of fear. I never saw my dad as a burden or weak or anything like that. He was my hero, strong, and a source of knowledge as well I looked up to him and ran to him for comfort.

Being a type 1 myself I guess my view point is a little skewed. The fear I felt came from watching my father suffer from many complications of diabetes. He took very good care of himself according to the knowledge of diabetes in his time. But ultimately succumbed to the disease. I watched all of this and was petrified and traumatized by it because I too am a diabetic.

He was always there for me, took very good care of me and taught me how to be independent and care for my diabetes (even if I chose not to).

Even though I went through a lot of bad things because of my fathers diabetes, I did not feel a loss of safety or security until the day he died. I watched him have a massive stroke right in front of me and I couldn't do a thing but stand there and cry ( I was eleven years old).

The years I had with my father were wonderful. Spotted with fear and illness, but that only made me stronger over time. I loved him and he loved me and showed it in everything he did for me.

Thanks for sharing that.

So my daughter was eight when I was diagnosed as T1. She saw my pain and decided to become a doctor so others might not have to through such pain. She is now 31 and a first year resident (that’s a doctor out of school but with 2 more years of hands on training for those unfamiliar with the long process of becoming a doctor). I’m so proud of her! She told my wife and I all this the night after she graduated from med school. We had some hints along the way but I’m so glad that my suffering has led to some good for others. I hope we all inspire our kids by enduring the constant challenges of this disease!