Saturday, December 13, 2014

Teenagers



When my son was diagnosed with diabetes at age 11, I was very fastidious about writing everything down - almost compulsive about it - and following all the protocols to a tee.  I even wrote down everything he ate, thinking the endocrinologist would want to comment on his diet.  At that time, a BG in the 300s was atypical and a cause for concern.  My son even went to one checkup and had an A1C of close to 7!  He was voted the best patient of the day at the doctor's office!

Fast forward to now - the teenage years.  That A1C I mentioned was the best ever and it has slowly increased each checkup.  Because my son is a teenager and also due to the type of personality he has, he wants to be in almost complete control of his diabetes care even though he doesn't want to count carbs consistently, bolus after every meal, check for ketones when over 300 or when sick, or check his BG at least four times per day.

It can be super frustrating for us, as the parents, to see our son not want to take care of himself yet refuse to let us help.  At times, we see a glimmer of hope and maturity on his part - he will stay awake and keep checking every hour when he gets a BG of 400 late at night.  However, often that little hope of him taking better care of himself flies away into the wind.

When you have a teenager, especially one with a certain type of strong willed personality, you cannot just put your foot down and insist he do such and such a thing.  That only results in him including you less in his diabetes care and contributes to more anger and volatility in the relationship.

I wish I had the answer to this quandary.  Prayer is something good to do in this type of situation.  We have tried external motivators, but I feel, because they are not intrinsic motivators, they do not continue to motivate for long.  Praising him for the little successes is important.  Every checkup we attend, the doctor and the diabetes educator reinforce the importance of daily diabetes care which means that the information is not just coming from us - this is a good thing.  We have said those same things almost every day for the last 3 and a half years yet they do not seem to sink in.  Sometimes I think that laying off for a while might be the key.  In other areas that we have done that, there comes a point when maturity sets in and he amazes us!  However, it can be so scary to attempt this approach with regards to diabetes.  What has worked for you and your family?

Here are just a few links about teenagers and diabetes:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/586455
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16751852
http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-1-diabetes/one-moms-challenge-raising-teen-with-type-1-diabetes.aspx


2 comments:

  1. I have a 5 year old with type 1, but I have personally had type 1 since I was 10, that's almost 35 years. Having gone through those teenage years...I get it. I just wanted to be "normal". I hated that every time I took out my testing stuff, people crowded around me and asked the same stupid questions that they asked the day before and the day before that. Like, "does it hurt?" I got good at taking my shot very indiscreetly...like through my clothes (I still do that one) and I even had a fake log book, that I wrote in fake random numbers so my parents thought I was testing. I always took my insulin, but without checking, had no idea where I was. I hate to tell you this, but it lasted til I got married...and knew I'd have to watch it if I wanted to have children.

    I'm trying to put myself in your shoes, as the mother...of a teen...because my 5 year old will be there someday. I don't know if she will do that, but if she does, I'm thinking, the most important thing would be that she at least took her base insulin....if she ate more to cover it, to always have things ready to cover lows...I don't know

    Maybe if he's not testing at every meal and bedtime, maybe you could get him to agree to do it twice? morning and bedtime? (not condoning it, but maybe a deal would be better than not testing at all?)

    Prayers for us all!!

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  2. Would technology help? My 12-year-old pushes back HARD about testing. He has a CGM now so the finger-sticks are minimized (can be as little as twice a day) and at least he's got a clue where his blood sugar is before he doses and eats.
    But when we go to a restaurant, he always wants a booth so he can hide in the corner for his shots. At first he wanted everyone to see. Now, not so much.

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