When you find out that your child has either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes you might feel a tangle of many emotions. You may be shocked, sad, and even angry at yourself. Realizing that you are not the cause of your child’s Diabetes is the first step. Educating yourself about it will help you be prepared when you talk with your child. This will also help your child manage the disease.
Children that are diagnosed with Diabetes often feel that it is their fault. When discussing Diabetes with your child, it is important to make the child aware that they did not cause the disease. This is especially important when talking to younger children. Be sure that the child understands that Diabetes is not going to go away. He or she may feel sad or angry so let them know that they can talk openly with you about their feelings and fears. You also need to discuss about Diabetes if the child diagnosed has a sibling. The sibling may feel jealous that the attention is on the other child, or may be scared that he or she could also develop Diabetes.
Parents are often the role models for their children. Their outlook in the disease has to do with how you handle it. If you are stressed about Diabetes, your child will most likely be also. If you are positive, it will help your child. You have to use powerful words about Diabetes. Telling the child that if you work together you can keep the Diabetes under control, and the more you actually act that out, the less the disease will affect the child’s everyday life.
It may be difficult to discuss Diabetes with your child at any age. There are some tips that can ease your stress. Infants and Toddlers are too young to explain exactly why you are testing them and giving them insulin. Making a daily routine of when this occurs will make them more aware. Preschoolers will need their parents help. It is best to explain to them what is happening in simple terms. Some parents feel that the child has some control when they can choose where they would like their insulin injection and which finger they want pricked for a blood glucose check.
Children that are in grade school through middle school should be learning how to do some of their Diabetes tasks on their own, but they will still need their parent’s assistance. Children at this age are starting to do their own self-care tasks. It is best to be supportive, and understand that they will not be perfect. By letting the children know that when they take responsibility for their Diabetes, it will be much easier to go to sleepovers, camping trips, and other fun activities.
Teens do not always make the best decisions about their Diabetes because they may feel different from their friends and also may feel it will not affect them if they miss a glucose test. It is best to talk to your teen about drugs, alcohol and sexuality and how they could play a role in their disease. Be supportive instead of lecturing them because they may not take your advice.
At any age, it will probably be very difficult for a child to limit their treats with sugar, especially if everyone else in the household can eat whatever they wish. It would benefit everyone to set up a healthier life-style. This way, the child will not feel punished or like an outsider at home.
Talking honestly and openly is the key when discussing to your child about Diabetes. Doing so will help your child understand about the disease and how he or she can live with it.