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parenting a child with diabetes

Last night, I posted something over at tudiabetes.com (an amazing online community for people touched by diabetes) to another parent whose pre-teen child with Type I Diabetes is also struggling.  This is my view on how to help J. learn to manage her disease, how to let go and let her take over, how to encourage her to not let this disease hinder her from doing everything she wants to do in life.  Here’s my post (edited a bit to be more reader-friendly for the general public):

My 12 yr old daughter was diagnosed almost 2 yrs ago (December 18, 2006) with Type I Diabetes. It’s a challenge. I know that (type I) kids want to be like everyone else and not have to worry about their blood sugar and insulin all the time… and it’s not fair… it just is what it is.

I’m learning to let this be J.’s disease, to treat her with respect when she makes poor choices, love her and support her while encouraging her to make good choices. Ultimately, as hard as it is, I have to let go because it’s not my disease, not my choice, not my life. I’m hoping that J. will continue to talk to me and share her life with me (well, most of the time, at least… she is a pre-teen after all), that she will continue to want to feel good and to learn from poor choices.

It’s hard to learn to trust after “deceit” from a child, especially when we know how it could impact their body in the future, isn’t it? I learned from many here who have had Type I Diabetes for many years that fussing, yelling, worrying constantly or trying to control my child’s choices is not the answer to helping her learn to manage her disease.


3 Responses

  1. That was some great advice. Though I’m sure sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture. I admire your strength, Natalie.

  2. Natalie I wish you had been at the DRI Diabetes 2.0 event in NYC. This type of challenge was covered very effectively.

    It sounds like you’re doing just the right thing. Look at poor choices as an opportunity for a conversation, that will help more than anything.

  3. Thanks, Windy and Bernard!
    I, too, wish I could have been at the DRI event. I read about it, but not early enough to be able to make it happen this year.

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