Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teenagers- great home test results - elevated A1c continued.

Most of the time parents of children with diabetes are are somewhat reluctant but also happy when their child takes over glucose testing and insulin shots.

There can sometimes be problems as the child assumes responsibility for this part of their life. Teenagers often seem to be very mature and at the same time have residual childhood behavior that can lead to making unwise decisions.

The problem of children especially teenage children providing false glucose test data to their parents and doctors is not unusual. How to deal with this sensitive issue is a problem for parents and health care providers.

My approach evolved over time. I believe that dealing with diabetes day to day can overwhelm any one, especially a child. I also think that diabetes can beat up a child but it cannot beat up a child and their parents working as a team.

Recognizing and accepting the problem is the first goal. Explaining to the parents and child very openly that this type of behavior is a common way of dealing with an unpleasant overwhelming job. It is no ones fault and may just be a way your child is asking for help.

Let the child know that you love them and that this type of behavior is not in his or her best interest. Explain that becoming independent is a part of growing up and that independence often proceeds our readiness to accept all of the responsibility of being independent. Let the child know that is nothing is seriously wrong and that this is a type of behavior and we have all experienced this to some degree. The child also needs to understand that the behavior is not in their best interest and that you will do anything to help them find another way of dealing with day to day requirements of having diabetes.

My mother raised 6 children with some occasional back up by my dad. They only went to the 5th and 6th. grade in school but were very wise. Mom or dad believed in hard work and independence but also encouraged enjoying being a child. Mom explained that childhood is brief and that being a responsible adult is a much longer part of our lives.

In summary, I suggest encouraging a teenager with diabetes management problems to enjoy being a child just a little longer and allow mom and dad to help them slowly accept the responsibility of dealing with this disease . Dr. Calder

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Your comments and questions are appreciated. David Calder,MD