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Question:

From Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA:

My son is 15 and has had Type 1 for 5 years. Lately, (in the last few months) he has become increasingly resistant to testing and taking shots regularly. We are becoming very concerned about his health. He has missed school because of vomiting associated with high blood sugars. He is rarely below 200 and as high as 600 at times. Our doctor has suggested letting him have total control of his diabetes and not interfering at all. We don't feel we can do this but when we try to help it usually ends up in a screaming match. He lies to us about testing and his blood sugars. He is also ADD and I feel this adds to the problem because he sometimes finds it hard to focus. Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with a diabetic in denial? Do you think that a diabetes summer camp might be helpful even if he says he doesn't want to go? I am at my wits end.

Answer:

Diabetes camp is often a great help for young people who feel they are "all alone" as a diabetic. Your son is pulling away from parental control, as is expected at his age. I understand your fears and frustrations: adolescence is hard enough without adding diabetes to the formula!

Your endocrinologist may be right. The more you attempt to exercise control, the more your son rebels. Perhaps the answer lies in the middle of things. I would suggest a meeting between you, your son and the endocrinologist to formulate a "contract." The contract could place the major portion of diabetes management in your son's hands, with the understanding that his failure to comply will have certain consequences. At 15, a major desire is to learn to drive and then to have access to a car. This privilege can be contingent on your son's successful diabetes management (as indicated by A1C results).

I would also include a diabetes counselor in the contract to work on issues of denial, self esteem, and anger over diabetes.

CMB

Original posting 28 Jun 1998
Posted to Behavior and Puberty

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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