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Question:

From North Carolina, USA:

I have a daughter who is 12 years old. She has been a diabetic for the last 5 years. She is on insulin pump therapy. Also, she has hypothyroidism and is currently taking thyroid hormone replacement therpay. How can I convince her to take her diabetes more seriously? She won't check her blood sugar levels unless I go to school and remind her. She seems embarrased by this although shes been doing it in the past in front of her friends. She seems to wish it would just go away. We've already spoken to her endocrinologsit about this she just shrugs off everything. I'm afraid something will happen to her if she doesn't become more responsible about keep a check on herself. I know with this preteen age she seems more interested in boys and friends, however this needs to me a major part in her life also. We've tried getting her to get on the chats with other diabetics and talk with them but she refuses saying its boring. Please help with some ideas that may make a difference to her since she doesn't heed my advice.

Answer:

Your child is moving into the years where heeding your advice is not what she really wants to do. She wants to fit in more than anything in the world. Being "different" is so painful for preteens and teens. Having diabetes is about as "different" as anything can be!

Your letter conveys a lot of fear. Of course, as a parent, you are concerned: that's as it should be. Still, fear is not a great motivator for someone your child's age. A more positive motivator needs to be found.

For a young person to be managed safely on a pump, they have to be very mature about checking sugars, etc. She may indeed need to return to injections to stay safe. Have you asked her about this option? Was the pump her idea?

Finally, Miss America, who is on a pump, will spread the word that diabetes doesn't mean illness. But if your child is like most of this day and time, they do not want to be Miss America! So I wouldn't use her as a role model unless your child aspires to that goal.

CMB

Original posting 28 Oct 1998
Posted to Daily Care and Behavior

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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