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Question:

From Walnut Creek, California, USA:

My 13 year old daughter, who has had diabetes for about two and a half years, rebels by not taking shots or tests and eating whatever she wants. She doesn't care if there are side effects and says she doesn't care if she dies. I am at a loss as to what to do other than wait and see where I can reconnect. This is dangerous for her and lots of tears from myself. No one wants to see their kid self-destructing in this way. Counseling didn't work last year, and she absolutely refuses to go back. We do have good days and good control, but sometimes the bad days are quite a few in a row. What do you suggest I do?

Answer:

Your daughter does not get to choose to refuse shots or blood sugar checks, as she is only 13 years old. You are responsible for her health and safety, whether she likes that fact or not. You say that you've tried counseling and it was not helpful. That suggests to me that you didn't find the right person for your family. Please contact your diabetes team and/or your pediatrician for recommendations of therapists who have experience in working with teens with diabetes. Just as your daughter does not get to refuse shots and blood checks, she can not refuse to go to counseling. She is just a child and she desperately needs help. Get her that help in any way you can.

JWB

[Editor's comment: This behavior is not uncommon and is a cry for help. Having total responsibility for diabetes management can be overwhelming to many young teens. Until she can demonstrate that she can be responsible, you need to take over all aspects of your daughter's diabetes management including blood sugar checks and injections. This "break" often helps, and gradually you will be able to transfer it back, but never completely. Your daughter needs to know that it is okay to get angry with having diabetes, and you'll help her out by taking over whenever it gets to be too much.

Focusing on negative behaviors only reinforces them because what these teens really want is attention. If you can take a more positive, understanding approach, things should improve. SS]

DTQ-20001201115145
Original posting 29 Oct 2001
Posted to Behavior

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:26
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