HELP! Type 1's diagnosed in adolescence!

By jani Latest Reply 2011-09-07 09:14:50 -0500
Started 2008-05-16 03:41:31 -0500

I REALLY would like feedback from those of you who have grown up with diabetes. What did your parents do that was the greatest help/support to you in regards to your diabetes? What was the thing that did not help you or was a hindrance? I want to support and help my son the very best I can. Thanks!

22 replies

rachael20 2011-09-07 09:14:50 -0500 Report

I've had diabetes since the age of nine and the best thing that my parents did for me is they always went to my meetings with me to find out how to help me deal with my diabetes. I'm now 28 and my parents are still very active in trying to help with my diabetes without them I would not be who I'm today. I live in my own apartment about two towns from my parents house and even have a great job.
The best thing my parents ever did and will do for the rest of my life is to always be there for me when I need them and they never let me sit back and feel sorry for myself because of my diabetes. I know what your son is going though right now but he will be alright I've been there too. The more you learn the better you will feel.
Best of luck

Richard157 2008-10-03 13:50:38 -0500 Report

Hello jani, I was diagnosed with Type 1 in 1945 when I was 6. Not much was known about diabetes at that time. My parents were told to never give me sugar and to avoid foods high in sugar. There were no other instructions. We used insulin from cows and pigs and tested my urine once per day. I managed to survive and now I am 69 and i have no complications at this time. I have been very lucky. I hope your son has the same luck. With today's technology and the vast accumulation of knowledge available to us your son has a good chance of living a long, healthy life without serious complications. Good luck to both of you!


my2boyzdd 2008-09-12 02:34:26 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed as a teen and it was really helpful when my mom would say (and even now) your grumpy do you need to check you BG? I think checking your BG (or her asking me have I) is really important. Just knowing the numbers and what to do with the results. Staying calm and telling me I can still do any and everything I want to do. You'll be fine. If you need support just holla'

Best wishes and many blessings,

tweety619 2008-09-02 16:15:19 -0500 Report

i was diagnosed on my second birthday. at age 7 my mom sent me to a diabetic camp with other diabetics. that was what helped me. i learned to give myself insulin and how to eat a diabetic meal and how to stay away from the sugars.
Before that my mom did the shots for me. After that i did them myself.

momoftype1 2008-09-11 15:25:43 -0500 Report

I have not heard much about the diabetes camps. Is their a link or site you can visit to find out what areas and dates they hold them in? My daughter 10 has been t1 since she was 8 and I want her to have a little more independence and know that she can still do things other kids do-can you share info if you have it.


Kimberly Smith
Kimberly Smith 2008-09-13 17:08:20 -0500 Report

Check with your child's doctor - he/she may have info on local diabetes camps for kids. If you have a local Children's Hospital, they would likely have information, too. You could also check with the endocrinologists in your area, particularly those who deal with pediatrics. Just check your phone book in the yellow pages. Another place to check is any local Diabetes Centers where they do education, etc.

momoftype1 2008-09-21 06:52:40 -0500 Report

thanks Kimberly-

we actually go to see her endo tomorrow for her 30 day pump follow up, so I will see if I can get some info from them.


tweety619 2008-10-03 12:00:11 -0500 Report

on the net just type in diabetic camps and you can look at any state to see when a camp near you will be in session

optimalirish 2008-06-17 00:18:04 -0500 Report

I don't remember not being a diabetic. It was, unfortunately my first memory of life. I was diagnosed 2 weeks before my 3rd birthday. I recently, 11 days ago, had my 29th anniversary. My mother and I had our problems. She was always trying to be too controlling. My teenage years was before carb counting was the big thing. I had constant highs and lows. Nagging your son is the worst thing you can do. Being supportive is the best. Allow him to make his own endo. appointments. Also, get him to write down his concerns and any questions he has for the dr. He will feel he has more control of his diabetes. Allowing him to do this with your GENTLE guidance will go along way towards a more peaceful teenage experience.

John Crowley
John CrowleyCA 2008-06-17 03:11:45 -0500 Report

Thanks for the advice. From the perspective of a parent, I can't imagine the difficulty of trying to help a 3-year-old understand why you need to prick them and give them shots all the time. And how you'd worry about everything your little toddler would put in his or her mouth.

It's no wonder that the parent in that situation would become a control freak (not that it's right, just understandable). And no wonder that as that child grows there are conflicts over control.

Again thanks for your advice.

jani 2008-06-17 15:47:15 -0500 Report

Wow! Thanks everyone~ I really appreciate the words of wisdom and the experiences you have all shared. You are all a great help.


momoftype1 2008-06-03 15:14:45 -0500 Report

I am a mom too, but my daugher was 8 when she was diagnosed, and as I read everyones replies, I see that last year I probably touched on a little of all of the things mentioned. I have learned that I need to love her no matter what that number is, and what she wants to eat. We work through some of the difficult times, and rather than treating her like she HAS to eath this or that I usually give her some options and reminders. One big one for her is that she does not want to be sick like she was when we found out. I always remind her that she can eat the things she wants as long as she does it the right way. We lean towards a lot more healthy snacks now than before, but she still can have a cookie, or other sweet snack in moderation and as long as she counts it. So far we have been blessed to be able to keep her balanced and will be getting the pump in July. My best advice is to love your child and to remember that it is ultimately THEIR choice and that we can only educate and support them.

KittyPiP 2008-06-03 08:44:06 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed age 11, just as I was entering adolescence!!! My Grandad is diabetic so I knew what it was, but it was MY diabetes not his or anyone else's. I was very good at looking after myself until I hit around 14/15 then it all went a bit haywire!!! Finger pricks were my biggest bug bear I'd go weeks without doing one…then I've have a battle with Mum, or Grandad who usually won by guilting me into doing one.
I found my mum trying to control what I did for my diabetes in terms of food intake and management made me more determined not to do what she said, although she too developed diabetes she stuck/sticks rigidly to eating and doing the same things, for a teenager/young adult that just doesn't work.
I would be a gibbering wreck by endo. time, knowing I'd have a horrendous A1c, and weigh far too much because I'd eaten everything I shouldn't have and taken lots of insulin to cover it adding even more weight. But I only had myself to blame.
OK confessions over, no bribery, coercion, "helpful comments" or tough love controlled MY diabetes I had to learn to/want to do that for MYSELF. I found lots of tools to help ME, some, no doubt, left in conspicuous places by "little birds", others dug up for MYSELF. Being a teenager is tough enough, diabetes makes it tougher, only by taking control of HIMSELF is your son going to be able to take control of HIS diabetes. Sorry if that is depressing, time to be a "little bird" and hope for the best!

Cynthia D
Cynthia D 2008-05-25 08:13:44 -0500 Report

I was 17 when I was diagnosed, with diabetes. At that time I had to go to the ER to have my sugar checked, it was when I was having trouble with it. My parents worried, but they left things as they always were. They never hid sweets. I had to learn not to fall in that temptation. It was hard, no doubt.
Being on his case all the time has its good points and bad. If they have classes, at the hospital or they know if any place that has them, you and he could learn a lot. Things are different the days. He has a lot of information that I did not. I had to learn on my own & also my parents. But with him being young he needs to do right. I have a family member that has it and they lost there leg, because they did not do right.
Infections can set in and is very hard to get well.
His moods can go up & down, which can be related to the way his blood sugar is running.Some areas have meetings at pepoles homes and they talk about what is going on with them. Check on the classes, meetings, and any other means of learning. Be patient, and as you learn he will to. Talking to his friends about it, explaining to them, might help as well. Good luck

Anonymous 2008-05-24 15:57:25 -0500 Report

Presently I AM in my teen years, and was diagnosed in grade 8. My diagnosis was probably the most difficult circumstance I've ever had to endure. Personally, my parents' care is overwhleming when they nag and constantly ask to be involved, and consequentially enough, I push them out of my life as this is one aspect I would like to control myself. After several years of doing injections and blood sugar tests daily (I know that isn't much in comparison to others, but in my teen years my god it is the hardest thing ever) I have found it is easiest when my parents merely ask me what I would like to eat and otherwise letting me be independant. I do not even allow them to watch anything I have to do. Concern is wonderful as it proves that there is care, but concern and pity are 2 seperate issues. This is something that you must overcome.

jasminesings 2008-05-24 04:15:59 -0500 Report

Hey there. I was diagnosed with type 1 when I was 9, so I went through my entire adolescence with diabetes. I didn't feel very supported by my family, so I think I can mostly tell you what DIDN'T help at all…I hope this helps some.

My parents used to stand over my shoulder when I took my blood sugar. I hated that. I felt like my identity was so tied in to what my blood sugar was. I was not in very good control when I was a teenager, and I ended up feeling like a failure. I needed my parents to listen to me, but when they asked me question, they only wanted one kind of answer. I know that health professionals say what is right and wrong to do, but I needed my parents to say that they loved me whether I was following the "rules" or not.

Cause honestly, that's what it felt like; a whole lotta rules that I couldn't quite figure out. I knew that eventually I could get sick if I didn't follow them, but what's eventually to a teenager? I felt like I could do whatever I wanted, and I know that must have been so hard for my parents. But they would yell at me, and I would respond by just lying, or hiding everything from them, and that didn't work so well.

My parents were really fond of telling me that i was "killing myself" when I would eat something I wasn't supposed to. Please don't ever say this to your child. It was awful.

My advice would be to remember that your child will probably not be able to do everything perfectly. Cut them a little bit more slack if you can, and try to listen listen listen. It's a really tough time.

If you want to talk more about it, I would be open to that. Thanks for getting out there and asking for help, you probably already know all of this information!


jani 2008-05-24 10:44:38 -0500 Report

Hey Jasmine,

Thanks soooo much for your reply. Those are the things I need to know. I am sorry that your diabetes was such a difficult thing between you and your parents. I NEVER want my son to feel like my love for him is contingent upon anything—especially on a chronic illness that is a pain in the neck sometimes. I really am proud of how well he handles his diabetes and just want to support him the best I can.

His A1C has been higher recently and my husband and I have been worried. My husband offered him $100 if he could bring his 14 day average down to 150. Do you think that is a good approach? We usually do not reward our children monetarily but ever since his dad gave him this incentive he has been working really hard at it. Also, I don't stand over him when he tests—I think he'd hate that. I just want to balance it all properly so that he feels like we care and are supportive. I don't want him to feel alone with his diabetes,like we don't care, but I also don't want him to feel hounded either.

Jasmine, your insights helped so much. I really hope that your relationship with your parents is better now that you are and adult. Thanks!


Frustrated mom
Frustrated mom 2008-09-10 04:04:36 -0500 Report

Jasmine…I came across a discussion of yours with Jani, and I cried…My son is 16 and has been t1 almost 4 years, we have all struggled with it…I feel like i have been very supportive, but i read your dissussion and now i feel like a big nag…I do not want to be like this, but i do not feel like he does what he is suppose to do…He has been in the hospital now 4 times…2 times with keytone acidosis. It scares me to death that he may not be with us to his adulthood…Have you any suggestions for me to ease up on him…I have tried backing off and letting him be in control…he would not take his meds…I feel so frustrated…Help…Thank you!!!

jani 2008-05-16 08:37:00 -0500 Report

John Crowley IS a great guy. So great that I married him! And the 16 year old son is fabulous too btw. I am just a worry wart mom that wants to do the best for her son. Thanks CAL pumper!!

CALpumper 2008-06-16 15:35:38 -0500 Report

Hi Jani!

John got a brother?! ha ha.
He is great. So happy for you and your family. You are all such wonderful people. I understand the worry wart part, my parents were the same way, especially my mom but somehow they kept it from me. I see it now, after 23 years and almost 30, more then when I was a kid. Goes to say I am much more observant and aware, ahh the years of wisdom. ;-)
Hang in there and glad to finally know who John's Better (that's right John — Better, not other, Better) Half is. ;-) ;-)

CALpumper 2008-05-16 06:23:24 -0500 Report

Hi Jani,

First, Breathe!!! It will be ok. Everyone in the Community is here to help!

I grew up with T1. I have been living with the darn thing for over 23 years. The best thing my Mom did for me was "tough love." I had a break down about 4 or 5 yrs after I was diagnosed, around 10 or 11. I just did not want to take my insulin or do another blood test. I just wanted those cookies for dinner!!! She left the syringe on my bed stand with the cookies and said, "You know what you need to do and why." Then she walked out. I played darts with the syringe, it was fun btw, lol. Then after an hour I started to feel just awful, my blood test was going up and up and up. I made a decision right then and there, Find the Advantages, bite the bullet, do the shot and eat right!

Mind you I still struggle but it was a Huge lesson at such a young age.

So my advice?
Listen and talk to your son. Be as observant as you can to his moods, his needs, his woes. There will be a lot. It is a huge adjustment, life changing for everyone but it IS manageable! And do your best not to worry. If it creeps up, it tends to as a parent, then log onto Diabetic Connect or call his Specialist. Find other parents to talk to or just talk to a friend. He needs you as much as you need others in this transition.

John Crowley is another great resource too, his son is a teenager, they have been through a lot together and I think both are doing just fine! ;-)

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