Somebody asked your child: What’s wrong with your mom/dad? How do you handle that?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-02-15 14:19:16 -0600
Started 2014-02-08 20:12:43 -0600

Recently, a client with diabetes told me about how her young daughter came home from school very upset and asked if my client was going to become blind.

Apparently, the parents of a friend at school were aware that my client is living with diabetes and had told their daughter, along with attempting to provide her with some education (we'll give the parent the benefit of a doubt on the accuracy of this information). The next day, this child relayed what she had heard, most likely with her own misinterpretation, to my client's child.

Other parents talk. Their kids listen and repeat what they heard. Or kids talk about what they observe in their friends' parents. And not always with a whole lot of tact.

Your children are left with their own questions. For you.

One of the things that parents who are living with a chronic condition often tell me they dread is when their children are asked difficult questions – or hear unkind comments – about their chronic condition. You are dealing with enough as it is, right? Now, how do you handle the effects that living with a chronic condition has on your child’s life?

I recently posted an article on this topic. Here’s a link:

I am wondering if this is ever an issue for you. If so, how do you handle it? Or, need some ideas?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

10 replies

Stuart1966 2014-02-13 19:29:19 -0600 Report

Children are not fragile creatures -shrug-. They will be asked all kinds of difficult and impossible things which they must learn to cope with, as must we all.

Does you mom or dad take medicine sometimes? My mom/dad takes medicine which keeps him/her healthy. Nothing hard there save telling another kid information.

If they make it no big thing, its like we make it no big thing. They do not need to know otherwise, until they must… IF, if they truly must. They don't have to know cancer is lethal. They don't have to know our sexual history either. Why would we expose them to the potential lethal nature of the disease?

Protect their innocence as long as possible. Age appropriate pieces as necessary. If /when they ask for more, we have to give them manageable mouthfuls… IMHV..

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-02-15 14:19:16 -0600 Report

Hey Stuart,

I appreciate your wisdom here. Age appropriate is important here, and parents just have to use their judgment on that one. But I like the idea of not making it a "big deal." Chronic conditions are just part of life. If kids see parents taking it in stride, and not making it a big secret, then it seems to me they will also be more likely not to feel it is a stigma in any way.



Jeanette Terry
Jeanette Terry 2014-02-13 15:39:35 -0600 Report

Thanks for posting this Dr. Gary! I haven't ever thought about this. I have 2 small children so I am sure we will need to address this as they get older. I better start preparing now :)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-02-13 16:25:16 -0600 Report

Hey Jeanette! Always so good to hear from you. It never hurts to be proactive. Having a parent with a chronic condition can be an opportunity for kids to learn compassion for others. Thanks for checking in! Gary

haoleboy 2014-02-08 23:31:12 -0600 Report

thanks for the link Gary.I live with my son and his family and this info will undoubtedly come in handy with my grandsons (2 and 5). Both are certainly aware of my diabetes as I routinely test while they watch, explaining what I am doing and why (as appropriate for their ages).
I have become a big advocate for teaching children about nutrition and fighting childhood obesity … so all my cousins nieces and nephews and their children have heard my nutrition lectures. (my mother and grandmother both died from diabetic complications … not the legacy I want to leave).

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-02-10 08:09:42 -0600 Report

Hey haoleboy,

Thanks for checking in here. It looks like you are being proactive, teaching your grandsons about making healthy food choices, preparing them with positive education from the get-go.

Now, that is a great legacy.


jayabee52 2014-02-08 21:19:33 -0600 Report

Howdy Dr Gary

Fortunately for me my sons don't seem troubled by my diabetes. I have on occasion made them uncomfortable by my questioning of them. Their dad has T2, their mother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with them (it resolved post-partum for all 3) and their mother's mother (their grandmother) also had T2 and heart troubles and their mother's father had congestive heart failure.

So for a while I was on them about their weight. They ALL tend to be a bit husky. My #1 son is in the Navy and he has to pass physical testing (PT) every so often, so usually he is under control. My #2 son has been out of the Ntl Guard for about 3 yrs and is starting to get a "pillsbury doughboy" roll around his middle, and I worry about him cause I don't want him on the same path that I took. My #3 son I rarely see at all, but he is in the Army reserves and I am guessing they have a PT fitness goal to meet as well. But I saw pictures he posted on FB the other day and his face has sure filled out a lot. Actually he reminds me of his brother #1, except he is shorter (even shorter than me, I think - which is shorter than I'd like). I have however learned to back off with them so I don't become a nag. Occasionally I will ask about PT and how that is going and then listen and don't say much more.

God's best to you Dr Gary


Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-02-10 08:13:03 -0600 Report

Hi James,

It's always great to hear from you, my friend. Wow, we go way back together here on Diabetic Connect!

I know it's hear for parents to watch their kids not making good health-related choices. You can offer encouragement, gently or not so gently lecture... but they are still going to do what they are going to do. Still, I think that encouragement and gentle reminders can have an impact over time.

Thanks a lot for sharing here!


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