Teenagers with diabetes!

By bubba8267 Latest Reply 2010-11-21 10:09:51 -0600
Started 2010-05-18 16:20:24 -0500

A friends 16 year old son is struggling with diabetes and the problems connected to the disease. How do I get through to him and be a mentor to him regarding his diabetes. His mother is at her limits with the situation and wants to help her son deal with his disease. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

15 replies

britts_mom 2010-11-21 10:09:51 -0600 Report

we are going through the same struggles right now with my 15 yr old. She was diagnosed when she was 3, and for years we have managed her diabetes well, but in the last year or so she has started not testing, eating what ever when ever and not doing her shots! Her endo even dropped us because we weren't compliant! Just this morning my husband and I caught her writing false numbers in her log book. We give her the support, but we have also become nags; but we are lost as what to do and how to help! I don't have advice, but its nice to know that you want to be a mentor bubba! I hope we can find a mentor to pull Britt out of this 'funk'!

RAYT721 2010-08-07 10:35:31 -0500 Report

I am glad this website now bumps up older threads for new people to view and contribute to. Bubba's discussion on dealing with teenagers is relevant to many people with teens or for those being asked to mentor and coach others. Bubba's experiences and willingness to help a friend shows the spirit of our community… caring and sharing. How are things going with the mentoring, Bubba??? I'm sure it is an ongoing struggle because if your teen subject is anything like my teen years, good luck to you. How can such bright teens that know everything turn into dumb old middle aged men like me? :)

amberk 2010-08-07 10:33:56 -0500 Report

I know it is hard being diagnosed with the disease but I can relate somewhat. Trying to fit in and seeing people eat whatever and whenever they want is difficult. But I would recommend the he is fully educated and knows the risk he is taking with his life. I also would state how important people around him know he has this (in case of an emergency). There probably other diabetic student at his school and maybe a support group could be started or one in town. This does take alot of work from the parents also. If he sees his parent/parents more involved doing some of the sane things he does, it would make a world of difference. This could be a positive thing is everyone watches what they eat more carefully and he would know he has a great support system at home at least.

mythicman62 2010-08-07 10:19:35 -0500 Report

Having grown up with diabetes, I know that it is a tough time, but parental support and understanding helps tremendously. He can teach his friends more about the disease and how to look for signs of low sugar incidents. Urge him to get involved in sports and extra curricular activities. There is no limit to what he can do.
Show him examples of professional athletes and public figures that have not let it stop them from achieving their goals. Too many diabetics are told that they are different and can't do certain things or activities. I played football, baseball, and many other sports as I was growing up.
I am a 48 year old, type 1 diabetic for 42 years. I have done most everything I have wanted. I have also gotten into trouble with not regulating myself and my blood sugar. Fortunately with the help and support of family and my endo. my diabetes is better controlled and I have no complications, yet.
Give him all the support and confidence building possible. Diabetes is not the end of the world. Encouragement is a key motivating factor. I wish him and his family all the best in the world.

ccritch 2010-05-20 14:57:53 -0500 Report

He has so much to look forward too, continue what you are doing in being a friend, brother and/or mentor. eventually it will all fall into place as Gabby said he is probably trying to fit in and he is afraid. His teen friends hear he has diabetes are afraid not sure what it is. Continue being Supportive and constant assurance that he is not alone and everyone can play a role in his education, his family, you and his friends. Very important support and Assurance that he is not alone in this journey with diabetes. It is difficult I know this first hand and foremost. But I am now 9years living with diabetes and am still here and thriving and learning everyday and just found out that I too am not alone, I have all you and Diabetic Connect my support group and friends whom I cherish and am thankful everyday for being their with your support. That is what he needs.

Good Luck and God Bless

GabbyPA 2010-05-19 15:13:44 -0500 Report

Be a friend. Try not to be a nag. Do fun things that don't have to focus on diabetes and just make it part of life. Sometimes when we get too many teachers in our lives, we loose the fun of life itself. He is young, wants to do things to feel normal. I am sure he is tired of people being worried all the time if he is going to go low during a game or getting too high because he was hanging out with friends at the local burger joint.

Is he type 1 or 2? What type do you have or are you just helping him outside of that experience? Sometimes just a quiet example will do far more than pushing an issue. Teens are tough no matter what, chronic illness makes it rougher to fit in. I bet that's all he wants to do...fit in.

bubba8267 2010-05-20 11:31:00 -0500 Report

He is type 1

GabbyPA 2010-05-20 20:51:25 -0500 Report

I rather imagine his life is really a bunch of rules. Find a way to make the rules just part of life. It can be hard, specially since he is so much older, but then you get the reasoning part of him that can work through what you are helping him with. Teens are rebellious, it is how they learn. Just be patient, be there and mentor through example.

Emma2412 2010-05-19 12:07:34 -0500 Report

I think that's all good advice. I think also you should scour the Internet for suggestions. The boy is probably scared and is not focusing on the problem. I'm sure there are lots of sites out there dealing with teens who have diabetes with some great suggestions on how to cope.

John Crowley
John CrowleyCA 2010-05-19 09:32:41 -0500 Report

As the parent of a teenager with diabetes, I commend you for your desire to help. Heaven knows that sometimes as parents we need a few positive outside influences to help our kids make good choices.

I think the best thing you could do for your friend's son is to just talk to him about diabetes. Ask him how he feels about it. Ask him what is hard about having it. Listen to him and reassure him that what he's feeling is completely normal. Diabetes is exhausting. It's 24/7 and restricts you from eating some of the best-tasting things. That's not an easy thing for a 16-year-old boy to deal with.

Then when you've really listened and shown understanding, you may have an opportunity to help him understand the consequences of not controlling the disease. Not in a "scared straight" kind of way. But in a "this is reality" kind of way. Let him know that you'd be glad to help him in any way HE would find helpful. Maybe you could help provide or set up a reward if he tests his blood sugars more frequently. Or takes his insulin 10 minutes before eating. Etc.

I wish you the best.

Mame C
Mame C 2010-05-18 19:23:33 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed @ 14 out of the blue (38yrs ago) the only thing that made me accept and toe the line was watching how much my diagnosis distressed my mom. She felt so responsible that I had a "disease" it would of killed her if I chose to make matters worse and turn my back on it. Guess I'm not normal, but @ 92 she still bears the burden.

RAYT721 2010-05-18 17:17:29 -0500 Report

Without knowing your age I don't want to be insulting but as an adult (father, brother, friend) you may have the same roadblocks with the kid as his Mom. For me, acne was a crisis at 16 so I can understand how a disease can be overwhelming to deal with for the kid. One of the Jonas kids is on a mission to educate teens about diabetes. Check out google with appropriate keywords and see if you can find a kind of age related approach to get through. He's probably in denial. He's tossed in an age of not being a child and not being an adult. With that age, he's got so much to think about. There should be support groups for teens in his community. Why not contact United Way Services, the American Diabetes Association, and/or the yellow pages under Social Service Agencies for assistance and guidance??? Just offering to help is noble and I give you thumbs up for the concern. We all need support and sometimes don't know who to turn to. The kid's doctor should also be able to help find resources for help. See if the school nurse or counselor may provide guidance to help. It's important for him to network with other young diabetics who are mature about the condition. This is not to say you can't be a role model but don't take it all on yourself. Any disease is as much of a 12 step process as alcoholism, drugs, etc.

bubba8267 2010-05-20 11:33:02 -0500 Report

Good suggestions, thanks.

missgirl 2010-08-07 11:27:39 -0500 Report

Bubba8267, I appreciate you trying to help your friend. I found out Aug. 7, 2009 that my 18 year old daughter had full blown cataracts and then on Aug. 12 she went into the hospital in a diabetic coma. Neither side of our families has diabetes. This was a total shock to us all. It is very tough for a teenager to handle as well as a parent. I am still trying to adjust to the fact. My daughter is type 1 so it is really a hard thing to get used to in a normal world, but being blind on top or it is even harder. That young man needs to have a lot of support and learn as much as possible. Knowing there is a reason for everything helps a lot even if we do not know what that reason is, sooner or later it will all be evident. Type one diabetics is a very small percentage so is very special people and should be involved with each other and in a good supportive group of people. I am trying to get involved with people here and we have a very good instructor where we live. You look like you have a chefs uniform on, so if you could help him with some really good meals, that would be fantastic. I have found that is a big problem for type 1s. I know my daughter hates trying to get things to eat that is not filled with sugar and still taste good so she does not have to give so much insullin.

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