Using Fear To Motivate Children With Type 1

By Richard157 Latest Reply 2011-01-28 16:33:11 -0600
Started 2011-01-18 15:09:28 -0600

The following message appeared in a discussion on another diabetes website:

"A bit of healthy fear can motivate you to do your best to take good care of yourself and to exercise caution with your health so hopefully nothing this extreme will ever happen."

A friend of mine started a new discussion in reply to that message. Here is his post:

"I would have to disagree, I don't like when people use fear to try to motivate me to take care of myself. I realize it is necessary for a diabetic to understand the possibility of complications, but I wish there was a uniformed and less harsh/ scary way for doctors to inform diabetic children. The "fear" that some used to try to motivate or scare me when I was younger just made me feel hopeless and scared. I think children have a hard time understanding the fact that if they take care of themselves they greatly reduce their risk for complications, they just hear that "diabetics lose limbs" and assume it will happen to them.

I think endocrinologists and pediatricians should have special training on how to discuss diabetes with children, what to say, and what not to say. I think some doctors are too harsh or not careful enough to make sure the child understands that people that take care of themselves have a great chance to avoid or delay complications.

Changes I think need to be made in the relationship between Type 1 children and their doctors:

1. Doctors should never try to scare the child/ patient
2. Doctors should never make the child feel different from other non D children
3. Doctors should never make a child or parents feel guilty for high Bg numbers
4. Doctors should tell children about people who have had the disease for years and are perfectly healthy, that would be motivation and give hope
5. Doctors should put themselves in the childs shoes rather than judge and talk to the child like perfect management is easy
6. Doctors should put themselves in the parents shoes rather than judge and talk to the parent like perfect management is easy
7. Doctors who want to work with diabetic children should be required to go through special training concentrating on the emotional effects of type 1 diabetes to the child and the family of the child. Teaching the doctor how to communicate effectively and positively with the children and the parents, not to judge, scare, or guilt them."

I think my friend has written a wonderful message. He has received many thanks, mine included!!!

What do you think?

6 replies

Richard157 2011-01-28 16:33:11 -0600 Report

I agree! Replies to this discussion have been saying the same thing. Many doctors use scare tactics to get their diabetic patients to be serious about their diabetes, and work hard to have good health. That can backfire though in many instances, and do more harm than good.

MewElla 2011-01-28 16:18:18 -0600 Report

I really think the dr.'s want to get your attention like on the TV in the waiting room…and they usually do. Fear of the unknown is awful but definitely gets our attention.

Rainerm 2011-01-28 15:42:54 -0600 Report

Fear is an awful feeling. Yesterday I went to my endo appt. My doctor had recently installed a TV in the waiting room which is constantly talking about diabetes. A story came on about a woman and her toes or lack thereof. By the time they called me back, my heart was pounding, I was sick to my stomach, and I was on the verge of tears. Why do they think this is an effective method of controlling diabetes? It just makes me feel hopeless!

BandonBob 2011-01-18 15:29:29 -0600 Report

I think this is a great idea. Also all doctors that treat any diabetic person adult or child shoul have to pay attention to items 4 through 7. Thanks for sharing