“What is your blood sugar? Are you sure that you don’t need me to talk to Jimmy’s parents about your diabetes? You might like summer camp. Are you sure you don’t want to go? Steve has a pump and really likes it, are you sure don’t want to give it a try?”
How many times has one of your parents asked you a question like these? Too many times to count? If my mother had a penny for each time I responded to one of her questions with, “Mom, stop worrying! I’m fine,” while I was growing up with diabetes, she would have…well, a lot more money in her pocket!
Looking in from the outside, parenting a child with diabetes looks incredibly stressful, and the most stressful moment might be simply going to sleep and hoping your child is going to be safe during the night.
The lack of control they have can be frustrating, simply because: this is your diabetes! You are the one who ultimately decides if you are going to embrace your diabetes by turning each negative into a positive. Or if you are going to deny your diabetes by pretending that it does not affect your life. The decision is yours.
Diabetes is not easy even if “You Make Diabetes Look Easy” as Ginger Vieira explains in her recent article. In my experience I have found the following to be helpful in managing my diabetes:
- Commitment to improve
- Positive attitude to help you cope with the rough days
- Loving support system to help you along the way
The first two, commitment and a positive attitude are intrinsic and can be turned on like a light switch. But having a loving support system is something that people who have diabetes search for every day. It may be what brings you to Diabetes Daily?
Your support system often starts with your parents and over time evolves to include friends and (hopefully) the diabetes community. Extending your support system to include friends and the diabetes community by sharing your diabetes with them, may be the most important thing that you ever do because it can increase your confidence in managing your diabetes. As you become more confident in managing your diabetes, your parents might have less anxiety about watching you assert your independence with diabetes. Easy.
So the next time one of your parents asks you, “Have you checked your blood sugar?” keep in mind that they are reminding you that they are still there for support. I will never say that diabetes is an easy thing to manage, but in comparison to how stressful life can be for parents who have a child with diabetes, actually living with it can be easier!
Instead, explain to your parents what support looks like to you. What can they do to support your diabetes management? Explain it to them clearly, and kindly.
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