Diabetes…..Parenting? Is it Water and Oil?

What didParents.

That would be us. 

Do you ever feel like there is ‘parenting’ and with that is also ‘parenting and diabetes’?  No one gave us a manual or a ‘how to’ book, for either.   But it just seems to be that there is a whole chapter (dare I say and entirely different book) when it comes to what we as parents are called upon to do when diabetes becomes the new normal.

I am amazed at the intensely unyielding efforts in which parents try to move mountains, heaven AND earth to help in the diabetes world from their own child to other activities.  They organize events, they advocate, they tend to the daily management plans of their children; they organize school activities INCLUDING management of their children, and keep up this pace without a break. 

What is it that you want your child to absorb from all of your efforts?  What is the one thing that you hope they remember when it’s time for them to go to college and/or enter the adult world?

What have you done that you hope they don’t remember?

To our friends who are now adults with T1, what do you remember about the dynamic between you and your parents when it came to diabetes?

Let us know the good, the bad, and the ugly; the good times, the bad times, and the quiet times.   There is much we can learn from the voices of experience.  Please share what you remember?

People do as people learn; the rest of us guess.

I am a diabetes dad.

14 thoughts on “Diabetes…..Parenting? Is it Water and Oil?

  1. Well … I think I was the same parent BEFORE diabetes. I was the PTO president who raised more in a year than the org had raised in two decades … i was involved in other stuff too. But I do think having my kids see me be willing to step up and DO — even when things were hard and I had to find ways other than money to “do” has shaped them. Lauren is such an advocate and person who just helps someone when they need it because it’s the right thing to do. I also know that when they were little and I had to work THREE JOBS while raising them (THREE!) they saw that hard work might be tiring but it’s worth it — and its honorable. Both my girls work hard. So I’m not sure diabetes changed much ….. other than amplify it all a bit. What would I change? I’d be more flexible and less upset when they went through teen stuff.

  2. I don’t want Fallon to learn my ways of constant worry! She is pretty laid back about living with Diabetes. I do want her to see how she CAN live a normal life, with some gear to go with her, and accomplish everything she wants. I want her to see us going about life, and I really need to do this more, and still managing a constant disease. She is and can be unstoppable. Responsible, but fun. Diligent, but carefree at the same time. She does this at 11…I only hope is goes with her throughout life. Diabetes is not fun, it takes a lot of care, it gets in the way a lot, but Fallon just keeps going! So proud of me girl!

  3. I feel I’m mirroring a lot of what Moira wrote and has done. I, too, instilled DOing something from the time she was small. PTO/PTA, Activity Committee and Safety Committee at my work place, CPR and First Aid certifications, working two or three jobs as a single parent, signing up for whatever was needed, stepping up to the plate. I worked really hard to not bad mouth her dad and his family who never once helped us with any type 1-related issue, even fundraising or offers to babysit (which I now consider a good thing!). I did all this BEFORE the diagnosis and didn’t change any DOing anything after. ‘Everything happens for a reason’ is what kept us going. We just did it harder, with more passion, more understanding of others, thinking we were dealt another chance at life and everyone isn’t so lucky.

    What impresses me is in addition to Shelby volunteering for committees and positions and helping others (even to the point she will unfriend someone who uses the word “retard”), I’ve at times “given her permission” to use her diabetes for an excuse because I’ve suspected she had a low blood sugar, and she hasn’t done it. I’ve told her to let the teacher know you would like to option to retake a test and things like that. She won’t do it. Her frame of mind is that she was dealt the D card and she’ll live with it. It’s hers to deal with and “don’t bug me, Mom…it’s my disease”. I don’t know that I WOULD do anything differently; I’m really proud of her. I admire her. She is what I would want to be if I were her.

  4. First I have never rewarded or punished for a BS number or A1C. If its a ugly number I have always simply asked “so what should we do?” I do hope they remember that – to see BS and A1Cs as a road maps telling them what actions to take or behaviors to improve on.
    At times when my kids have been less than respectful (even in a crowded Target – much to the disapproval of other shoppers) may have made the mistake of occasionally asking/telling my kids “You better be so HIGH right now” I fear that this statement might allow them (my kids not the shoppers) to use Highs/Lows as excuses for poor behaviors later. But lets face it highs/lows effect how our children and adult friends with diabetes sometimes act. (not to bring up any bad memories for you Tom).
    I have sought out local communities and online communities that understand – that don’t need teaching that just “Know” so I can feel less alone and for my kids to feel less alone. I hope they remember this and continue to build friendships with other pwd in addition to non-d friendships. Despite what some research suggests and the NPR says – social networking and in person D connections improve self care, quality of life, A1Cs and general happiness. IMHO.
    Not everything is D related – sometimes things are just things. Friends are just friends and life is just life. That doesn’t mean you can ignore the dragon/tiger/elephant (choose your animal) but it means you make plans and then make D fit your plans. I hope they remember that.
    Exercise matters – It will lower BS which helps when they are moderately out of range but can endanger them if they are not aware. I hope they remember that.
    And just recently (as of last night after #DSMA chat) I shared with them a lemonade story. Yes we all know that if you are given lemons you can make lemonade but don’t let your lemonade (life) turn to lemons because of diabetes. Something that @Inkstain_D said in tweetchat – well she didn’t mean it that way initially but it is what became of a comment since we in the #DOC are such deep thinkers. 😛 I hope they remember that.
    Thanks for making me think so early on a Thursday Tom. Best wishes always.

    • I have stated many times that BG numbers are a road map. They are to be adjusted as needed. I am not saying that they should not be taken seriously and with the weight that is needed, BUT, it is about the adusting to help on the roadway…..not to mark it as a stumbling block of failing or not.
      Thanks for your input……good stuff!

  5. My mother set up a garage sale for JDF, before JDRF. We were in the process of moving and needed a way to get rid of some items and felt the money could be better used by other entities that help find a cure for diabetes. I appreciate what JDRF has done and is doing to assist with the treatment and care of young diabetics.

  6. I’ll start with the “don’t want” Steph to remember part – I try and have tried very hard to not look at them as more than numbers i.e. information to help you improve but I will admit the A1C when Steph was young felt like my report card and sometimes I felt defeated as a parent against this “D” monster.

    What I do want Steph to remember is and go forth with is that she can do anything she chooses to ~ she just has to deal with diabetes while doing it. We never let it prevent her from doing anything and made accomodations so that she could participate in all types of things over the years. I would do all of that again in a heartbeat because she is a very well balanced, full of life, smiling, beautiful young lady and I hope that us not letting D stop her from anything helped mold her into this awesome of an adult!!!! I would also like to add that most of the young adults I know and have known over 15+ years who have D have more empathy in their little fingers than anyone I know. They feel compassion for others because of what they’ve gone through and I think that is one of the most important characteristics a person can have in this world.

  7. I hope Nathan will move on in life with a good sense of self awareness and self management, a good (and maybe warped – sorry dude that one’s my faukt) sense of humour. Humour can help dark situations lots…
    What I hope we won’t walk away with is the memories of me being frustrated when faced with work thoughts and hoysehold stresses, I suddenly hear ‘Mum, I’m 23.9…..’ . I hope he always knows that when my guard is down and I ‘react to the numbers’, it is exactly that – the numbers, not Nathan that I’m reacting to.

    What do I think he’ll remember? The times when I’ve inconvenienced him by asking him to do his bloods and wash hands…

    Oh and that I was a meanie Mum who said he couldn’t have a lizard for his birthday. Nothing agsinst lizards, we just have a total managerie of pets already…!

  8. I hope Nathan will move on in life with a good sense of self awareness and self management, a good (and maybe warped – sorry dude that one’s my fault) sense of humour. Humour can help dark situations lots…
    What I hope we won’t walk away with is the memories of me being frustrated when faced with work thoughts and hoysehold stresses, I suddenly hear ‘Mum, I’m 23.9…..’ . I hope he always knows that when my guard is down and I ‘react to the numbers’, it is exactly that – the numbers, not Nathan that I’m reacting to.

    What do I think he’ll remember? The times when I’ve inconvenienced him by asking him to do his bloods and wash hands…

    Oh and that I was a meanie Mum who said he couldn’t have a lizard for his birthday. Nothing agsinst lizards, we just have a total managerie of pets already…!

  9. I hope Alex will not remember me crying at the Dx. I hope he does not see the tears well up in my eyes, still even after 10 years, at the thought of that dx day.What I hope he remembers is that diabetes will never keep him from following his dreams. That diabetes has actually given him extraordinary opportunities . I am his biggest fan, his defender and the one that will never give up the fight for a cure for him.

    • If only everyone had someone like you fighting in their corner. Keep up the fight. After 20 years—tears still come to me…..indeed….where is the little girl I carried.
      Thanks for chimimng in.

  10. I’ve told my 9 year old many times the story about everyone in life been given a wooden cross, heavy and big, to carry in this life – diabetes is his to carry. And that one day his wooden cross will be a brige to help him over stormy rivers. And a wooden boat for him to float on when life becomes too hard. I pray that this will be true for him. I was a proud mommy to watch the other day how nurturing and kind he interacts with younger kids. Perhaps his T1 cross had already helped him to float in being emotionally more mature than most boys his age. The other day he attended a children’s ministry kamp where these young kids were taught to pray for grown-ups. And since then, every evening when chatting in bed, before going to sleep, he puts a hand on my shoulder and bless me in quit prayer. I’m SO privilege to be a mommy of a diabetic boy, having to carry a heavy wooden cross that brings out the very best in him. SO very proud

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