It seemed like a simple request. I was in an elevator in my hotel. A woman walked in with her two children. Two fine young men both wearing North Carolina shirts. The mom asks if the young man has the room key and he answered yes, “You gave me yours to hold. Maybe next time we can get three room keys instead of two.”
Mom: No we do not need three keys.
Younger child: What do you need a key for Timmy?
Timmy: Well for one, when mom has stuff in her hand I could open the door and also you and I have gone out a few times and we had to knock on our door to get back in.
Mom: I told you already you do not NEED a key.
Timmy’s face shows a little hurt. Not a lot, but disappointed.
On face value, and I get the fact that Mom may have had a million fabulous reasons not to give Timmy a hotel key, but on face value, it made me think how many times we may miss the opportunity for our child to be more responsible, and we do not give them the chance.
To be clear, again; Timmy could have lost a thousand keys in their travels and Mom knows that but let’s assume for today’s article that she said ‘no’ just because it was the easiest route to take.
How many times do we do that? I remember years ago, while at a conference I heard a child say to her mom, “I can do that.” Mom was checking her blood sugar. “No, I have to do it.” Um……er……..no you don’t mom. If your child shows the least bit interested in checking their own blood sugar or giving themselves their shot——it might be worth letting them try.
Your child’s diabetes does not belong to you, it’s the unfortunate truth, but it belongs to them. It surely impacts all of you but I have said this before; the more you give it back to your child and the sooner you do it; it will be better for all.
And, yes, I have heard the statement that kids will have to take care of this their entire life so the more the parents do now, so the child does not have to—-it allows them to just be kids.
And if you live by this philosophy and it works for you, I’m not here to convince you otherwise but rather just to ask you to consider the following: Every parent has to make the call to do what’s right. But I WILL state this: In as much as you want your child to just be a child, them NOT taking care of their own diabetes means that wherever they go, whatever they do, whatever they are in the middle of; they need to stop and find you. Whereas, the child who takes care of their own diabetes, takes care of it right then and there………………..and moves on. Which scenario is a child being more like the child we would like to see?
What age should this happen? Well THAT is your call. Clearly infants and toddlers are not to whom I refer, but I have known parents who were still doing everything for their child, not only six years after diagnosis, but into their teen years. I, honestly, question that. The inclination may be to take the burden away, but think about all of the times your child MUST STOP what they are doing to find you, wait for you, do whatever task is needed; and continue on in their life.
Is it really just the diabetes stopping them from being kids?
Two kids with T1. I get it. I really do. I’m not saying to just walk away and leave them ‘out there’. I’m not saying there were not days when we just needed to help them because they were just ‘so tired of it’. I’m saying that diabetes management is non-negotiable, they MUST ‘take-it-on’ at some point and the sooner they can understand it, manage it, and make it theirs……from experience…..I’m sharing they will function better in this maze of life as they develop into the young adults we want them to be.
So give them their ‘hotel key’…….trust me, it will open the door in their world like never before.
I am a diabetes dad.
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