There is a video that just started making the rounds online. It was created by the people of Dove. In a few places around the world, they built two doorways. They both are clearly marked; one-beautiful, two-average. The exercise was done to show what people think of themselves. The majority of the people went through the ‘average door’. It said a lot. I did not like that it was so female oriented, but Dove made it-I did not; so it’s their call I guess. It’s also a tad longer than it should be at over 3 1/2 minutes but you can look at here after reading the rest of this article. The video got me to thinking about our kids.
Whether we know it or not or even like it or not, there is a psyche side of diabetes that must ‘play on their heads’ with ‘the contraptions’ they all wear. There has to be a side of them that plays on their minds when they think of being intimate. I know it’s hard to think of our children as sexually active but the truth is that you need to get over that thought.
When I was in college I took a course called human sexuality. Dr. Hittleman was actually an expert in the field and he taught us well on many aspects of sexual behavior. He was very good at breaking down barriers about sex being this dirty little thing that needed to be kept under lock and key. He taught us how beautiful it is. “The absolute closeness of two human beings, and yet, no one ever talks about it.” I remember that statement well. So in that spirit I bring it up today because all of our kids, at some point, will become and stay active.
Ever look at yourself naked in the mirror? We have all done it. Ever look and say “good God, I need to…….whatever (lose a few pounds, work out a little etc etc). Now imagine our kids and they have a cgm stuck in them and/or a pump and/or a million tiny dots from years of testing and injecting and changing sites…………….what goes through their heads?
It’s important that we do all we can to make sure they accept themselves as they are. I don’t mean just that parent ‘mushy’ kind of stuff. I mean really instilling them with self-confidence. This is not, necessarily, just for your child(ren) with diabetes either. Self image is taking a hit in this country….and it starts at home.
Encourage your child at every opportunity. Even when they fail, it’s our job to build them up. My dad was a very tough disciplinarian. If my five brothers and sisters and I ever spoke in ANY manner of disrespect, we paid a price. My brother was once on the phone and he said something along the lines of, “Let me ask the old lady about XYZ (whatever it was).” My dad heard him and he paid a price when he hung up the phone. Name calling was just not done in our house growing up and we have done the same with our kids. Name calling is the first way to chip away at self-image.
I have heard some kids with diabetes refer to themselves as ‘damaged property’ which just kills me to write but you need to know that IT is out there. Your kids are very self conscious about how they look. And don’t think because your child has diabetes……well….forever that the thought does not ‘pop’ into their head and that they have ‘learned to live with it’.
Everywhere we look these days, the media defines what ‘they think’ perfection is and there have been some pretty significant means to try to turn that tide. The smallest percentage of people ‘look like that’ and it’s important that not only we don’t fall into that trap, but to make sure our kids don’t either.
Perfection is who we are; just as we were made and just as we should live day-to-day. The more confidence you instill in your child(ren), the better they will hold themselves up as they grow up. There is nothing more attractive than confidence, and the best place our children can find that, is in the mirror. Help them get there.
I am a diabetes dad.
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