I always loved the picture I included……..I have no idea if this kid ‘has this’ or not……but he surely looks like he has the confidence………but it surely is scary.
Diabetes can be a scary thing……..how could they have ‘this’? How will they ever….have this? They have only had diabetes for a short time. They are too young, I still must do their shots. They don’t wake up, I cannot let them go to a sleepover. It’s the parents’ job to do the management. The list goes on and on.
I have always lived by the notion, you can find a thousand excuses not to do something, but you only need one good reason to actually do it. Years ago I had a relative who told me that their child had no desire to get a driver’s license. He was fine with that because the notion of his daughter driving always scared him. He asked me if I found that strange…..daughter over eighteen and never wanted a license??????…….honestly, yeah, a little. My statement was a simple one. I got my license because, with a few exceptions, wherever I had to go…..I had ‘to get me there’. Walk, bus, train, …….whatever was needed I had to find a way to get there. So I asked him, “How much do you take your daughter in the car?” His answered was that he drove her mostly anytime she needed.
I told him, “If I had a private chauffeur, I wouldn’t want a license either”. We both laughed but shortly thereafter he stopped driving his daughter everywhere. Guess what? In just a few short weeks she went for her license.
The point is a simple one. If you want your child to be taking more control of their diabetes, you MUST ask yourself how much are you doing for them? Your situations are not all that unique that others have not gone through it before. And here is a news flash for you, they WILL NOT just grow ‘out’ of whatever stage/phase you are in…….you have to take/make a solid effort to change what you are doing.
They will not just ‘one day’ take on all of the responsibility. If we had any success at this ‘diabetes thing’ with our kids, it’s that we created a process for just about anything our children did so that they took on the responsibility themselves. If you believe, in theory, that your child will have this disease all of their life so the more you do for them for as long as you can so you will do it that way………..I will tell you two things; one-that’s your call….but two, you are doing them no favor.
I’m not going to enter a dialogue about this and surely you will do what you feel comfortable doing but I will also tell you that the best gift you can give your child about having this disease is getting them to own it completely on their own.
It’s not an easy decision. And it is not a drastic decision. But the earlier you start to shift the ownership of the daily management of type one diabetes back to your child; the better they will be. Gradually. One step at a time. Trial and error. Yes, yes, and yes.
How do you know? If there is something that occurs in the day-to-day management of diabetes that you do for your child, it’s very simple; if you are assisting, they will let you assist or do it for them. Figure out a way for you to stop doing it, and watch how they will start to take it on themselves. I do not want to list them, but anything you do—-they will continue to let you. And YOU MAY FEEL 1000% justified and needed for it to be done that way. But I say to you that if you do it, they will let you. The challenge comes in figuring out how to give it back to them to do. But I will also share with you that they will not ‘just wake up one day’ and it will be any different.
Small steps. Adjustments. Small steps. Make mistakes. Small steps. Shifting. Small steps. Small steps. But this big journey will never get better for you until you begin those small steps.
What age do you do this? You have to answer that, but I remember the first time Kaitlyn gave herself a shot, she was six. We had to measure and all that….but on that day WE KNEW she was on her way; and we built it from there.
Easy? Not at all.
I am a diabetes dad.
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