I don’t want to say that we have made some crucial choices when my daughter was young, but we did. However, at the first opportunity we could, when it came to her diabetes, the choice was hers to make. The same with my son when he was diagnosed.
People say to me that your children must be on XYZ, the newest technology, right? Not necessarily. If I had to pinpoint ANY thing as such a necessity, it’s two solid points. One, I don’t have this disease. I do not know what it is like to actually have it. I could fool myself and tell myself all the things that I think I know and that gets me close……but truth is, it doesn’t. I can tell you what it is like to be parent but there is a line in the sand when it comes to understanding that and having diabetes and that line is a canyon-wide realization, if I do not have it, I cannot possible know.
Second, with the only one exception being the non-negotiable wearing of an alert bracelet or necklace, the decision what my kids should do to handle their diabetes is left to them. I can encourage them and more importantly I can educate them; and at that point, the call is theirs. I have an opinion for sure, but it is just not my call. I have said this a million times, my dear friend, the late Richard Rubin (who chartered this course as a father and an expert) taught me the clearest decision in my life….give my kids choices.
THAT is not as easy as one would think. But from the time Kaitlyn wanted to go to sleep overs and we said we want her to go too but she needs to know how to give herself a shot if we were to let her go, almost from the age of six, she started on the pathway of starting to manage this on her own. Yes, age six. What age is that I your house? Only YOU know that answer, but surely they can START as early as you want.
Were we there every step of the way? You bet we were. Watching ever so carefully but when it came to deciding on a pump or a CGM, having better numbers means little to a child. Walking her through how she felt when she would go low or high and asking is she would like to try to make it so those feelings occurred MUCH less, well that is something she understood.
Choices……but not for my sake……make them understand it for their sake. You will have better numbers, you won’t have complications, and you will do better should be replaced with choices. Would you like to work at not having to leave the soccer game in the middle of a game or practice is but one idea. There are many more.
And if your child has an A1C which is in the range you are all working toward, be even more careful to tell them what THEY SHOULD do, they way you like, to handle THEIR diabetes……..think about it.
And if anyone is NOT in your family telling you what to do for your own good because THEY KNOW; politely, and strongly, tell them you and your child have it worked out with what works for you. And if they continue, tell them they should lose 20 pounds…..after all, you are telling them that for their own good. You may lose a friend but it will surely change the direction of the conversation. (I do not want you to really do this).
I understand that many choices we each have to make; and we all WANT what is best for our child. But MAKING your child do something when they don’t want to……could set you back years. Never easy, this diabetes stuff……..is it?
I am a diabetes dad.
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