A Note to Parents
Learning when to parent our kids, and when to parent our kids diabetes.
Ever ask yourself that question before? Its obvious that we should teach our kids about seatbelts and safety; why they shouldn't smoke; and the hazards of texting while driving. Right? Well, not necessarily.
Ill bet dollars to donuts that in most cases, the kids who text while driving also have parents who do so. My guess is the same when it comes to smoking and wearing seatbelts. The simple truth is that kids follow what their parents do.
But what happens when we deal with our kids and their diabetes? If we do not have it, and many of us dont, how is it that we may serve as an example for our kids? As parents we surely are not short in the advice we have to give, are we?
Dont eat that. Your number should be lower, better, and more in range. Why didnt you check your blood sugar? Its time to test. You should not have eaten that. Why do I have to remember your supplies? Youll be sorry if you do not test. Make sure you have [insert item from list here]. Any of this sound familiar?
And sometimes we say it with such empathy: Now because you didnt do it when you were told, we have to wait for you. That didnt hurt. No one minded seeing your picture from the hospital on Facebook. Its not my fault that your number is high. Tell him what your number was. Go on. Tell him. Go on. Okay I will. She was 375 because she didnt listen to me.
Every last one of those statements has been said by parents, and there are still many more that I have heard and not listed. Do you see yourself? I saw myself in some of them, if not the exact words said, but the sentiment was felt.
Here is a little exercise I taught myself years ago. Parenting versus parenting a child with diabetes is so different with each family, but try this little sentence the next time you deal with your child on any (I mean any!) issue dealing with their diabetes. Tell yourself right before youre about to speak your first word, None of this is their fault.
If you think you are frustrated, exasperated, angry, mad, sad, sorrowful, pained, tired, fed-up, and ready to scream because of your child and everything they do, remember that all of the things you feel are only magnified exponentially in your child who has diabetes. Here is a newsflash for you: If you dont have it, you have not a clue what it is like. You have a clue what it is like as a parent, but as much as you think about it 24/7/365, you really dont know what its like to have diabetes. You may think about diabetes a lot a real lot but nowhere near as much as our kids do. Not even close. Realize this fact.
So the next time you are about to thrash into your kids event with a diabetes update, set a new example. Why not try asking about their personal time first and let the diabetes update wait ten minutes? I assure you it will be there even if you wait ten minutes and your child will always be aware of this fact. I promise you that our kids would rather tell us about their life as a child before they tell you about their life as a child with diabetes. Remember that always. I know I try to.
I am a Diabetes Dad.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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