For our inaugural post, we asked our Teen Advisory Panel, “How do you feel about your parents helping with your diabetes? Do you want more help or less, and why? What kind of help do you really want/need?” Below are their responses.
Ian (age 13)
Well, first off, I think that my parents help me at just the right times, but at times I could do without the “Ian you need to check your blood sugar, your cgm says 74” (when I am actually at 168. And the ironic thing is that when I sometimes use my cgm to check when I am in public, she complains that it is not accurate and I should never go off of it unless we have no test strips etc.) In general though, I must say that if parents do everything for their kids, then when they go away for even just a little while, they could fall into serious trouble
Allie (age 13)
I feel fine with my parents helping with my diabetes, and I feel like they should start letting you do more and more by yourself as time goes on. The only help I really need is filling up the vial of insulin for my insulin pump. There are times when I would like more help with things in general, and times when I don’t. It all really depends on how my day was and what mood I’m in. I feel like your parents should sometimes ask if you need help with anything because sometimes everything can be really overwhelming and you just don’t want to deal with it on your own anymore.
Jessica (age 19)
When it comes to my parents helping me with my diabetes, I feel it is best when I come to them. Many will think that their children will never come to them, but, personally, I feel that when myself and children are left to try and learn what to do on their own, we will often come to our parents when we are having trouble (i.e. putting in a site or filling a reservoir).
I also believe it is important for parents to realize that when their child is annoyed and frustrated with their help that they should respect the child’s space. This is our disease and we have to learn to handle on our own and the only way to do so is by trial and error for ourselves. So if parents let their children know they are around to help and keep (not a close) eye on them it will better prepare their kids to handle situations on their own. My parents have learned that when I am annoyed with them to give me space and I will come to them if needed; I truly believe this has strengthened our relationship and helped me to become a college student, living 3 hours away with a good A1C.
Laura (age 16)
I feel like my parent’s try to help me too much, and don’t let me take charge. Most of the time, I want less help. I’m not 11 anymore, and I need to do things on my own. Constantly being hovered over gets a little annoying after a while. The only real help I want is when I directly ask for it, like when my sugar is low or something.
Mercedes (age 15)
I am happy that my parents are helping me. Sometimes I think they help a little too much on certain things but it’s all welcomed. I like having help changing my sights and figuring out how many carbs are things. I don’t always need it but it’s nice to have it.
Ashley B. (age 14)
I think it’s different for each person, but with me I have this weird pattern where I get burned out about taking care of my diabetes. I know that I *have* to do it, it’s just that sometimes I don’t *want* to do it. Around that time, my mom takes over in my care, as I am mostly independent when it comes to diabetes. I usually get frustrated with having to wait on my mom to help me calculate carbs and give shots, and I start doing it myself again.
Zyler (age 15)
I understand why they want to help, but I know what I am doing and it gets annoying being nagged about it. I want less help with reminders because I need to start doing it in my own, and I feel like they don’t trust me when they ask if I’ve checked or bloused.
Skylyn (age 15)
I personally am fine with my parents helping me with my diabetes, we all need help sometimes but too much help isn’t good either. We all need to learn how to be independent. I would like less help with my diabetes. I have been a diabetic for almost half my life and I do know how to take care of myself. The only thing I like getting help with is the set changes. It is much easier and quicker if you have your parents help you.
Jordan (age 17)
I only want help when I need help. I feel like it’s good for the parents to help, but it’s also good for the teens to develop diabetes skills for later in life, because they aren’t always going to have their parents there to help them.
Page (age 17)
My parents help me a lot with keeping my sugars in good range and reminding me to count my carbs and to take a shot or to bolus. At times I can get annoyed with them because all they talk about is diabetes instead of normal conversations. I like that they remind me but at times I wish they would just let me handle my diabetes on my own. The kind of help I really want is to get to talk to another diabetic about the struggles I have and to relate to them understanding what I go through. Parents understand what diabetes is, but sometimes they just don’t relate to us about what we are going through what we actually have to do and how hard and stressful it can be on us.
Garrett (age 16)
I don’t mind at all. It takes a lot of stress off me. The help I really need is healthy diet and regulating my blood sugars while I sleep.
Ashley C (age 14)
I feel that there are different situations where parents should help more and help less. I like my parents helping me sometimes when I’m unsure or I do something I don’t normally do. The kind of help I need/want is to help me on the insulin dosage or carb counting if I’m unsure of both. Or I’m doing a high level activity and don’t know how my body will react with it.