Teen Topic #2: Should parents tell their D kids/teens all of the horrible things that could happen to their bodies later in life if they don’t take care of their diabetes, or that they could die if they don’t take care of themselves? Should you take them to a dialysis center so they can see how bad it is to have kidney problems?  Do these things help you want to take better care of yourself?  Why or why not?

Ian (age 13)
I must say that there is no definite answer, for if a diabetic kid does all that is needed then no, for doing so could lead to paranoia, using more test strips and supplies, and then either going into debt, dka, or hypoglycemia or etc. On the other hand though, if a kid does nothing then maybe, for fear is a powerful tool. but I myself wouldn’t go as far as taking my kid to a dialysis center or to an amputee ward to scare them or what I said before can happen, and then I find that very rude to the people you are looking at also.

Jessica (age 19)
I definitely think it is important for children to know and learn about the consequences diabetes can have. However, I think using it as a scare tactic is not appropriate. Children with T1D should be educated on what they face daily, and what can come in the future. Taking them to a dialysis clinic and scaring them is only going to make rebellion and denial worse. I believe that not only experiencing some complications of diabetes, but knowing about them and ways to prevent them has helped me want to better myself. But, hearing my parents threaten kidney failure has not. Everyone thinks they are invincible: “Oh, that won’t happen to me”, but we all know that it can. Talking with your children about the consequences is a good idea and a gentle reminder when an A1C goes up too high certainly doesn’t hurt, but harping on the subject does. 

Laura (age 16)
I don’t think so. I mean it’s important to make sure your child understands all of the risks involved with diabetes but scaring someone into taking care of themselves doesn’t help. These things do not, they just generally annoy me and make me want to rebel more. (with the way I take care of myself)

Ashley C. (age 14)
I think the parents should sit down with the kid/teen and educate them on what could happen if they don’t take care of them self. But, don’t overwhelm them with to much information at once. Also don’t remind them all the time of what could happen because, in my case, every time someone tells what could happen I think “Hey, my pancreas is already dead what’s the point of trying to help it?” It also makes me think “Hey, I don’t care what happens anymore.”  This is around the age where teens just don’t care about diabetes anymore because they have most likely had it for 4+ years and they don’t want to have a disease,  so they think, “Nope, I don’t have diabetes anymore I’m normal,” so they will not have it that day.  So they do need to educate them on what could happen but don’t scare or overwhelm them.

Mercedes (age 15)
I think you should warn them, but not make it super gruesome to the point of scaring them. Knowing what can happen if you don’t take care of yourself does make you want to take care for a while, but then it gets pushed to the back of your mind. You also don’t want to keep bringing it back up or it will get annoying and they will get mad. Do not bring them to a dialysis center – it won’t help, just make them angry.

Ashley B. (age 14)
Telling your kids about the complications about diabetes is actually really…morbid, in a way. I mean, older kids might need to know that stuff, but five year olds might just need some help care-wise. That’s sort of like someone telling you that your favorite food can lead to heart attacks, blindness, and the apocalypse. I do think it’s important to let your kids know about the complications from diabetes, but using it in a way similar to blackmail is just over the top. “Make sure to keep all your sugars in check, otherwise we’ll have to amputate your feet/hands/legs/whatever, and you’ll never be able to go to dance class ever again.” Seriously, imagining someone telling that to their little kid (who probably doesn’t even understand the seriousness and permanence of losing a limb) because they forgot to bolus for a piece of candy is just absurd.

Skylyn (age 15)
If I was a parent and had a child with diabetes, I wouldn’t tell them until they were older and at least a teenager. Diabetes is scary at first when you are not sure what to do, and telling a young child about all bad things that could happen to them later in life if they don’t care of themselves isn’t good. I would suggest waiting until they are more mature and understanding of their diabetes.  

Luke (age 15)
Yes they definitely need to tell us about potential problems with our body, because if we don’t know about these issues then we won’t know what to avoid doing. Knowing these things have definitely warned me about problems that could be harmful to my body.

Claire (age 16)
If kids actually know what’s coming for them if they don’t take care of themselves then they’re more likely to stop the bad that is causing the destruction. Although in some kids/children it could make the situation entirely worse, overall, it is good to be able to visualize the bad future in order to change it.
Although I believe kids should know what the future holds for them if they don’t take care of their bodies, scaring them too badly could just cause backlash and depression. Hearing about the things that could happen and actually showing them are two different things. Now if the kid/child is in desperate need of redirection and a large dose of it, maybe showing them will be a slap in the face enough. But for the overall population of kids with diabetes, I would say no. Knowing what could happen does, in a way help me want to take care of myself better, but it also makes me scared and want to give up and stop trying. So while I agree with warning kids about what the future might hold, too much could be harmful. It’s good to keep a positive attitude about the disease, so as not to let it take over your life.

Allie (age 13)
Parents should tell their children about the stuff that could happen to them if they don’t properly take care of themselves because it helps for them to want to keep their diabetes in line. I wouldn’t say to go as far as taking them to a dialysis center, unless they really don’t want to take care of them self and you have to scare them straight. It is good to inform them what could happen, though, so they could look it up and plan ahead if they don’t properly take care of their self in the future, or they just want additional knowledge on the subject.

Page (age 17)
I believe that parents should talk about the complications we could have if we do not treat our diabetes correctly, but I also don’t think they should bring it up regularly because we already know what could happen.  It can sometimes get old or useless because I zone them out when they say things over and over again like that. If our parents did take us to a dialysis center I think it would help us realize what could actually happen but I don’t want them to scare us into thinking that we will end up that way. It does help me want to take care of my sugars more just because I want to live a long and healthy life, but it isn’t as easy as it seems to keep your sugars regulated all the time.

Garrett (age 16)
No, because I know I have to take care of myself regardless of health problems or not. Knowing the problems help motivate me to take care of myself but I don’t want to hear about them all the time. I already know what they are.

Brandon (15)
I think kids should know about the consequences, but not to a point where they’re terrified of it.


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