TEEN TOPIC 31:  What can parents of teens with T1 do to help their kids be more independent as they work toward college and moving away from home?

Laura (age16)
Give us space. I honestly feel like I’m constantly being treated like a child in my house due to diabetes, when I will be graduating and going off to college in less than two years. I don’t want to be constantly questioned and bickered at for how I’m handling myself. I’ve had type one diabetes for around 6 years and am nearly an adult. I should be given more space, and should be trusted more with my own health.

Ashley C (age 14)
Let them do everything by themselves and only come to the parents if they need help.

Jessica (age 20)
I think that learning to become independent is the most important part of living with T1D. Parents that hover over their children, in my opinion and experience, drive their kids away from being independent and responsible with their diabetes. I believe that teaching your children to give their own shots/change their own sites and pack their supplies (i.e. for low blood sugars) is crucial. However, in terms of going to college and moving away from home, it is so important to teach them the medical aspects — making doctor appointments, ordering supplies, calling insurance companies, etc. It’s these minor pieces of living with diabetes that we as kids don’t think about needing to learn since “mom and dad do it for me”. Making your kids aware of these by having them in the room when you call, and mentioning that one day they will need to learn this, is important in prepping them for the future and adulthood.

Erin (age 17)
Allow them to go out with friends , and to try to carb count on their own when they may not know what the carb amount is.

Claire (age 17)
Give them space while also helping them prepare to be the young adults they are.

Cameron (age 17)
Giving them more freedom by letting them make their own decisions. If you have an insulin pump, the parents should let the teens change it out themselves. The parents should also let the teens count their carbs and bolus without checking on them to see if they did it correctly.

Ashley B. (age 15)
In order to prepare your kids for college, don’t try and baby them through diabetes. You *NEED* to let them handle situations with blood sugars, insulin, and night time checking on their own. You’re not going to want to drive three hours away to your kid’s school just because they don’t know how to treat a low. Of course, it’s okay to step in here and there, but in order for your kid to be independent with their care, you can’t do everything for them. That doesn’t help prepare them for the real world, unless they’re just going to live with you forever.

Nick (age 19)
Make sure the kids are the ones responsible for taking care of their diabetes. Don’t hold their hand too much. They should be able to check their blood sugar and do their insulin without being reminded.

Ian (age 14)
I think that parents should start letting their children do the routine by themselves, and maybe have them start waking up to test, of course the latter more towards junior year. I don’t think, however, that parents should stop helping totally, we still need them. 🙂

Mercedes (age 16)
When your diabetic teen is going off to college  you don’t need to treat them any different from any other kid. You need to trust them and let them go. There is no need to act any different just because they have diabetes.

Skylyn (age 16)
Parents can help by letting their diabetic child be more independent at home. Letting them mainly maintain their diabetes by themselves will prepare them for the future when they will have to maintain it by themselves.

Jordan (age 18)
Parents can back off helping their child with everything, and let them take care of more of their diabetes management themselves. Parents can have their child be in control of their supplies, and have them monitor their own blood sugars and insulin without being told or asking questions.


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