Teen Topic #39:  How can a parent prepare their T1 preteen for living with D during the teen years?  

Ashley B. (age 15)
Parents can prepare their teens by acting out real world scenarios with their kid, such as pretending that your kid forgot their insulin at home. You should ask them what they’d do, and essentially coach them through it.

Skylyn (age 16)
I would say that parents need to make sure their T1 preteen is in the habit of counting carbs, testing, and bolusing if they aren’t already. At least for me, as I got older, I hung out with friends more often so counting carbs naturally was important. Your preteen needs to be able to know how to count their own carbs and bolus for them on their own.

Lexi (age 15)
Help remind them at times when they forget to check their sugar, it’s very hard being a teen or preteen and diabetic.

Jessica (age 20)
I think the best thing for a parent to do in order to prepare their preteen for the teenage years is to educate, especially on independence. While it is nice for parents to do things like check blood sugars or remind them to bolus or calculate their shot amount, it is best for the preteen to learn to do those things themselves. This is the time when they start going places without parents and T1Ds need to know how to do things, get help, get food, etc. on their own. Make sure they always have emergency money and food with them, teach them to calculate insulin if they are on shots or in case the pump doesn’t work. Although learning to “master” the disease and know your own body takes time, I think the preteen years are the time to start letting the T1D figure all this out so they can start to venture off in their teen years.

Ian (age 14)
The only thing I can suggest is to not treat it like a big change, just like a smooth transition. Most importantly, don’t freak out if stuff begins to change.

Mercedes (age 16)
Parents can start letting their preteens do more stuff on their own and start giving them more decisions on their own. This is so they can start feeling more like an adult with their diabetes.

Laura (age 16)
I think the best thing parents can do, first of all, is make sure they start good habits that they can carry out through their teenage years. (I wish I would have done that.) And second of all, gradually give them more and more freedom.

Claire (age 17)
I honestly can’t answer that, because I’m 17 and I’m still not prepared.

Andrew (age 14)
In my experience the best thing parents can do to prepare their preteen diabetic for their teenage years is to give their kids more freedom. As teenagers we become much more independent of our parents, socially, emotionally, and physically, as we start to take care of ourselves and solve our own issues. The diabetic aspect of your teenage years is no different, you start to separate yourself from your parents help, but if you aren’t prepared to handle your diabetes independently, especially with the difficulties posed by puberty, it can be overwhelming. This is why the best thing a parent can do for their child in their preteen years is give them more freedom so they can help their child prepare for the responsibilities they will face as teenagers.

Erin (age 17)
Gradually give more freedom.

Cameron (age 17)
Start giving them more freedom so whenever they’re out with friends or at a party and something goes wrong, they know what to do and don’t have to call their parents. I feel that responsibility is a huge part of living with D during the teen years.

Ashley C (age 14)
There is no way to fully prepare a teen for these years. It’s kinda like how no kid is the same, well, every teen going through this is different. The only thing I know is have them talk with a type 1 teen and get their personal story from it.

Vanessa (age 15)
I feel like you can’t really prepare for teen years with a Type 1 especially if you’ve never been through the teen years before. I feel like you deal with it as you go and it can be really tough at times but you just take it as you go and learn throughout the time.

Nick (age 19)
Don’t be helicopter parents. Make sure the child is taking care of their diabetes because they know it’s important, and not because their parents are making them. Because if they only look after their condition when they know a parent is watching, when the parent is gone they’ll just stop.

Josh (age 18)
I would say most definitely as a parent, I would practice letting your preteen  get a little more used to handling the disease all on their own. It has helped tremendously through my teenage years!

Anna (age 15)
Since the teen years are a time of growing and hormonal changes, parents can prepare their children for a lot of unexpected highs and lows. They can take their children to a diabetic camp or support group to let them know that they are not alone, and that there are people just like them out there.



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