TEEN TOPICS – WEEK 62: Do you think kids should be able to decide if they use shots or pumps or is that up to the parents?

Each week we ask our panel of Type 1 teens from across the country to answer questions about their diabetes.  Here are their answers to this week’s question.

Annelies (age 15)
I think that ultimately it should be what the child is more comfortable with. I think that kids should give pumps a chance if they have the opportunity, but they shouldn’t feel pressured to start it or stay with it.

Andrew (age 15)
The decision as to whether or not a diabetic should use shots or pumps is a conversation that occurs between both the parents and the diabetic, but the final decision should be up to the child because the child is the one being affected by the decision.

Ashley C. (age 14)
I think it depends on the age if the kid because they have to be old enough to understand how it works and everything, but I think they should have a big say so in if they want the pump or shots.

Cameron (age 17)
I think the kids should be the ones that determine his decisions because they’re the ones that are going to have to either wear the pump or give themselves the shots. 

Claire (age 18)
I do believe that it should be the kid’s choice what they use. It’s the kid’s body not the parents, therefore the kids get the ultimate say. Now I counter that with if the kid wants the pump but the parents can’t afford it, the obviously the answer is not to get the pump. However, if both options are open, and the parents favor the one the child despises, then the child’s say is the one that matters most as it is their body. 

Ian (age 15)
I believe that it is up to the child, unless they: (A) are too young to do boluses themselves/ monitor their numbers. (B) Have a physical or mental disability that could be adversely affected by one or the other. Or (C) Are for the option that would cause a great deal of worry or trouble to their parent(s)/ guardian(s).

Jordan (age 18)
I feel like it’s up to the kids because it’s their body so they should decide what to do with it.

Julia (age 15)
I think that kids should be able to pick whether or not they’re on pumps or injections because they have to live with whatever they choose for several years so they should feel as comfortable as possible. 

Lexi (age 16)
Unless the kid is too young to understand, it should be up to them. In my opinion shots are so complicated especially for the parent. But the kid should be allowed to choose.

Maggie (age 16)
Kids should have a say in if the use shots or a pump. It is the kid’s body not the parents. The kid should be able to choose.
Nick (age 19)
As long as the kid has been responsible with their insulin in the past, they should be able to manage their diabetes in whatever way they feel comfortable.

Skylyn (age 16)
I think depends on how old the kid is and how much the kid will be doing when it comes to their management. If they are older, then I feel like they should have more of a say when deciding with their parents. I also feel like it kinda depends on the lifestyle of the child. If they play sports, then it may be better to have the pump. 

Vanessa (age 16)
Depending on the kid’s age, I think the kid should choose what they feel comfortable with and what they want to do as an everyday routine. But of course if they’re a lot younger then whatever their parents feel that works for the kid and their routines then they should choose. 

Haley (age 14)
I would definitely listen to my parents’ opinion and consider what they think is best for me, but ultimately I think it should be up to me. Although, I feel like there could be some situations where the parents might need to make the decision.

Maddy (age 14)
I feel that kids should be able to decide if they use shots or a pump. The parents definitely get an input, but I feel that the kid needs to use whatever they feel more comfortable and confident with so they can manage their diabetes better.

Christina (age 15)
I think that this decision ultimately depends on how old the child is. If a child is younger than 12, I really think that the parents should be the ones to make the ultimate decision, of course with some input from the child. However, teens should be the one to decide what method is better for their life because they are gaining independence and responsibility. An insulin pump gives you tighter control, but if the lifestyle of set changes and always being connected doesn’t work for you, then pens are a better choice. 

TEEN TOPIC #61:  If you’ve ever just given up doing bg checks or dosing insulin for a period of time, why?  What were you feeling or thinking?

Annelies (age 15)
I’ve never really given up, because I know that I have a responsibility to take care of myself and I don’t want problems later on. It does get REALLY frustrating, but not to the point where I just gave up.


Andrew (age 15)
I’ve never intentionally given up dosing or checking my blood sugar, but there are times that I’ve wanted to. The times that I’ve wanted to were always driven by the frustration of having diabetes. Nobody wants to take time to test or do shots, and when you have diabetes those are things you constantly do which can be extremely frustrating.

Ashley B. (age 16)
Most of the time that I give up with my care is because I’m frustrated. I might be following all of the rules of diabetes but my sugars could still remain in the 200’s and above. I also can normally feel when I’m low, high, or normal, so I guess that’s why I skip checking my sugar. Though I have a Dexcom, it’s not always accurate. I do test to calibrate the dex though.

Ashley C. (age 14)
I actually do this all the time but, I just don’t feel like doing it anymore so I don’t and then later I’ll start doing it again. I think that everyone with diabetes should have a day or two every once and a while and just not be diabetic that day.


Cameron (age 17)
Not that I can think of. I mean I don’t check my BG as much as I used to because of the CGM, but I’ve never totally abandoned it.

Claire (age 18)
I did give up. And it’s called “burnout” a lot of diabetic teens feel burnout. And it’s basically feeling like you don’t wanna be diabetic anymore, you’re sad, and tired. But here’s the thing, nothing will stop you from being a diabetic. I’ve been in burnout, and it doesn’t feel good. I’m still trying to get out of it, as it started habits for me that I’m trying oh so hard to break. While it might feel like you’re alone, and you just want to be normal, a.) you’re not alone and b.) being normal isn’t something to strive for. Being like everyone else is over rated when you are you. So embrace your pancreas that sucks at life, and don’t get burnout, cause it’s not fun to be in, and even harder to get out of.

Erin (age 17)
I have gone periods with not taking insulin or checking more than twice a day. Usually I was sick, but sometimes it was because I slept most the day. I have not had burnout thoughts or feelings that I know of yet.

Ian (age 14)
No. I have not.

Jessica (age 20)
I am certainly guilty of not checking and bolusing on time. I have never done so out of spite, but simply forgot or was too busy to remember at the time. When I forget to check or bolus it is usually due to stress with school and I am running from place to place, or intently studying. Every once in a while I will veer off the beaten path and feel or notice my lack of care. In these instances, I look to friends and family for reminders and help in maintaining high standards of my diabetes management. And of course, I always feel awful about not taking care of myself because I know it harms me and reflects poorly at doctor visits. Nonetheless, it is a hard thing to remember when you’re the only one who has to check and bolus.

Jordan (age 18)
I have had a period of burnout where I didn’t check or give myself insulin more than once or twice a day.  I was tired of being diabetic and I just wanted to pretend that I wasn’t for a while. But it backfired on me when my bg was very high and I had high ketones that wouldn’t come down.  I’ve never felt so physically horrible. That was a turning point when I realized that no matter how much I don’t want to be diabetic, I am, and if I don’t take care of myself I could really do harm.
Even now I’m not the perfect diabetic – I probably don’t test as much as I should.  But I do give myself insulin because I know that I never want to feel that bad again.

Julia (age 15)
I’ve never not taken care of my diabetes. I just think if I’m forced to live with it I want to live healthily.

Laura (age 17)
I always do my doses when necessary, because that’s the most important and crucial part of diabetes care. When wearing my CGM, I often neglect finger pricks and sometimes I go days without an authentic BG check. Still, I do have the numbers from the CGM so I’m never just going blindly.

Lexi (age 16)
Well there have been a few times I remember my blood sugar would never come down at all no matter how much insulin I’d take. But I’ve never given up on checking and bolusing like that.

Maggie (age 16)
I have never give up doing Bg checks or insulin for a period of time.

Skylyn (age 16)
I have never intentionally not given myself insulin and never would. That would jeopardize my health and be dangerous. It doesn’t make sense to me not to bolus and give myself insulin. I wanna be healthy.

Vanessa (age 16)
There was a point in my life and it went on for about a year/year in a half where I didn’t want to do anything for my diabetes. I didn’t want to take insulin, because I thought insulin made me fat. I didn’t want to check my blood anymore because I wanted to have the no scar or no rough finger tips like the other girls in school. or I just didn’t want to be the different one out of the bunch that got all of the attention. I was fed up with diabetes and I just stopped doing everything. I feel like every teen goes through this at one point in their life and it’s a bad time for them and their parents but it’s kind of like puberty, you’re going to go through it and you can’t stop it. You will get through it and so will your parents. As long as you get the support you need and the good friends that care about you and your health.

Haley (age 14)
I’ve never quit doing checks or dosing. Sometimes I get tired of it all, but I realize if I want to be healthy and stay alive I don’t have a choice.

Maddy (age 14)
I’ve never given up doing bg checks or dosing insulin and I would not encourage it because it affects your long-term health.

McKenna (age 16)
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes I hated it and everything around me. I constantly wished I was ‘normal’ again so for about maybe two or three years I refused to check my numbers and to give insulin. At the time I was just angry with the world and always asked myself, “Why me?” and I felt rejected by the other kids in my school. I thought I was the weird girl and I hated it which made me hate my disease. So I tried to be ‘normal’ like the other girls.


Christina (age 15)
I really haven’t gone through a time when I seriously avoided taking care of my diabetes. But, sometimes in public or with people who don’t understand diabetes I feel self-conscious and avoid testing my BG.

TEEN TOPIC #60: What are some of your top tips for carb counting new foods?

Annelies (age 15)
My top tips for carb counting new foods are using Google and GoMeals. When in doubt, you can probably find the answers online.

Andrew (age 15)
My top tips for carb counting new foods that don’t have nutrition labels, for example food ordered at restaurants, are to ask for a carb count and use the carb information you remember from similar foods you’ve eaten. You can always ask for a carb count on the food you order at restaurants to help you count your carbs properly. You can also use the carb count information from similar foods you’ve eaten by using the carb counts from those foods to estimate the carb count in the food you’re eating.

Ashley B. (age 16)
My tips for counting carbs for new foods is comparing the food to another food. If you have a gigantic burger, compare the size of the buns with the store bought kind. If it looks twice the size of the store bought buns, the big burger’s buns would be roughly twice the amount of carbs as the store bought buns.

Ashley C. (age 14)
Guess and hope you guessed right.

Cameron (age 17)
I usually just base it off of foods that are similar that I know how my body reacts to.

Claire (age 18)
Guess-Ti-Mating is a good way to do it, but as you get further into your many years with this disease you can just kinda look at a plate or a cupcake and tell how many carbs it is. Don’t ask me how, it’s just magic. I’ve been at this 11 years and I can do it every time. New foods are weird though, I usually Google it, as the Internet has numerous carb counting websites that are helpful.

Erin (age 17)
I base the new item off something close in size or food group and make a guesstimate from that.

Ian (age 14)
Think about the ingredients. More often than not, if you can sense what the ingredients are and their amounts then you’ll be golden.

Jessica (age 20)
I think the best thing to do when carb counting new foods is the nutrition label or the Calorie King books. I always start there and if I go too high or low, I make a mental note for next time and try to adjust accordingly. After more than 16 years living with T1D, I have come to know how my body works and what carb counts work for me. But most importantly, I have learned that this is different for every single one of us. I have met some diabetics that always spike after eating pizza, no matter how much insulin they take. I, on the other hand, know that no matter what kind or where I get pizza from 35 carbs is enough to cover me. Until you know how different foods affect you (or your child) the nutrition labels and Calorie King book are my top tips to help with carb counting.

Jordan (age 18)
My top tip for counting carbs on new food is to go with the flow, if it looks like 30 carbs to you, give yourself 30 carbs worth of insulin. You can always correct later.  Also, most food is similar carb wise to other foods so just base it off of that.

Julia (age 15)
When trying to figure out the carbs for a new food I usually use the Calorie King app, but if it’s not on there I really just have to rely on guessing based off of other foods like it.

Laura (age 17)
I never use an exact carb counting method. When I was first diagnosed I was forced to, so I learned the carb content on a lot of basic food. Really all I do is take that prior knowledge and incorporate it in when I’m eating something unfamiliar.

Lexi (age 16)
Most of the time you can guess based on how big the proportion size is. If you’ve had diabetes for a while like 3+ years you’d get in the hang of guessing really well.

Maggie (age 16)
For new foods I will either look them up online or basically just take an educated guess and correct later on if I did to little or too much.

Skylyn (age 16)
My number one tip would be to use common sense and look up the carb count online if it doesn’t say on the package. Otherwise just take an educated guess.

Vanessa (age 16)
If I’ve never seen or had the food before I think of what’s in it and count it by that or I just Google it on my phone which is very easy.

Haley (age 14)
Google! Whenever I try new foods, I usually just Google the nutrition and serving size info and figure my bolus from there.

Maddy (age 14)
Some of my top tips for counting carbs with new foods is to break down recipes and count the carbs in the individual ingredients and then calculating the total carbs for each serving of the food and to also stick with meals with low carbs and a lot of flavor.

McKenna (age 16)
Carb counting new food? Well if it’s pure sugar, like candy or soda, cut the carbs in half. You may be a little high after but you just have to mess with it, experiment a little. But if it’s with a pasta sort of food count the full amount of carbs and add it to whatever other carbs you’re eating or drinking.

Christina (age 15)
When I was first diagnosed, I would carb count new foods by searching for it by name in the app MyFitnessPal’s food registry. This helped me to know what a pretty accurate carb amount would be for any food. Now, I tend to estimate, on the safe side, based on my BG, activity, and similar foods I know the carb count for.

TEEN TOPIC #59: What could your parents have done differently with diabetes care that would have made things better?

Annelies (age 15)
I don’t really think there is anything they could’ve done differently that would’ve made things better. I think that they’ve done a pretty great job so far when it comes to supporting and helping me.


Andrew (age 15)
My parents could’ve given me more freedom at a younger age. The sooner you start to become independent, the more independent you will be when you become an adult. If my parents had given me more freedom at a younger age that would’ve made things better.

Ashley B. (age 16)
I think that my parents are doing very well taking care of me. I also think that I’m the slacker and it worries my parents. They still show me what to do and remind me of things to do when I’m sick or changing basal rates, so that’s encouraging.

Ashley C. (age 14)
She didn’t freak out in the beginning I guess.

Cameron (age 17)
Trusting me more with being able to handle myself (such as sleepovers and going places far away and such).

Claire (age 18)
Nothing. My parents help out, just enough and they help me get the supplies I need to stay alive.

Erin (age 17)
I don’t have any examples or things that my parents could have done better.

Ian (age 14)
I can’t say. Things are going quite well right now.

Jessica (age 20)
I don’t think that there is one specific thing that comes to mind with regards to my parents having to do something differently when it comes to my diabetes management and care. Their motto “Child first, Diabetic second” has been one of the greatest ideals and choices that could have made from day one. They have never let diabetes stop me, keep me from my goals, or told me ‘No’ because I am a diabetic. We have always worked as a team to find ways and make plans that have my best interest at heart and mind, as well as making sure they are at ease and as worry free as possible. I am 20 years old and there isn’t a single time that I can recall my parents making a decision that have made my life more difficult living with this disease. I feel that I am successful and where I am in life today because of their ideals and support in my T1D management and care.

Jordan (age 18)
My parents could have gotten me the red pump case instead of the blue pump case.
But seriously, I wish they hadn’t been so scared the first few years. I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things that were totally do-able, if they had just been more confident. The last 8 years have been a lot better, and now I am going off to college.

Julia (age 15)
I don’t think my parents could’ve done anything differently with diabetes care. They’re both super attentive to what I need and they always have been.

Laura (age 17)
I was way too sheltered, and they also used diabetes as an excuse, I feel like. I remember one year my mom didn’t get a birthday cake and she said the reasoning was because I’m a diabetic. (Which is ridiculous because I’d had cake before.) Diabetes is a terrible disease, but I feel like it’s even harder to manage with someone constantly on your back, and definitely should not be used as an excuse to treat someone differently.

Lexi (age 16)
I’m not sure. But most people know diabetes is a hard thing to learn and comprehend, especially to non-diabetics.

Maggie (age 16)
My parents are great when it comes to diabetes care I don’t think that they really could have done anything differently. I believe I know my limits with my care and that I can be independent and they are the reason I feel that way. I think they did a pretty good job with me.

Skylyn (age 16)
I’m not really sure what could have been done differently. Everything seems to have worked and is working so I don’t know what would have happened if it had been done differently.

Vanessa (age 16)
I don’t think there’s anything they could have done differently, I honestly think my parents are the best at their diabetic-parent jobs.

Haley (age 14)
I can’t think of anything they could’ve done differently to make my care better.

Maddy (age 14)
My parents could have been more determined to find information about the device types and brands and been more encouraging with my decision for a cgm and a pump. My parents were nervous about getting the devices for me and I had to heavily convince them into letting me get the devices.

McKenna (age 16)
My parents, in the beginning, could’ve been less protective or worried when I went to friends’ houses or when I played sports.

Christina (age 15)
Sometimes I wish that my parents would have been a bit more involved in my diabetes care from the beginning. That way my mom could help me test my BG when I needed her to or help more with a site change.