TEEN TOPICS – WEEK 70: Based on your own T1 experience, what advice would you give to parents of young children with T1?

Annelies (age 15)
Kid first. My parents always said that don’t hold your kid back because of their diabetes, just accommodate to the situation. You shouldn’t have to give up your life or give up fun.
Andrew (age 15)
I would advise parents of young children with T1 to give their child as much freedom and responsibility for their own diabetes care as possible because it will really help your child in the teenage years and later on in life if they’ve been taught this responsibility at a young age.

Ashley C. (age 16)
I would tell them diabetes isn’t as scary as it seems. It has many ups and downs but it’s all worth it. This disease isn’t all the same – each child’s T1D is different.

Cameron (age 18)
To not overreact because things happen sometimes that we can’t control. We all have days where it’s just a bad day no matter what we do.


Caroline (age 15)
Don’t restrict the child’s food. My parents never restricted what I could & could not eat, so I don’t have a problem with food now, whereas some parents have restricted their children’s food because of their Type 1 and now they have an issue with food. If your young one with Type 1 wants to eat something, let them eat it. Just bolus for it and move on. It’s not a huge deal. I’m not saying that they should have a hugely sugary diet, everything in moderation, but if you would say “yes” to your other kids about that food or if you would’ve told your Type 1 “yes” before diabetes, let them have it.
Christina (age 15)
Since I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 13, I don’t really know much about living with it as a young child. However, as general advice for parents of little kids with T1, I would say that they should not be worried that their kids will be limited because of their diabetes. Diabetes can’t stop you from doing the things you love; you just have to account for it.

Claire (age 18)
Let the kids have their childhood while they can. In my experience, I had to grow up a lot faster than all the other kids, and while this was both a good and a bad thing, I definitely wish that I would’ve been able to spend more time as a kid, rather than having to worry about myself. On the other hand, it is important that you don’t do everything for your T1D child, as eventually they won’t have you there 24/7 to help them. That’s why it’s important that you properly prepare them to be independent, both as human beings and as diabetics.

Haley (age 14)
Don’t give them a hard time if they make a mistake like forgetting a bolus or bg check. Living with T1 is difficult enough without having to be lectured or punished for making a mistake.

Ian (age 15)
Don’t freak out. Stuff happens, and you are not always at fault. Not everything can be explained, and ofttimes, attempting to do so will just waste precious time and energy. Additionally, you MUST NOT let your or your child’s life revolve around the disease. Bring up the topic only when necessary, and do not make them do anything they are uncomfortable with unless they must do so or die.  Remember, they are not “diabetic”, they simply have Type one diabetes.

Jordan (age 18)
My advice to parents of young diabetics is to let them do as much as they can themselves, because eventually they’ll have to learn. If you let them do it at a younger age, it will instill good habits into them.

Julia (age 15)
Some advice I would give would be not to be afraid to let your kids do something they want to just because of diabetes. Like sports, hobbies, etc..

Laura (age 17)
Be as understanding as possible and don’t pry. Being a young type one diabetic is sort of awkward and uncomfortable and even embarrassing. (At least for me it was.) Give your kid some to adjust and become more comfortable with diabetes.


Lexi (age 16)
Make sure they always have food and make sure they have a drink with them. Always make sure they check their sugar.


Maddy (age 15)
I would say, it is very important to be involved with the process of dosing, testing blood sugar, calculating carbs, but also teach them how to do it also. Once the kids get a hang of it, they will feel more independent and confident that they can manage their diabetes.

Maggie (age 16)
The advice I would give is to not treat your child like something is wrong with them. Teach them how to manage it and to live a normal life with t1d. Also, let your child go to diabetes summer camps. Making new friends allows them to have the feeling that they are not alone.

 

McKenna (age 16)
The advice I would give is do NOT take away sweets from your children just because they were diagnosed and do NOT take away “high” carb foods because you can give extra insulin for it, that’s what insulin is for. It’s used so your child can still be a child and enjoy the candy and pizza and cupcakes.

Skylyn (age 16)
I think one major tip for parents would be to teach your child how to count carbs very well; to the point where they just know how many carbs in foods without looking at the package. Knowing your basic math is also very important. It just makes it so much easier especially if you’re eating somewhere you haven’t been before. Just naturally knowing roughly how many carbs is in each thing makes it easy to get your total amount.

Vanessa (age 16)
Everything will be okay, and the more you learn how to deal with it and the child understands what they have, it becomes your new normal.

 

 

 

 

TEEN TOPIC # 72:  How do you handle dates or dating? Do you tell your date or boy/girlfriend about your diabetes?  Do your dates/significant others help you with your diabetes at all?

 

Annelies (age 15)
I think it’s important that your date/partner is informed that you have diabetes, as should anyone else that’s important to you. Just be open and honest about it, and answer any questions if there are any.

Andrew (age 15)
When handling dating with diabetes I don’t take anything too seriously. I do tell whoever I’m dating that I am a diabetic, but I also tell them being diabetic is not that big of a deal and I can handle being one. I find that it’s important to reassure them that you’re ok despite having diabetes. When it comes to my date helping me with my diabetes, it’s usually reminding me to bolus or test if I’m eating or going to the movies.

Ashley C. (age 16)
If I’m dating someone I tell them about my diabetes because, they tend to be helpful with it. I’ll tell them what I might look like when I’m low or high and sometimes they’ll realize it before I realize it so it’s very helpful.

Cameron (age 18)
I’ve had a girlfriend for almost a year and a half and she had already known about my diabetes before we started dating. She doesn’t really help me with it at all. The only time she will help is grabbing me something to eat or drink when I’m low. Also, she will drive for me if we are out and about if my blood sugar happens to go low.

Caroline (age 15)
I don’t date.

Christina (age 15)
I’ve never had a boyfriend, so I can’t really answer this question. I do hope that when I do go on a date I will be open about my diabetes because I have gotten a lot more comfortable about not hiding my condition from others (like classmates and such).

Claire (age 18)
I handle dating and things like that like I would with any other normal person who’s curious about my disease. I tell them I have T1D, and then if they have questions, which they usually do, I answer with detailed responses so they don’t get confused. Typically my SO helps as much as they can, but in the end it’s my disease and my problem, and I try not to involve them too much, especially if they’re afraid of needles, which a lot of them tend to be.

Erin (age 17)
I do not have a significant other or how teens say S/o currently. Going off my personality, I’m upfront on my diabetes after I start to get to know someone so if I was dating I would tell them on the 2nd date or 3rd. Handling diabetes on the date would depend what we are doing. As far as a significant other helping with my diabetes, and taking in my personality of being on top of my disease, unless I asked/needed the help I would just appreciate them being a support and understanding the ups/downs that diabetes can present sometime.

Haley (age 14)
I’m not “dating” right now, but I would let guys I’m talking to know about my diabetes at some point and I would hope they would want to do whatever they could to help me out if I needed something. Otherwise, I definitely wouldn’t date them!

Jordan (age 18)
My girlfriend is really good about helping me with my diabetes if I need help, like carrying my tester or glucose in her purse, and driving if I feel low, but other than that, diabetes shouldn’t be something that gets in the way of dates.  If you need to test just tell them what is going on and you’re all set.

Julia (age 15)
I always make sure my date or boyfriend knows about my diabetes. I just do the same things I would always do dealing with diabetes. And yes, they often help or try to do everything they can to help me.

Laura (age 17)
My boyfriend is very supportive of me, and tries his best to help me in any way when it comes to handling my diabetes. Relationships prior to this I would keep my diabetes sort of a secret, or on the down-low. Now I try to teach my significant other as much as possible, including how to make pod changes, give shots, and what to do in case of an emergency.

Maggie (age 16)
I have not dated anyone yet but all my friends know about my diabetes and how to handle it when I go out with them. When I am in a relationship I do plan on telling my boyfriend and teaching him how to take care of me.

Skylyn (age 16)
I have been dating my boyfriend for over 6 months and since the beginning, he has helped me with my diabetes and really just been there for me with it. He’ll ask if I have bolused for my food after dinner. He also asks if I’m feeling alright, not low at all. We were friends before we started dating so he has known about my diabetes pretty much the whole time he’s known me. As far as “handling” my diabetes, everything’s fine; like I’m not afraid to test in front of him or anything.

 

 

 

TEEN TOPICS – WEEK #68 – What is your most bolus-worthy Thanksgiving food? Which Thanksgiving food is not worth the bolus?

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)
My most bolus worthy Thanksgiving foods are probably mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Those are my favorite foods at Thanksgiving dinner. There’s not really a dish that isn’t worth the bolus, Thanksgiving is the one day a year that anybody, not just diabetics, can eat anything and everything that they want.


Andrew (age 15)
My most “bolus-worthy” Thanksgiving food is most definitely the cranberry sauce. I put the cranberry sauce on everything that I eat and is the biggest part of my Thanksgiving meal. The least “bolus worthy” Thanksgiving food I eat would have to be the turkey or the ham. Although I eat a lot of both, the low amount of carbs in both make them the least “bolus worthy” Thanksgiving food for me.

Ashley C. (age 16)
My most bolus worthy food is probably Mac and cheese. Ham is not bolus worthy and that’s all I eat at Thanksgiving.


Cameron (age 18)
The most bolus-worthy thanksgiving foods are mac & cheese and stuffing. The food that’s not worth the bolus is sweet potatoes.

Caroline (age 15)
The most bolus worthy are probably dressing, and  macaroni & cheese. My mom & grandma make REALLY good dressing and macaroni & cheese, so they are both really worth the bolus.

The least worthy are probably rolls or bread. They are really carb-heavy, but I can have those any time of the year, so I would choose to substitute a typical Thanksgiving-only food item that I can’t have year-round.


Christina (age 15)
I think that cranberry sauce is the Thanksgiving food least worth the bolus. The two Thanksgiving foods I think are the most bolus-worthy are mashed potatoes and any pumpkin dessert because these two things are some of my favorite foods.

Claire (age 18)
My most bolus worthy Thanksgiving food has to be stuffing, especially my mom’s stuffing – it’s to die for. However, my least bolus worthy Thanksgiving food has to be cranberries. While I like them they are never as good as my mother’s homemade stuffing recipe.

Erin (age 17)
Most worthy is stuffing, pie, or dinner rolls.  Least worthy: any casserole or cranberries

Haley (age 14)
My Grandmother’s dressing would be worth any amount of bolus! The pies aren’t really worth it to me, though.

Ian (age 15)
Stuffing, definitely, is the most worthy of a bolus. Sweet tea or any other beverage with carbs, for that matter, is not worth it.

Jordan (age 18)
My most bolus worthy food on Thanksgiving is a tough choice.  It is a tie between gravy and the sweet potato pies.  Gravy doesn’t have many carbs alone usually, but I tend to eat a lot of gravy on Thanksgiving.  The cranberry sauce is not worth the bolus at all, I mean it’s just cranberries, it is nothing special.

Julia (age 15)
I don’t like Thanksgiving food so all I have is mac n cheese

Laura (age 17)
Most bolus-worthy is a tie between my mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese or chocolate pecan pie. Not bolus-worthy would be mashed potatoes.

Lexi (age 16)
The mashed potatoes or any starchy things are definitely worth the bolus.

Maddy (age 15)
My most bolus-worthy food is either pies or cinnamon apples. Foods at the Thanksgiving table that aren’t worth the bolus are stuffing, mashed potatoes, and also rolls.

Maggie (age 16)
The most bolus worthy is probably mashed potatoes. The turkey really isn’t worth the bolus.

McKenna (age 16)
Dessert is always the most bolus-worthy Thanksgiving food or the stuffing! And the one dish that is not worth it would probably be yams, to me they taste funky.

Skylyn (age 16)
The most bolus worthy food at Thanksgiving for me would be the sparkling grape juice. I love it! It’s so good but has a lot of carbs, but it’s totally worth it. The least bolus worthy food would honestly probably be the turkey. I’m not a huge fan of it and it doesn’t have much for carbs.

Vanessa (age 16)
Stuffing would be the most bolus worthy. Which Thanksgiving food is not worth the bolus? None.  It’s all worth it!

 

 

 

 

Teen Topic #14: When did your parents start to give you more responsibility in the day to day maintenance of your T1D? Are there any ways you wish it had been handled differently?

Skylyn (age15)
Since I was diagnosed in 2008 at age 8, maintenance has pretty much been the same. For meals, I’ll test my BG and my parent will let me know how many carbs it is and then I will put it into my pump. The only thing that has really changed is testing and bolusing at school. When I was first diagnosed, a nurse always had to be there; I wasn’t allowed to do anything if they weren’t. Now, I go to the office and do everything myself; the nurse is almost never there.

Ashley C (age 14)
Pretty much after I went to camp because I saw other people doing the same thing, and I wanted to do it myself like them.

Philip (age 16)
I had most of my responsibilities as a T1D coming out of the hospital at age 12. Being a student/athlete, I had to be able to do everything on my own right from the get-go.

Claire (age 16)
My parents began giving me more responsibility with my diabetes when I started to ask for more independence, so roughly 5th grade. I don’t really wish it had been handled any other way, because I appreciate how they understood my want for more control of my own life. Now, every now and then when I’m stressed and need help, they’re always there by my side to give me the support I need.

Mercedes (age 16)
It was more of a when I wanted to start doing more things myself. I was diagnosed when I was 6, so I didn’t start of picking my own finger. So when I started to be able to pick my own finger I started to have more responsibility.

Garrett (age 16)
After one year- once I got my pump- about age 10.  It was my new normal and there was nothing I could do to change it. I liked being able to eat more so I learned to count my carbs better and calculate the insulin I needed.

Laura (age 16)
My mom took a while in letting me handle my own health (after being diagnosed at 11), and sometimes still tries to take over filling my pods and stuff. I wish she would have set me free sooner. I understand her wanting to look out for me and make sure that I do it right, but one day I’m not going to be around here anymore, and she’s not going to be able to baby me forever. I have to learn how to handle this stuff on my own, and the sooner the better.

Cole (age 15)
Right from the start at age 11, I had a lot of freedom, however it wasn’t until about a year after my diagnosis that I was mostly independent. I really like how we handled it because my mom didn’t put too much pressure on me immediately, but she did let me do my own thing and learn how to handle this myself which is important once I go off to college and no longer have her there to take care of me.

Cameron (age 16)
They didn’t really just wake up one morning and say “okay you’re gonna have more responsibility now”. It progressed over time, and they didn’t force me to handle it. I brought that on myself. They always tell me that if I feel it’s starting to get to be too much they can take some of the responsibility off my shoulders. 

Jessica (age 19)
My parents always had the philosophy of giving me the freedom to learn and take care of myself as I wanted, while keeping a watchful eye. Nearly a year after I was diagnosed (at age 5) I wanted to start checking my blood sugar on my own and begin to gain more responsibilities; however, I was reluctant to get an insulin pump for a long time. I think it is important for parents to support their T1Ds and ensure that they are learning the proper way to take care of themselves. However, this is a personal thing that should not be forced on a T1D. It takes time to accept change and be mature enough to take on the responsibility. I think my parents supporting me and watching over me was the best possible way for me to become independent and manage my diabetes myself.

Allie (age 13)
My parents started to give me more responsibility around the time I got an insulin pump, which was around age 7, about two years after I got diagnosed. It was easier to bolus for things with the pump so my parents decided it was time for me to learn to count carbs and everything else. It took me a while to be able to do site changes on my own, though. I don’t wish it had been handled differently because I learned the skills gradually over time from my parents so they were easier to do in the future.

Ian (age 13)
Well, I got more Independence at about the 8th month after diagnosis at age 11. I do, however, wish that some things were handled differently. I wish that If I forgot something at home, or forgot to do something, (for the first or second time, however) I would not have been punished. I also wish that there wouldn’t have been such fear that something would go wrong. I get it, but it is my own life, you would think that I’d take care of it.

Luke (age 15)
My freshman year is when I started being more independent.  I can go off campus for an hour so it’s the first year I don’t take my own lunch to school.  I think things have worked out pretty good.  I still need some help, but I am doing a lot more on my own.  I think waiting until I was this age has helped since I am older and have learned some things from working with my mom.

Cody (age 14)
I think my parents gave me more responsibility in my day to day maintenance in my type 1 diabetes when I started middle school.

Ashley B (age 15)
My parents gave me more freedom with my diabetes care when I started doing everything before they would ask me to. “Did you change your site?” Yes, I did it this morning. I also changed my insulin, and the battery. Basically, just do everything before your parents nag you about it, and do it well.

Jayden (age 16)
When I was 9 because I was a gymnast and was in the gym 15 hours a week and my mother couldn’t be with me all the time.

Joseph (age 15)
I’ve always had full responsibility with my T1D. I was 14 when I was diagnosed.  It didn’t take much; once they saw I could handle myself at home and in school they stopping worrying about it.

Page (age 17)
My parents probably gave me more leniency when I was around 10 because of a the teacher I had. My parents would still write little notes on how many carbs I would have when I would go places and then I would take my own shots and check my blood sugar.

Teen Topic #22:  Do you advocate for diabetes, like do walks, give speeches, or other advocacy?  If so, why do you feel it is important to do so?

Skylyn (age 15)
Yes. I do the JDRF walk at Mall Of America every year. It is important because the money raised all goes to research.  Not only that, but the walk is also very fun!!!

Mercedes (age 16)
I do advocate all the time, like mud runs, charity work, etc… I think it’s important because people need to know the truth about type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Lots of people out there don’t know the difference between type 1 and type 2 and doing these things help people to learn. It also lets them now that we are out there, that we do exist as a charity, and as a wonderful group of people.

Claire (age 16)
I have yet to do a diabetes walk, but very often I write poems and essays about what I have to deal with. It’s important to bring attention to diabetes, because it’s important to educate those who don’t know what it is.

Ian (age 13)
I haven’t been given the opportunity to do so yet, but if I hear a wrong fact, I correct it. If people ask me about it, I tell them. And If I hear an offensive joke, I shame those who made it. I would like to advocate very much though.

Jessica (age 19)
Of course! I volunteer and walk every year at the Walk to Cure Diabetes. I have also given 4 speeches at various events (including the Dream Gala and Walk Kick-off), been interviewed by Dr. Max Gomez with CBS, and been in a video for the Bag of Hope; all with JDRF. I also am a mentor to newly diagnosed families and babysit several kids with T1D, as well. Being an advocate is something I adore and empowers me every day.

Ashley C. (age 14)
We participate in the local JDRF walk to raise money and promote awareness.

Jordan (age 17)
I do because it helps raise awareness, and also raise money for JDRF, which helps to better my life.  I have done the JDRF walk, and I mentor a family with a young diabetic son and babysit for them.  I also started the Diabetes Awareness Club at my high school.  We do the JDRF walk, and held a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser to benefit JDRF.

Cameron (age 16)
I usually don’t do that, but when I do, I feel it’s important so that people can understand how serious it is and that diabetes is different from just being “overweight” (most people have type 1 and type 2 confused).

Luke (age 15)
I have participated in some local fundraisers for diabetes because I feel people don’t understand what we go through.  I also want to raise money so a cure can be discovered.  I know my mom knew what the symptoms were which helped me get diagnosed before something really bad happened.  Education is important.

Philip (age 16)
No, I do not.

Ashley B. (age 15)
I have done a 5k for diabetes awareness.  The only other time I advocate for diabetes is when a waiter at a restaurant gives me regular coke instead of diet. They’re usually pretty nice about it, but now and then there’s that one who thinks, “They don’t need diet, they’re skinny,” and don’t think of it as a big deal when they mess up the order.

Cole (age 15)
I do walks, go to camp, go to support groups, and babysit for diabetic kids. It’s important to do these because it sets an example. People will always be ignorant of what diabetes, especially type 1, really entails, but by being an older kid that younger kids can look up to, you can show them that there is a future for them, and it could be a pretty good one. I prefer advocating by being a role model and spending time with younger kids. They’re the future of this disease and the ones we should focus on showing it isn’t the end.

Garrett (age 16)
Yes. I walk every year with a group and raise money for research. I also try to help and encourage others that I know are diabetic too. It’s important to have people around that really understand what you’re going through.

Cody (age 14)
I have never done anything.

Josh (age 18)
I do the Diabetes walks. I love to talk with families of newly diagnosed children, and speaking to service clubs to get their support in funding diabetes research.

Zyler (age 15)
I do I feel it’s important because a lot of people have no idea how to manage it or even what it is, so it’s good to meet others with diabetes and show more people what it is.

Laura  (age 16)
I do not. I’m sure it is important though, to raise awareness. Also it could be motivational to other T1D people.

Teen Topic #9:   Have you ever been to Diabetes camp?   If you could name one good thing you came away with from camp, what would it be?

Philip (age 16)
Being around other diabetics encouraged me because I knew I wasn’t alone.

Mercedes (age 15)
I have been to diabetes camps before. I have been to 2 different ones. The one that I go to here where I live left me with amazing friends that live in my area. I also learned about the pump that I currently have.  I love my pump and am glad they were there. I have also been to the Orlando camp which is a great camp because you get to meet so many people from around the world with diabetes, and meet famous people as well. They are both great.

Ashley C (age 14)

Yes, I’ve been to CAMP KUDZU!!!! I went to camp within the year of getting diagnosed, which was a BIG help. I came home that week and gave my first injection by myself and was already talking about getting the pump.

Page (age 17)
Yes, I have been to camp and it is by far one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The best outcome for me would be getting to know other diabetic kids and becoming friends outside of camp to rely on each other for help, and to have support from kids my own age.

Jessica (age 19)
Yes I have. I attended Clara Barton Camp, which is for girls with T1D, for 8 years. It is in MA and I always attended the 14 day session. I think one good thing I came away from camp with was a community. Although I don’t keep in touch with many of the girls from camp, it opened my eyes to how many people were dealing with exactly the same situation I was. Every year I went back and I lived with many of the same girls. We were able to catch up, talk about different aspects of diabetes, and of course, guys. It was also amazing to see not only the same campers, but all the staff who had T1D, as well as show the new campers that they aren’t alone. I think knowing that others are in similar situations, or have been in the past, is an important part of successfully dealing and managing this disease.

Laura (age 16)
There’s not much I can say about this because I’ve never been to a Diabetes camp. If I had the opportunity though, I feel like the thing I would bring home with me is feeling less alone. Being a type one diabetic, even though I know for a fact there’s many other people who are also type one diabetics, I still often feel alone in the world.

Zyler (age 15)
I have been to camp 3 times. The best thing I got from camp would be the friends that I made.

Ian (age 13)
Yes, I have been to diabetes camp, and I hated it. It was horrible. The food wasn’t good, nor was the cabin experience. I couldn’t bring anything good from camp, but Friends For Life (the CWD Conference held annually in July) and things like that I enjoy. I prefer to have a private room to escape to and not have to do stuff if I really don’t want to.

Luke (age 15)
The best thing about going to camp is meeting people that share the “day to day” struggles of  living with diabetes. We get to share stories with each other about our journey living with  diabetes.  You can talk open with them and you know they will understand what you are going through.

Nicole (age 14)
Yes. I made some amazing friends. It’s so different to have kids that know what you deal with on a daily basis.

Ashley B. (age 15)
I’ve been to Camp Sweeney for diabetics (ages 6-18) who would like to meet other diabetics, and do all the typical things you would do at a normal summer camp. I’ve been going to that camp for roughly 7 years now, and I love every bit of it.

Skylyn (age 15)
I have been to a diabetes camp before and it is a good experience. I went 2 years ago and met some amazing people, lifetime friends. One good thing about going to a diabetes camp is meeting so many people that go through the same thing you are going through. The best feeling  is knowing that you are not alone.

Allie (age 13)
I have gone to diabetes camp. One good thing I have taken away from it is how super accepting everyone is there. It is super easy to make friends and there are so many fun things to do there. It’s a really great experience over all.

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.

 

Welcome to PBN’s Type 1 Teen Topics!

Introducing TEEN TOPIC TUESDAY, where our Teen Advisory Panel of Teens With Diabetes (TWD), ages 13-19, will address your questions and concerns about Type 1 Diabetes from the viewpoint of a teenager. Each week our TWD Panel will focus on one topic, generated by them or by you, our readers. Some of the upcoming topics will include Nightscout, Trusting your Teen, and Athletics.  If you have a question or a topic to pose to our teens, please email it to us at ProjectBlueNovember@gmail.com.