Parents: Look at it From Your Child’s Point of View
Me: How often does that happen?
Teenager: 2-3 times a day.
Now I will be the first one to admit that we did not have the luxury of a CGM sending our child’s glucose numbers to our phone nonstop when Kaitlyn was diagnosed year’s ago. What happened in the discussion I was presently engaged was that the young lady’s phone buzzed and it was her mother asking her what she was doing about her perceived low, her dad called 30 seconds later. Both parents called and I was informed it occurs 2-3 times daily, minimum.
How low are you?
I’m not really…….70.
Did you all ever set some sort of plan about this?
No, once I go below 80 my phone starts to ring.
Uhhhhhhmmmm……..no, I said to myself.
Unless, at some point, you want to deal with an explosion and have an absolute revolt on your hands as the pressure cooker inside your child’s head continues to heat up every time you call them, you might want to reconsider a few things.
I get it. Concern. Worry. Fear. But how would you feel if you were contacted constantly as big brother watching becomes mom and dad asking (or texting), ‘what’s your number, what are you doing about it?’ You would not like it and I can most assuredly let you know, your kids don’t like it one bit. One mom told me once that her child found it reassuring that she could monitor her and call her constantly. That scenario just does not add up in my head and ring true to me.
When it comes to these type scenarios, my dear late friend Dr. Richard Rubin’s voice is heard loud and clear.
With today’s incredible management tools, a conversation needs to occur between you and your child. Discuss that you are their back-up. Discuss the parameters when you will call (not so sure 70 is the number to discuss as in the scenario mentioned above) them to check that they are okay. Use this modern technology to enlist a system where one parent calls, one parent contacts the other parent when they know all is back to normal. Having the nurse, one parent, another parent all serving as drones and hovering over a child is too much.
When my oldest child (without diabetes) received his license, I made it very clear. Here is how this works; if you tell me you will be home at 11 and your are not, I begin to think something horrendous happened to you. I can’t help it, I’m a parent. The freedom of a car is all yours but help me and call me and tell me when you’ll be late. Do that and I’ll be fine. Should you not call and you come in late, there will be a discussion. But he now knew the parameters, the boundaries were set. And it worked.
It’s no different with your child and diabetes. If they want the independence to deal with this disease on their own, you WANT to help…..but all must work together. I do not want to tell you what those boundaries are, you all set them. It will not be perfect, there will be some adjustments; but if you’re following every move your child is making and you let them know you know every step they are making—–how do they learn? A recipe for that revolt already mentioned.
They will get older, they will go to college, they will move away. They will have to figure this all out on their own. Going from being a constant drone to doing nothing is no good either. Yet, I constantly hear from parents who tell me that once their kids left for school it was so hard to communicate with them. That’s the key. If you are “all over them now” you are not communicating; you are dictating. THAT’s not healthy for you or them.
When it comes to all of these great management tools, communicate, set parameters, and balance are also tools to add into their diabetes management toolbox. It’s their disease, help THEM own it. Trust me, you will all be better in the long run.
I am a diabetes dad.
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