Have you just found out that one of your children has diabetes? The news can come as shock for any parent but it takes on an almost surreal nature when it is one of your kids. After all, you’ve done everything right but they still ended up diabetic.
Beyond blaming yourself there is also the fear of how to help your child manage a condition that that will need to deal with for the rest of their lives. Maybe is it worries about how to properly use Ketone test strips or maybe it is how to better manage your family’s eating habits – it can all seem a bit overwhelming. With that in mind, here are some tips on what to do when your kids have diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
For starters, let’s look at what is diabetes and how living with it can impact one’s life. The condition known as diabetes happens when the pancreas cannot manufacture adequate levels of insulin needed to transform sugars into energy. This can be a problem as sugars build up in the system with nowhere to go.
In order to manage this condition, one will need to monitor their blood sugar level and well as getting doses of insulin either by shot or through a pump. While this can be a tedious process – especially when a child is involved – it is needed to make sure the body can balance itself out.
One important thing to know is that there is no ‘cure’ for diabetes as it is not a disease, rather it is a condition. Some researchers have explored the link between diet and exercise and diabetes, but even then, the research groups have been relatively small and might not apply to the type of diabetes your child has.
As such, a child with Type 1 Diabetes will probably need to get used to being constantly poked and prodded. For parents, this means learning you to alleviate a child’s fear of needles and blood. Sure, it is on a pin-prick but it can still be hard for a young child to cope with this. Some tips include using ice or a numbing cream on the skin, sight or sound diversions, or even potential rewards as motivations.
It’s Normal to Worry
As a parent with a diabetic child, it is normal to have some worries. These can include blaming yourself or looking at environmental factors. While this is natural, you don’t want to dwell on this for too long as the reality is that there was probably nothing you could do – especially when the child has Type 1 diabetes.
Instead, you want to focus your energy on learning on diabetes. This can include learning about the impacts of the condition, what diet and lifestyle hacks can help to improve your child’s outlook, and importantly what treatments are most effective and why.
As you go through your learning journey, one thing that is bound to come up is the concept of healthy living. This can extend to making over the diet of your entire family, including becoming more discerning about what to eat when you eat out, and finally looking at exercise – especially what can be done as a family.
While this might be a welcome step – after all, most parents probably want to increase their fitness levels. However, it can be a bit stressful for other children who might not understand why they can’t have ice cream all the time. As such, you’ll want to look at ways to make healthy living fun for everyone. This can include adding in some rewards along the way.
Living with diabetes can be a lot, even when you are an adult. But when it comes to having a diabetic child, you will want to increase the size of your support network. It could be as simple as finding other parents in your area going through the same thing or to get online to see what is out there for parents.
This could include reaching to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, now known as the JDRF, and the American Diabetes Association. Both organizations offer a bevy of support tools for the parents of diabetic children. In addition, there is no shortage of books on the subject, though you might want to talk to other parents or check out the reading lists offered by national organizations as you start your journey.
Having a child with diabetes might seem overwhelming at first but it is not the end of the world. Instead, the keys are to increase your understanding about the condition, focus on healthy living, and increasing your support network.