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Thread: how to hold a teenager accountable

  1. Default how to hold a teenager accountable

    I realize I've let my daughter have too much freedom and not enough accountability. Now in high school, she forgets to test, forgets almost everything, doesn't eat well, doesn't seem to remember what diabetes is all about. I'm a tired single mom. I don't think she needs me 24/7, but I need to know what works to get her to test regularly, understand what is important and why, and take care of herself. Is calling every two hours or less reasonable? Is not letting her sleepover at friends reasonable?
    thanks.

  2. #2

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    This is a tough one. Unfortunately teens will be teens, with or without d, and are sometimes very unpredictable. The behaviours your daughter is displaying are very normal. Who wants to have diabetes and worry about testing, eating, injecting when there are so many more exciting and wonderful things to be doing with our friends?

    First I will comment on the no sleepovers thing, I try really hard not to use threats or withhold privileges regarding diabetes, as I have 3 other children and they don't have the same pressures, but it's a personal choice for everyone to make, and I can't say whether for you and your family it is a good or bad, right or wrong thing. Just for us personally we choose not to.

    Secondly the calling every 2 hours. If you call her is she going to listen? Is she going to care for herself any better? or just take the calls to and forget them the second she hangs up. Or will the calls possibly cause more angst and a deeper and more stubborn rebellion? Will she begin leaving her phone at home to avoid the calls and possibly putting herself in more danger with being uncontactable? Or will she do as you'd hope, answer the call and check her bsl and do whatever needs doing to keep on track? Lots of things to consider.

    You need to think about what sorts of things will actually work in a positive way and not backfire and make things worse. Have you talked to her d team about her behaviour? Maybe they would have some suggestions for you, and they could also talk to her about it.

    If it were me, I'd start with obtaining advice from her d team, and enlisting their help. I would also spend some time sitting with her and talking to her about how she's feeling, why she forgets etc. And try to work out a solution that suits you both. Talk to her about how much you love her, and that you worry about the possible ramifications on her health and life if these behaviours get out of hand. I'm not sure how old she is, and her age will play a big part in how you go about this. The best thing is to try not to be judgemental about it, try to put yourself in her shoes, and remember your (hopefully) carefree teen years. Talk to her truthfully about your fears whilst trying not to put any added pressure on her.

    Maybe you could get her to do a pro's and con's list. The pro's and con's of ignoring her diabetes right now, in the short term and in the long term. Encourage her to add things that you know about that she may have missed and use this as an opportunity to talk to her about what is happening in her life and help her begin to move through some of those teenage hurdles.

    Many teens go through this phase, and they generally come out the other end fairly unscathed, although I realise that isn't going to make you feel better now, it is something to think about while you're talking to her about this.
    Good luck
    Mum of Taylor 8 dxd @ 3

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    9

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    Being a teen myself living with diabetes I know it can be hard on somethings such as testing at school and what not but it is definetly important to eat right and check as needed. I know I used to stay at friends houses on the weekends so I could eat junk food like a normal teen. I knew it wasn't right but I also thought it wasn't fair either. I soon learned that I would rather eat healthier and take care of myself than damage any part of my body. My mom being a nurse and knowing a lot about diabetes she pretty much just scared to death. Basically she just told me if you don't check your sugar and eat the way you are supposed to you could go into a diabetic coma. I evintually caught hold of this and realized that was what is important. I don't know if it will help but maybe talking to your daughter could. Hope all goes well.


    ~*~*Whitney*~*~

    Age 17 Type I Diabetes

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,056

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    Hi,

    I'm new to diabetes but not to teenagers (on my third)-- it's a challenge, all right! I understand lots of teens go through a rough period in their diabetes management -- we have a neighbour down the street, 14, who's been diabetic since he was two and is now lying to his mom about his testing etc.

    The tricky balance is, on the one hand teens need us to recognize it's their disease, not ours, and let them own it. On the other hand it's such a big load and they get damn sick of the responsibility. Our team suggested that parents often tend to hand over responsibility too soon, when there's a middle step that involves supporting but not directing. They say, for example, that even senior high school students sometimes like their parents to just do the shots for them or remind them to test during exam week, because it feels like one stress too many. I can't really picture it myself yet -- our soon-to-be 14-year-old has only been diagnosed since September and although he has a really good grip on things I'm still checking his meter every day. I'm not sure how old your daughter is, and that does make a really big difference -- a 14-year-old still needs a fair bit of guidance, but a 17-year-old is almost ready to live on her own...

    I'm thinking two things might help -- one is to talk to your daughter about your concern for her health, etc., and offer to do whatever she thinks would make it easier for her to take good care of herself. So you're the coach/helper, rather than the boss or cop. Would you like me to record your numbers every day, or restock your supplies, so you have one less thing to worry about? She might not be open to that now, but maybe at some point. Also, encourage her to talk to her team about aspects she's finding hard. But the bottom line is she's in charge and you can't force a teen to do something when you ain't there!

    On the other hand, consequences for certain "absolutely not" behaviours may be in order. I don't think it's fair to deny her sleepovers because she didn't test or whatever at school. But it's fair to explain that for you to be comfortable with her sleeping over, when there are extra snacks and late nights and all kinds of variables, you have to know she's going to be on top of things and not soar way high without knowing it or bottom out in the middle of the night. Then check her meter when she gets home -- and if she hasn't checked properly, THEN you might have good reason to forbid the next sleepover. As for calling in -- personally, I would have the same calling in rules as for a non-diabetic kid. As in, phone if you're not coming home for dinner. Phone if you're going somewhere else at night. PHone if you're sleeping over at a friend's. Every two hours strikes me as very restrictive and likely to make her more resentful and rebellious.

    Good luck -- man, it's a big enough worry in these years without the extra edge that diabetes puts on it. But I do think kids are likely to "get their head back on straight" sooner if they are really clear that you're concern is for them and their well-being, as opposed to being mad because they "broke the rules."

  5. Default thank you

    I really appreciate the lengthy, thoughtful answers you offered. there is a common thread in you replies that struck a chord in me. I'm sure my 14 year old feels less helped by me and more burdened most of the time. We saw the d team this week and there is some incentive for change. She has to haver her hba1c's down before the doctor will sign for driving privileges!

    It's just amazing how much they block out! Tonight she was surprised to know that she was type 1 (after NINE years!). She said she telling people she is Type 2. Good news is there is a winter camp in a few weeks and she is going. At least maybe she'll come home with a little better understanding of her situation without the pressure of me being beside her.

  6. #6

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    I just got done reading all of your posting’s. I can’t begin to explain how I feel, but it does help me have a better insight to my daughter and what is going on in her head. I am not a diabetic, I will never know what it is like. I know that it is terrible, I know that it is life altering, I know it is a Royal Pain In The Ass. But I only know this from living with my daughter, she has been diabetic for 13 years. I also know how dangerous it is, I know it can kill. Does anyone out there know a “succesful diabetic”? If so, how do you do it? What is the turning point? How can I help my daughter? It is very painful being a diabetic, it is also very painful being a parent and watching your child slowly destory themselves. I cannot be a diabetic for her, if I could, I would in a heart beat. I do not want to outlive my child, I do not want to see her suffer in the years to come. But what can I do, I have done all I know how over the last 7 years, but in reality, I know it has to be her who makes the decision to take care og herself. I just feel so helpless, a Mother is supposed to protect her child, keep them healthy and safe. I can do neither, I just sit and watch it happen day after day. I know how hard it is for her, I really do. The pricking the finger, checking the keytones, no sugar, no pop, no cake, no candy, always having the insulin pump attached to her like a leach, knowing that she is f’ing up her organs but not knowing how to stop herself. I know she just wants to lead a normal life and be like a regular person, like all her friends. I know how badly she wants to be a good diabetic, with all her heart. I know how terribly impossible it is for her to be a good diabetic and how damn frustrated she is with herself for being a bad one. I have seen all the **** she has gone through in her many hospital visits with DKA, her highs her lows, her puking her pain. But still…....she is my child…..I love her so much….she is killing herself. What am I to do?? Thanks for listening…it helps to get it out. I searched for a sight of Parents of Diabetic Children, but could not find one. So thanks for letting me vent. God Bless You All.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    232

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    You say your daughter has had D for 13 years, but how old is she?

    You also said that she cannot have pop, candy, cake, etc., why? If she's using a pump why not bolus for the carbs?

    Over the years have you and she updated the training offered by your D clinic? Do they have a social worker on staff who can help you both out with your feelings?

    I am a successful D - had it for 26 yrs - no complications yet (touch wood). I was also a "non-compliant" D for most of my teen years, however back then the treatment and care was not even close to what it is now. I never got my first glucometer until I was almost 19.

    I would also have to agree with a lot of what has already been said that sometimes we expect out teenagers to be too indepenent. Sometimes by them rebelling and not checking and sneaking food is a cry for someone to step in and help or take over all or portions of care for awhile.

    This is a crummy disease and I think some parents are too restrictive and are doling out punishment for "non-compliance" too liberally. I'm all for more of a positive reinforcement rather than punishment. And I know you are all thinking "well if they want to live then they have to do this without being rewarded so why should I reward them" and yes to a point that is true, but I'm not talking about extravagant rewards either. Everything should be kept in perspective. Even compliments go a long way.
    Cyndi
    T1-32+ yrs MDI
    Mom to Ryan (10 yrs, dx 9/30/05, MDI)
    and Cody (8 yrs)

  8. #8

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    Hey, thanks for your post. My daughter is 22 years old, not a teenager anymore. Beilieve me, Over The Years, I have tried everything I know of. She has seen 3 phychologist's (all of which she said were stupid). She refuses to see a D councelor or join any support groups. She went for 2 years without once seeing an Endo or having an A1C done. The last time she had an A1C that was below 11 was when she was 14 yers old. All of the other A1C's after age 14 years have been 11 and 12. It has been about 8 months since she last saw her Endo,,,,,,and she only did that because the Endo would not refill her insulin RX until she came for a visit. Her A1C 8 months ago was 12.1.

    She has been "fired" by 3 of her Endo's becasue she refuses to prick her finger or show up for appointments. In the past 3 years she ONLY pricks her finger when she is sick. She does not prick it when she has a low because she says she alrady knows it is low. So she just has a can of Pepsi. I know that with the pump she can now have pop and candy and such. But she does not bolus for that stuff. The settings on her pump never change because she never goes to the doctor and nobody is monitoring her diabetes.

    We took her to Boggy Creek camp three years in a row. It is a wonderful place for D's and their families. But she just never really got into it. She very much resents having D and is not pleased with God for sticking her with it. Her real Father would never have given her D, so how much can God really love her.

    She is no longer punished for her D conduct. She is a grown woman now, I hardly say anything anymore. When she was younger we went through it all. Punishment, rewards, talking, crying, working together, complete independance. There was a time when I woke her in the morning, gave her her injection, pricked her finger, made her food. I did this for her all day long. But their had to come a time when she had to start doing these things for herself. She is 22 years old now, I cannot follow her around pricking her finger and figuring out her bolus's. She knows what to do, she simply chooses not to do it. She is a very intelligent girl, she was a Gifted Student all throughout school and did many many Term Papers on D. Several years ago I realized that this is her D, not mine. She has to own it, I cannot own it for her. All I can do at this point is be there for her when she goes to the ER, when she is sick in bed all day I take care of her. When she runs out of inslin in the middle of the night, I go to the all night pharmacy and go get it. When she forgets to put her pump back in after her shower, I drive up to her office and take it to her. I have no choice, and she knows that. She has to have the insulin, so she knows I will go anywhere and do anything to get it. She is usually too dizzy to drive and get it herself. She has two cats that have to sleep in her room, even though they eat through her pump wire in the middle of the night and she wakes up nearly DKA. But she is a grown woman, I cannot tell her what to do. So I sit and I worry and I vent in this blog space. And I pray that God will keep her healthy in spite of herself. She tells me that she knows she is being a dumb ass, and she tries to take better care of herself for a week or so. But it never sticks and she says that she does not know why. She admits that she needs to talk to someone, but she will not go. I know there is nothing I can do, but it is painful to watch. I can only pray that the "light will go on" for her before her 12.1 A1C's catch up to her and her organs. Thanks for listening.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    232

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    Now I don't know what to suggest. I came to terms with it when I was about 18 and moved out. I knew I had to look after myself if I wanted to live, let alone live on my own across the country from my parents. You always hope your rebellious teen will come around sometime.

    I wanted to live and have a family, and I always had high hopes for myself and still do. It really does sound like she needs a support network - friends, boyfriend(?), family even strangers in a D support group who she can relate to and who can relate to her. The suicide rate for people with cronic illness is high. I have never dealt with thoughts such as these nor have dealt with them as a third party so I don't even know what to say. Is there some support group in your area for those with D and their families? If anything, you can get support for yourself and perhaps can be led to someone who can give your daughter support.

    My thoughts are with you and your daughter,
    Cyndi
    T1-32+ yrs MDI
    Mom to Ryan (10 yrs, dx 9/30/05, MDI)
    and Cody (8 yrs)

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