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Thread: Behavior changes in children with Diabetes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    New Brighton, PA

    Default Behavior changes in children with Diabetes?

    Hello. I am a new poster here. My son was Dx'd with Diabetes on 2/9/10. He is 9 years old. After the first week he was really sad and a little irritated with his diagnosis. Then he seemed to bounce back. This last week he has been really moody. I caught him swearing at his Wii in his room? I talked to him about it and gave him a consequence. Today he comes home from school and his teacher called and informs us that he has been using profanity at school. She over heard him in the bathroom swearing with another student and other classmates have told on him for swearing. He has received IN SCHOOL SUSPENSION! HELP!!! I do not want to sound like a parent who's child does no wrong, but this is completely out of character for my son! Even the teacher said of all kids he was the last one to ever suspect such behavior from. He gets straight A's and honestly doesn't do stuff like this. They said at the hospital to look out for mood changes. I'm not trying to make up excuses for him. His bg has been in his targeted range for almost a week now so that is good. When he came home today he was 220, but he was upset and knew he was in trouble. I'm really embarrassed by his behavior! Has anyone else seen rebellion in their child after diagnosis like this? Is this common? Then to top it off while we were reprimanding him all I could think about was his BG and upsetting him. I did tell the teacher that his mood has really changed this past week but she immediately cut me off and said she was not going to take that route with us as she has seen several other children with diabetes and none of them have ever done such things. Please help!

  2. #2


    First of all, welcome to CWD. Im so sorry about your sons diagnosis. Now for your sons teacher, she is a bit**!!!! Im sorry but she is an unfeeling, non comprehending, disrespectful person who needs to get an attitude adjustment and maybe a life. To say that shes seen many children with diabetes and compares your son to them, well thats just plain foolish. All children are different in how they deal with things.

    Now I think there could be personality changes as your son gets used to life with diabetes. My son was quite a bit younger at diagnosis so doesnt remember life without diabetes. Your son does remember life before shots and tests and counting carbs. Hes also old enough to wonder how this will affect the rest of his life. Does he know that people like Nick Jonas of the Jonas brothers band has type 1. Also Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago bears and many many other famous athletes and performers have type 1 diabetes.

    High and low blood sugars can and does cause personality changes. My son is very easy going but when hes real low he gets very weepy and irritable when his blood sugars are high he will get angry and very impatient and pushy. I think some of its the age too at least with my son. They are on the cusp of puberty so that changes moods for boys as well
    Becky, Mom to Steven 12, dxd 7/04 MDI humolog and Lantus, Harry 14 non-d My 2 awesome boys

    Right now three things remain: Faith, hope and love But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

    "There is no rightness in diabetes. Just sometimes, you're less wrong." by Jacobs Dad

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    In the desert


    Quote Originally Posted by mandif3 View Post
    I did tell the teacher that his mood has really changed this past week but she immediately cut me off and said she was not going to take that route with us as she has seen several other children with diabetes and none of them have ever done such things. Please help!
    My daughter is also really young so I don't have any advice to give you. However, this statement really bothered me. That teacher needs to understand that your child's life has just changed dramatically. I wouldn't doubt that he's grieving in some way. So while his behavior may not be appropriate, his feelings certainly are legitimate. I would tell his teacher that she doesn't have to excuse his behavior, but to at least try to understand how his world has turned upside down in the last few weeks and maybe together you can come up with some ways for him to sort through his feelings/act out his emotions.

    My heart goes out to you all. I know how hard my daughter's diagnosis was for me. I can't imagine how that affects older children that are dxd.

  4. #4


    Hi and welcome to CWD! Sorry you have to be here, but you have come to a great place. I am sorry your son is having trouble, but I am glad you posted. My DD is 8 and was also just dx (1/13/10). This week has been a roller coaster for us also. Her bg is normal (mostly), but she is having a belly ache and headache. She has also been very weepy and emotional. We have had more lows this week than we have since dx.
    Hang in there, and hopefully this is just a new dx/age thing. I guess it highlights the difference in boys vs girls. Mine cries and yours cusses.
    Mom to
    Maddy- 10 yrs old, dx 1/13/10, Animas Ping
    Jaren- 8 yrs old, Non-D

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Southeast of disorder


    Hi and welcome.
    I know with my son when his bg gets high he just gets irrational. He doesn't act out, he's just mad. Now - we're talking bg's close to 300 before we see this and while every child is different, I doubt that low 200's would effect him like this but even if they did....he's old enough to learn to control it. So regardless of if it's related to high bg or not, he needs to deal with the consequences.

    Anyway - while I don't think it's really the BG I do think it probably is the diabetes. He's a young child, struggling with this "thing" that's happened to him. His entire environment is completely out of control and he's controlling something - he can use words that he can't normally use. I'm no psychiatrist, just a mom of a similar aged boy, but I'd guess that he's substituting the swears for whatever it is that he feels he can't do (ie..can't eat whatever he wants anymore??) but he CAN swear. see where I"m going with this?

    Maybe that's totally out in left field, but I think he probably just needs oodles of extra hugs (if he's like mine, this is a huggy age) and lots of snuggle time and maybe see, without prodding too much, where he's coming from. Maybe express how much you think diabetes isn't fair and see where he takes it.

    Good luck.

  6. #6


    Talk with him. Not about "consequences", but about his feelings. I would tell him that I didn't even want to talk about the cursing/school stuff, but about how he's feeling about learning that he has D and ask point blank if he has any questions or if there is anything about D that he doesn't understand.

    My kid was 4 when she was dxd - so our experience was very different, but I'm amazed that more of the older kids aren't just furious at dx! Because I know I would have been!

    Best of luck
    Mom to DD now 16, dx @4
    Cozmo pumper @6
    Minimed pumper @13
    G4 @ 15

    "Happy Birthday, Dr. Banting! Now... let's eat cake! Because, we CAN!" - MCS

  7. #7


    My advice? Get a counselor involved, and soon. Call your endo for a recommendation. There's a lot for kids (and parents!) to work through emotionally after dx. And though you have to address the swearing as a parent, start with his feelings first. He may find it really helpful to talk/chat with some other kids his age with D.

    IMHO, the teacher is not off-base for disciplining for the swearing. The suspension might be a little severe, but even if his D is causing the personality changes (and believe me, my son turns into Mr. Nasty Grumpypants when he's over 250 for any length of time), he's got to learn to deal with his feelings in a healthy way. He's going to have highs, and he may feel really crappy, but he has to work out a socially acceptable way to channel those feelings.

    A neighbor who is the same age as one of my brothers was dx'ed at age 12, and his parents never really helped him develop those skills, and he is one big mess of D-related anger some 15 years later.

  8. #8


    Welcome to the site but sorry you have to be here. You are in the very early days and they are rough. We have all been there. You can expect your son to go through the same stages of grief that you may go through. Shock, denial, anger, sadness, and hopefully, acceptance. It is hard enough for us as adults to deal with this, even with our "advanced" coping skills. Children don't always have the same skills and so, to me, his acting out is understandable. His teachers behavior is not and I would try and address that as soon as possible. Hang in there....
    Dad to Danielle, 15 years old, dx 8/17/2007, MDI (Novolog and Levemir)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Glenview, IL


    Hi, we've been at this for 4 months now, and have gone through several ups and downs. My DS didn't act out in school (as far as I know), but he definitely did at home. He went through different stages of "grief", so to speak. First, he didn't really mind this. Then came the anger. He was kicking walls, screaming, taking it out on his sister, and just generally was incredibly angry. It calmed down after a few weeks. I did however have him talk with my SIL, who is a licensed therapist, and definitely noticed much less anger after just one outing with her. So I agree with one of the previous posters, sometimes a little professional help goes a long way.
    Arleta, dx'd celiac May 2010
    Mom to:
    Tommy, 10, dxd Oct. 27th, 2009 at age 7;
    BLUE Revel 8/2010; Apidra; Silhouette infusion set
    MM CGM 2/2011 - 1/2012
    Dexcom G4 5/2013 - present
    and to Olivia, 7, non d

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Southern California


    I would expect him to be angry and act out, he has recently had a really sucky diagnosis. He needs some time to cope and adjust. I would hope the teacher could be a bit more understanding; perhaps the other kids she has had with D were not so recently diagnosed?

    Hugs, not sure I have real advice. Punish the really bad stuff but choose your battles very carefully and only take on what is REALLY important right now.
    Laurel (mom to 2)
    Carter, age 16, pumping 1/20/09 Animas Ping with Inset 30s. Part-time DEXCOM user as well. Diagnosed 2/2/08
    Phoebe, age 12 (non D)


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