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Thread: If only I had known: Preparing for teenage years ...

  1. #1

    Default If only I had known: Preparing for teenage years ...

    I have made plenty of mistakes parenting my two boys. But I'm doing the best I can and therefore have very few regrets.

    However ... IF I had known my son was going to get T1D at age 9, on the margin I would have parented a bit differently in the early years. For instance, I would have pushed a bit harder for a more diverse diet (more vegetables etc ...). We are doing more of it now but it sure would have made things easier if we had started at age 2 instead of age 9.

    So, I'm fortunate enough to NOW know that I will have a teenager with T1D. What can I do for him at age 10 that will benefit him in his teenage years, specifically on the T1D front?

    I know there are lots of different parenting styles and no one style is "correct", but I'm always looking for nuggets of wisdom from wherever I can get them. A bit of a strange question, but any input from current teenage parents, or forward thinking 10 year old parents would be appreciated.
    Son - Age 11 dx July/12. OmniPod Dec/12. Dexcom G4 Feb/13.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,330

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    Our ten year old just turned 11. My strategy for right now is to encourage her to count her own carbs and measure her own food. Not push it, but encourage her. She already does her own pod changes and boluses. I think one of the single best things is to send them to D camp. They learn from their peers and also from the older kids. Hormones are going to be a challenge, I know, and require extra patience on my part. She was given a phone for her birthday, partially as a tool for her D care as she goes to mddle school next year.
    Susan
    Grandma to Hailey age 11 dx type 1 age 4
    pumping with Omnipod since 8/09
    and Faith age 7
    and now little Macey Ella age 1 year Dx with allergies to nuts, wheat, eggs, and soy

    True heroism consists in being superior to the ills of life, in whatever shape they may challenge us to combat.

    Napoleon I (1769-1821) Napoleon Bonaparte. French general.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidN View Post
    I have made plenty of mistakes parenting my two boys. But I'm doing the best I can and therefore have very few regrets.

    However ... IF I had known my son was going to get T1D at age 9, on the margin I would have parented a bit differently in the early years. For instance, I would have pushed a bit harder for a more diverse diet (more vegetables etc ...). We are doing more of it now but it sure would have made things easier if we had started at age 2 instead of age 9.

    So, I'm fortunate enough to NOW know that I will have a teenager with T1D. What can I do for him at age 10 that will benefit him in his teenage years, specifically on the T1D front?

    I know there are lots of different parenting styles and no one style is "correct", but I'm always looking for nuggets of wisdom from wherever I can get them. A bit of a strange question, but any input from current teenage parents, or forward thinking 10 year old parents would be appreciated.
    What I"m going to say is probably not what you want to hear but what I wish I had known at age 10 was that from about age 12 on diabetes control was going to right out the window and it was going to happen to even the most diligent, on top of things, in control parents/kids. That it was going to happen to parents who examined every number, every morsel of food. It was going to happen to us all. I had this mistaken notion that I would somehow be able to breeze through it because "I knew what I was doing."

    hahahahahahahahahahahahah Boy was I wrong.

    If I had known then what I know now, I would have not set myself up with unobtainable goals and I would have realized sooner that sometimes 'good enough' really is good enough. That doing the exact same thing on two different days gives completely different results. That one night basal needs are through the roof and a few nights later we're playing "no diabetes night" when those hormones don't seem to be surging.

    And you'll probably say "oh but that's her, I'll be so much more prepared" and you'll ignore this bit of wisdom just as many of us do. But tuck it away.
    son, age 13; dx 2005 @ age 5
    Pumps:Cozmo 2006; Revel 2010
    CGMS: MM 2010; Dexcom G4 2013

  4. #4

    Default

    Well, you may get the prize for posting the most difficult to answer question

    I guess if pressed, I'd say that looking at my 15 year old DD I see two things that stand out to me as critical in her capacity to live in relative peace with her disease.

    First, she's a fairly resilient person. Whether by innate temperament or perhaps because of the need to adapt to D stuff from an early age, I can't really say. But coaching resilience and encouraging a mind set that $hit happens and you just have to learn to deal with it and move on is probably a worthwhile parenting goal regardless of D.

    Also, I think it helps my DD a lot that when she looks at herself she sees an athlete, a musician, a writer, a film maker etc etc - encouraging kids to develop multi-dimensional lives leaves less space, I think, for D to become overly defining.

    And last, no matter how hard it is, let your D kid do all the age appropriate things that his/her peers are doing. Sleepovers, camps, school trips - it's never easy but I think it's vital.

    I think I'm more a "nature" person - though I think we can nurture some traits of temperament, but how well kids deal with D is complicated by their inherent personality. Some kids will always have a harder time by virtue of how they are wired. And some will have it easier.
    Sarah
    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

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidN View Post
    I have made plenty of mistakes parenting my two boys. But I'm doing the best I can and therefore have very few regrets.

    However ... IF I had known my son was going to get T1D at age 9, on the margin I would have parented a bit differently in the early years. For instance, I would have pushed a bit harder for a more diverse diet (more vegetables etc ...). We are doing more of it now but it sure would have made things easier if we had started at age 2 instead of age 9.

    So, I'm fortunate enough to NOW know that I will have a teenager with T1D. What can I do for him at age 10 that will benefit him in his teenage years, specifically on the T1D front?

    I know there are lots of different parenting styles and no one style is "correct", but I'm always looking for nuggets of wisdom from wherever I can get them. A bit of a strange question, but any input from current teenage parents, or forward thinking 10 year old parents would be appreciated.
    My motto in all things teens is "trust but verify". So give them the lead rope, let them run, but every so often make sure what they say they are doing is truly being done. Verify. This is true with friends, with drinking, with diabetes, with every little thing. Trust is a gift, and an earned commodity. I always trust unless given reason not to. And I verify often enough that they know to be honest.

    My son wasn't diagnosed until age 15 so I believe my own experiences in diabetes is far different than those diagnosed early. He's been doing his own shots and testing since day 1. I'm a researcher, payment source, cheerleader, problem solver. But I believe trust but verify works in diabetes too. Trust them, let them take over when ready, but verify that what's happening is correct and true. I check infrequently these days, never look through his pump for example, but I do scroll through the meter every day or so. This has happened in bits and pieces, we've done strict logging, we've weighed foods, I used to mark every bit of food with a carb count. Slowly he's taken over that too.

    Give a little, check to make sure all is well, give a little more freedom, etc. Nurture friendships, they make a big difference in the teen years.

    As far as food choices, well, I don't do anything there differently than I ever did, pushing a varied diet was always a priority. Even in this though I trust him; he's learned the hard way which foods to avoid and which foods make him feel better. Definitely expose to lots of options and a variety of seasonal/fresh foods. Avoid processed foods. I say that for all in the family though, not diabetes related.

    ~Nancy~
    Homeschooling our way through high school, learning with them!
    19 year old son diagnosed T1 2/5/10, pumping Tslim beginning 7/13 ; Dexcom on occasion. Animas Ping 10/10-7/13. College student August 2013.
    16 year old daughter teaching her mom all about patience and grace
    .

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    9,629

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    Uhg - your whole world just changes - the T1 world that is. I swear, their brains fall out of their head at about the age of 14. Sigh. But maybe that will help you. You can rest in peace knowing that you did everything you could to prepare for the teen years, and no matter how ingrained testing and bolusing and changing sites has become, it all flies straight out the window.
    I'm still here.
    DD - 15 - Lantus and MM Pump/Dex G4

  7. #7

    Default

    Get comfortable with hearing the phrase "I forgot" about a bajillion times. Not just with diabetes but everything.

    Mine's always been a super picky eater which actually has been great for T1, easy carb counts. And she doesn't care for a lot of things that are tricky to bolus for.

    I agree with Nans trust but verify. The other thing I learned was don't ask have them show you. Meaning don't ask what the numbers were ask to see the meter. Saves them from lying and you from getting annoyed about it. Works on homework too. Lots of things.

    We don't let diabetes change anything. Little more planning ahead for certain things but otherwise what all of her friends are doing she does the same.

    I also agree with it is never "stable" and every day is different. We just muddle through the best that we can. Some days we do better than others. At the hospital they kept telling us once we got used to it things would be more stable - which is absolutely untrue, but once you get that, it makes it much easier to just fix whatever the problem is and move on.

    Lastly the thing I think that helps her the most is having a great group of friends. This takes a while, middle school was hellish. They're the ones who will really be there for your kid, help them through.
    Mom to Madison (18)
    dxd 8/5/09
    Omnipod pump using Novalog 4/10
    Dexcom 3/13

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mish View Post
    What I"m going to say is probably not what you want to hear but what I wish I had known at age 10 was that from about age 12 on diabetes control was going to right out the window and it was going to happen to even the most diligent, on top of things, in control parents/kids. That it was going to happen to parents who examined every number, every morsel of food. It was going to happen to us all. I had this mistaken notion that I would somehow be able to breeze through it because "I knew what I was doing."

    hahahahahahahahahahahahah Boy was I wrong.

    If I had known then what I know now, I would have not set myself up with unobtainable goals and I would have realized sooner that sometimes 'good enough' really is good enough. That doing the exact same thing on two different days gives completely different results. That one night basal needs are through the roof and a few nights later we're playing "no diabetes night" when those hormones don't seem to be surging.

    And you'll probably say "oh but that's her, I'll be so much more prepared" and you'll ignore this bit of wisdom just as many of us do. But tuck it away.
    Thank you for this.
    Mom to 16 yr old dd, dx 7/2009
    Animas Ping 2/2010
    Dexcom 7 Plus 9/2010
    Dexcom G4 11/2012
    Metformin

    Take pride in how far you've come.
    Have faith in how far you can go.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    5,560

    Default

    I am with the PP Nanhsot - give some freedom, but verify.

    My son would do his own diabetes management in high school (and later middle school), but I looked at his meter and pump every day -- usually without comment, but often with a suggestion or two.

    I decided that bolusing was the most important activity in diabetes management. If he did that every time he ate, the blood sugars were in pretty good range. He would often forget to bolus. At 19, I think he is a little better, but still forgets.

    Food choices -- my son ate what was offered and what he wanted for snacks. In college, he by passes the cookies as he forgets to bolus and goes high and then feels bad.

    Such restraint! I can never by pass a cookie.
    Amy
    Mom to a young adult Animas Ping pumper and DexCom G4 user. 2nd year college student, now living in a co-op house. Dx'd over 16 years ago at 3 years old.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I swear, their brains fall out of their head at about the age of 14. Sigh.
    It starts oozing at 12.
    It is hard going from being in total control, to now partial and soon enough little or no. Trying to find the balance not to nag is the hardest part for me right now.

    All I can say is what we are doing right now seems to work. She is in charge at school and away from us, we step in at home when she she needs down time and are encouraging and supportive when she wants to take the reigns. We don't punish for mistakes made, nor do we punish for errors in judgement (such as not bothering to test and going off what the CGM says). But, we talk about it and talk about the ramifications if it happens again. The most important thing is to remember that she is a kid. Mistakes will happen. Poor choices may be made. But, this will happen with her sister too, who doesn't have diabetes. She is a kid who is a dancer, athlete, goofball...who happens to have diabetes. She is Abby.
    Diagnosed June '05
    Pumping since Feb '06
    Animas Ping
    Dexcom Study







    My current position:
    CIO...CHIEF INSULIN OFFICER

    "Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect"...Margaret Mitchell

    "Make it work"...Tim Gunn

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