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Defiant 12 Year Old With Type 1

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Type Juan, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Type Juan

    Type Juan New Member

    Mar 9, 2018
    Hi - I'm looking for some suggestions for my 12 year old daughter. She was diagnosed with Type 1 a year ago and was also diagnosed with juvenile onset bipolar disorder. It hasn't been easy... at all...

    Just to level set here for all the folks that might want to assume we have not educated ourselves as well as our daughter, be assured we have deeply involved ourselves in ongoing educators, JDRF events, exposure to other T1 kids, heart to hearts with our daughter's Endo, pediatrician, nurses and therapy (three times a week). This is ongoing and will continue to be for our daughter's health and well being.

    The first 6 months, things seemed to be getting better and the A1C levels were going down. We felt that things were falling into place and we were getting on track. We test minimum 4 times a day and obviously more as needed for corrections.

    • First thing in the morning
    • Lunch
    • 2 hours after lunch
    • Early evening once she is home
    • Right before bed

    As our daughter started middle school, and the awesome little hormones started slamming against each other in her growing body, the challenges of healthy choices and the not so sweet demeanor at school began. The district nurse started texting us to let us know that her BS was high and sometimes would find out that our daughter was sneaking candy from kids.... The nurse would call our daughter out and always stress that healthy choices have to be made with T1... that even though candy seems harmless... it can adversely affect her. Our daughter (so creative she is) started making some pretty interesting justifications for the candy:
    • "Oh these jelly beans? I put them in my jacket to make it smell good... I'm not eating them." #LIE
    • "Mom, I don't know why my BS is high this morning... and I have no idea why there are 2 banana peels on the counter... maybe the baby was hungry in the middle of the night and ate them?" #AlsoLIE
    • "Seriously mom? It's not a big deal if I eat before I take my insulin..." "Stop annoying me with making me take my BS!!!" #MomsKnowNothing

    Fast forwarding to now, we are at a point where we are still checking the BS on the same schedule, we have only diabetic friendly food in the house, though now a seasoned 12 year old / 7th grader, we are experiencing the following challenges:
    • She's throwing away her lunches mom and dad make to ensure she is eating healthy. Her reason, it's gross...
    • Buying food from the cafeteria (on credit without mom or dad's knowledge) ... Pizza, cookies, chocolate milk, you get the idea.
    Side Note: We have all agreed that she's been banned from buying food at the cafeteria (We: Parent and school)
    • Sneaking Hershey Kisses or some form of candy from God knows where and mom and dad finding wrappers in her room.
    • Eye rolls, crossing arms and stomps out of room when we try to talk to her about the seriousness of what she's doing at school.

    We have expressed these concerns to her Endo, pediatrician, educator and therapist, and as the A1C levels go up, I'm at a breaking point. I called the local county Human Services to see if there are any assistance or programs they can provide. They have offered to come out to talk with our daughter... but I foresee the same reaction... she just wants this to go away. How do you get through to a pre-teen that is so stubborn? I know it's hard for her and it breaks my heart everyday... but I just want her to understand this can be so manageable. Sorry so long winded... just really wanted to get the facts out. Any help is appreciated...

    Note: If you have nothing productive to add or you're just looking to make yourself feel better by insulting an already frustrated parent, don't bother. I've probably already insulted myself with your sloppy seconds. So go tread on someone else's plight.

  2. kim5798

    kim5798 Approved members

    May 7, 2009
    Not sure if anyone has already suggested this, but what would happen if you let her eat what she wants, & just dose the insulin to cover the carbs? Avoid the battle entirely. I look at it like this: if she did not have diabetes, she would eat the pizza, hershey kisses & whatnot & her pancreas would produce insulin & life would go on. Will the bloodsugars be ideal on this plan? probably not. But, they will be better than her eating it without you knowing & not dosing the insulin accordingly. And there will be less to fight about. Make a deal that you will not make a fuss about WHAT she eats, as long as she counts the carbs & covers it with insulin. I honestly feel & saw with my own child, that eventually, they will make choices that make them FEEL better. But sometimes they just want the hot cheetos & whatever other crap the other kids are eating & will just deal with feeling like crap. When they get tired of that, they will eat better. Offer the right choices & give her some control of the situation. I know this is hard. It is more difficult that a lot of other parenting things. Being the food police is not teaching her. You have to make this HER idea to eat better & get on board or its never going to work. From my experience, letting her have some control over her body/eating will empower her & make her eventually want to eat better & take care of herself.

    I think especially at her age, having CONTROL over something is important. Diabetes takes so much away from them. Let her decide what to eat, but insist that the carbs be counted & insulin dosed for what she eats. Give her the choice. If she is going to take lunch, let her decide what she is bringing so that she WILL eat it. If she will buy the food, let her decide what she will eat. And really let her choose!! Get carb counts for as accurate as you can & then dose & see how things go. I am not a doctor, just a mom who has dealt with a teenage girl with diabetes, who dealt with food issues, cutting, alcohol & drug experimentation, etc. At their age, they just want to be the same as everyone else, eat like everyone else & not be different.

    Don't you remember junior high? I remember eating nothing but a cactus cooler soda & french fries for lunch. Oh & faking sick to not go to school at all. Good times.

    Hang in there.
    rgcainmd likes this.
  3. Ali

    Ali Approved members

    Aug 1, 2006
    Will your insurance cover her going on the latest Medtronic pump Cgms system that at least automates the background insulin. Plus on a pump it is much easier to snack. You do not need to give a shot you just punch a few buttons. Please talk to your diabetes team about it.Also do not talk to insurance yourself work with your team, because of her dual diagnosis the MDs should be able to over ride many "stated" things in your insurance.Even as a long time adult dealing with T1 since age 16 I have to get my MDs to write up medical exceptions. Good luck. Talk with her psychiatrist and her diabetes team. But I think a pump/cgms system will really help and the automated Medtronics system would really really help.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  4. cdninct

    cdninct Approved members

    Jul 29, 2011
    Hi there! Sorry you are on such a rough ride right now. My son is not as old as your daughter and, while he is definitely a difficult child his behavioral issues sound more manageable--so I can't speak from a lot of experience on that front (I have taught grade 5-8 for years, though, so I do have some insight there). Still, the advice you got from kim5798 reflects how we handle our son. Fighting resentment, rebellion, and ongoing food/mental health issues has always been as big a concern for us as worrying about BGs. Those with easygoing, compliant kids might be able to fight the healthy eating fight in a different way, but for us, we have to pick and choose our battles. I think that some days he probably eats less healthy food than if he had not been diagnosed with type 1. We don't have a ton of junk in the house, but we do have some, and he is welcome to it the same as he would have been if he didn't have diabetes (which is not to say every day, all the time). Unless it is right before dinner or he is sky-high, he is also welcome to find something to eat when he wants it, as long as he tells us and boluses. We are more concerned with honesty and bolusing than with the quality of everything he eats, because otherwise he will sneak food at home or eat others' food at school.

    In your place, I would start from scratch with how you handle the school situation. No, pizza, cookies, and chocolate milk are not awesome choices, but it's not like they are unforgivable choices either. And if all her friends are eating that stuff, of course she is going to want to do the same thing, and of course she is going to figure out how to make it happen, with or without your approval. So get on the same team as her. Sit down with her and the school nurse and collectively come up with a plan that does not ban school food but that sets clear ground rules for what she can buy, how she will handle the responsibility (looking up carb counts/planning ahead/going to the nurse before or after to verify doses---whatever) and what will happen if she fails to handle the situation properly. After all, what's going to be harder on her BGs and a1c--junk food that she eats with your permission and doses for or junk food that she sneaks and never doses for?

    As for having someone from the county come and talk to her, she already knows everything that they will tell her--she probably knows much more than they will since they are not specialists in type 1 in pre-teens nor do they know her well! The issue isn't that she is unaware of the dangers of her choices, just that she is unwilling to bend to diabetes's rules. Figure out what is absolutely essential (checking 4 times a day, being honest about what she eats, dosing for everything, treating all highs and lows...whatever is non-negotiable), and then figure out what you can negotiate with her.

    Obviously, it's hard for you to share every aspect of your philosophy and practice in one short post, so I might be telling your things that you already know or have already tried. Also, I don't know whether she has a pump or does shots--obviously pumping provides more flexibility, for instance to eat bananas in the middle of the night if she is hungry.

    Good luck...I know it is not easy.
  5. hawkeyegirl

    hawkeyegirl Approved members

    Nov 15, 2007
    Hey, I'm sorry to hear that you guys are struggling. My son is in 8th grade. It's a tough age.

    When you look at all of this from your daughter's perspective, her behavior is honestly completely understandable. Her normal life was ripped away from her at probably one of the toughest ages for it to happen. All of a sudden, Mom and Dad are all up in her business about how she eats, what she eats, when she eats...it's not fair, and she's pissed. I would be too! (This is not to blame you - you're worried about her and want her to be healthy. Your behavior is completely understandable too!)

    I think right now the goal should be to help your daughter live as "normal" of a life as possible. For us, that means my son uses a pump and a CGM. The pump gives him the flexibility to eat like a "normal" kid 98% of the time. He wants a banana in the middle of the night - he doses for it. He wants a handful of jelly beans - he doses for them. (That makes it sound a little simpler than it is, but you get the general idea.) The CGM helps us deal with BG before it gets too high or low, and removes the "surprises" that come when you are reliant on finger pokes alone.

    If you have some follow-up questions, don't hesitate to post. Best of luck to you and your daughter!
    rgcainmd likes this.
  6. wilf

    wilf Approved members

    Aug 27, 2007
    It should not be about eating heathy, it should be about managing the diabetes. If she wants to eat pizza - let her. Just insist that she is covering the carbs with insulin. She wants to snack at some weird time - let her. Just insist she covers the carbs with insulin. She wants to have a cookie at school or a friends house - let her. Just make sure the carbs are covered with insulin. Time enough to provide friendly advice about eating healthy in a few years' time - right now it's about instilling the best possible diabetes management habits, and those are all about measuring often enough and covering the carbs with insulin.
  7. mamamccoy87

    mamamccoy87 Approved members

    Nov 22, 2008
    what the above have said - it will continue to be a battle if you try to control everything she eats and it will only get worse as she gets older. it is so difficult to manage the waters of diabetes as it is - you need to give her the tools for the real world when she is older and not under your control (like you have control while they are teenagers:rolleyes: let her be a teenager and make some mistakes while under your care. She will soon learn that it feels better when blood sugars are better. If you have predominately healthy foods at home, let her eat her lunch at school and be a teenager, and just let her know that she needs to bolus for her food. And be prepared for the forgotten boluses - it happens - when you have to remember every meal every day its hard. We had a rule of you can bitch and moan about it but you have to do it. Let her vent, be angry, and validate that it is normal to feel that way. She needs to mourn the loss of her carefree days before diabetes - you do too!! Hang in there!

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