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Pre-teen struggling with feeling "not normal"

Discussion in 'Parents of Teens' started by corrinebean, May 16, 2013.

  1. corrinebean

    corrinebean Approved members

    Dec 25, 2010
    Our 12 year-old son (diagnosed at age 5, in 6th grade now, on the pump this year) has recently been acting out as far as his pump control is concerned (lying about his BG reading when he hadn't actually done a BG reading, and last night receiving an over-dose of insulin for what was thought to be a high BG after not coming clean about having just recently eaten and taking units!). :(

    When we got to the heart of the story last night surrounding the lies - it was an emotional breakdown as to him feeling not normal at school and in life because of his diabetes, and feeling like other kids and adults treat him differently because he is a diabetic. He confessed that he feels like he is given things in life because he is a diabetic (good grades, rewards from us) - and not because he's earned any of them. He also reports that kids at school are afraid of "catching" diabetes from him and so they won't even touch him. He was heartbroken (as was I!!!) to feel so different and ostracized.

    ...we know teen years are hard, for ANY teen. We tried to share our rough experiences as kids, but I know that just doesn't always make it through (parents NEVER know what they're talking about, right?). Who else has been through this, and what works?

    Here's our game plan moving forward:
    -more close monitoring of his pump use (not that we want to regress and take away control from him - but we aren't fully trusting him right now and need to know he's safe)
    -will get involved with the local Diabetes Association, and involve him in their teen program, so he can get to know and talk to other kids his age with T1
    -will seek a referral for a counselor for him
    -will seek a referral for a counselor for ourselves!

    ... anything else? We've looked at the teen camps for the summer and may see if he wants to go to one of those, but I don't want him to feel pressured (like we're sending him away for a week because he's done something wrong!) ..I want it to be a fun, positive event if he chooses to go.
  2. sugarmonkey

    sugarmonkey Approved members

    Feb 16, 2008
    Are there any family D camps near you? Maybe if you all went then he won't feel he's being sent away as punishment. Seeking counseling is a good step. It's a hard time of life for them, and even harder with D in the mix.
  3. kim5798

    kim5798 Approved members

    May 7, 2009
    Not sure what camps are available in the vegas area...but Camp Chinnock is in Southern Ca near Big Bear Lake. Wouldn't be too bad of a drive to go to camp.

    My daughter loves her camp "family." Those girls are so precious to her. We try to get together with them when we can.
  4. Helenmomofsporty13yearold

    Helenmomofsporty13yearold Approved members

    Oct 5, 2008
    I volunteered a lot in DD's classes when she was in middle school and I can tell you that kids are just plain mean at that stage. DD was a tomboy with short hair and was told by the other girls that she could not sit with the boys anymore and had to grow her hair long like them. Then they took pink marker to all her blue binders. They soon became best friends. One of the boys who was dyslexic was constantly called stupid by his best friend....I could go on and on. Diabetes is just another thing they can pick on. I would explain to your son that these classmates are insecure about themselves and feel the need to take him down so they can feel better about themselves.
  5. mocha

    mocha Approved members

    Feb 27, 2011
    I hate to say it, but your son it right. People do and will treat him differently for the rest of his life because of diabetes. People will think that making things easier for him (like making him take an easier math class or making his tests easier) are accommodations, which is highly insulting and infuriating. People will tear him down and mock because they can.

    But your son is not normal. No one who has this disease is normal. It makes you extraordinary. To have the strength to keep fighting, to hold your head up high--he is extraordinary. We are extraordinary.

    And people, especially at his age, are major a-holes. They just are, god only knows why. And I wish they weren't. I wish someone would slap all those normal people with a clue-by-four so they wouldn't be so hurtful.

    But his people are out there, the other extraordinary people. And one day he will find the people who will hold out their hands to him and not judge him for what others consider flaws. Because they will understand how extraordinary your son truly is. It will get better. You just have to wade through a few metric tons of crap to get there.
  6. mmgirls

    mmgirls Approved members

    Nov 28, 2008
    there is a wonderful camp close to me but they will fly kids from Las vegas to here in Reno and then they all go togeather. to Portola CA.

    And I know that they have meeting there in vegas I don't have much time right now but here is a link.


    I will get to this thread after work, but call them and ask about the camps and meetings.
  7. Mish

    Mish Approved members

    Aug 20, 2009
    I think you have a good plan. Our son is the same age, and has had diabetes the same length of time. I do know that this seems to just be an emotional age. People talk about girls and their hormones, well, the boy hormonal stuff seems just as problematic.

    We get occasional rough patches where he will have a bad outburst and at this age it seems that he wants some part in helping to solve the problem OR not, sometimes he just wants to vent. And sometimes his answers aren't necessarily what I would like, but they're often better than putting m y foot down and demanding something that won't happen. A good example, prebolusing for lunch - he refuses to check and bolus 15-30 min before lunch. So he does it at his locker right before lunch. Of course, he has a lunch spike every day. Naturally. But all things considering, he does check in class when he's low and treats appropriately, and he does check and bolus for lunch. So I've learned that it's just not a battle I want to fight right now. It's not ideal, but it's better than not checking. You know?

    He may or may n ot want to hang with other kids with type 1. I know mine doesn't. He wants "normal." and any D related activities just reinforce in his mind that there is something different about him. So maybe find some other activities that your son really likes where he'd be surrounded by other kids who relate to him on a different level than perhaps the kids at school do. If you think there are bullying issues at school maybe that needs to be addressed separately.

    Good luck. I think you're doing all the right things.
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Approved members

    Nov 20, 2007
    Sorry you are dealing with this. I also think you have a good plan. The only other thing I would suggest is finding some way to do some education at his school. If the other kids believe they can "catch" diabetes, then they clearly do not understand how diabetes works. However, at his age, it may be a tricky thing to do. When Danielle was dx she was younger and it was not that big of a deal for her to have me/the teacher do some education in the classroom. But at his age it may be a different story. One idea is to discuss with his teachers about doing some kind of lesson plan on diabetes in general and not single him out.

    Good luck.
  9. katerinas

    katerinas Approved members

    Apr 20, 2010
    Good plan. I would add contacting the school sounds like bullying to me. Also does he have some close friends at school?
  10. tammy82

    tammy82 Approved members

    Oct 23, 2006
    I feel so bad that he feels this way and this is happening. Is there a way the school nurse can come into the classroom and give a bit of education about it without singling him out. I know our nurse did this last year although my daughter was only 9 and has been in the school for years now without a problem. The above poster is right this can be tricky, maybe this can be incorporated some way. Can you talk to the principle and come up with some kind of plan? Our school has no tolerance for this kind of thing and would be taken care of in some away.
  11. heamwdevine

    heamwdevine Approved members

    Feb 18, 2009
    My 11 year old daughter is doing the same things. In fact, sometimes I think of switching back to CHOP just so she can speak to the dietician and the social worker. We go to a pediatrician that has had type 1 since he was 9 and he is great, but I'm starting to feel like we're missing that piece of support for her.

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