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As we all know, living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at any age isn’t easy, but it’s especially challenging for teenagers and their parents. The teenage years are filled with stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, trying to fit in, and so much more.
We asked the Community what advice you would give to a teenager living with T1D or their parents.
Here’s what you shared:
- “Trust your teen! As a person with diabetes, he/she knows what they should eat and how much insulin to bolus. So, I would advise you to pull in the reins a bit and let them take more control of their health. This doesn’t mean you don’t ask questions and keep an eye on them, just do it less than you did when they were younger.”
- “We are all different, one size does not fit all, listen to them. They have unique experiences with their diabetes.”
- “Find therapy. Even if your teen seems perfect, they need therapy.”
- “Try not to take every mood personally. I remember feeling so bad after having a sour mood with my mom due to a high or low, which I had such a hard time controlling — it really felt like it was controlling me, probably because of all the hormones. However, that’s not to say that your teenager shouldn’t have consequences for their poor speech/behavior. We should always apologize whether what we said/did was from a high/low or not. Accountability with grace helps breed discipline and not a ‘poor me’ attitude that might run the home.”
- “Life is going to be almost totally in their control, it’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time, but for T1s there’s this one added thing to deal with.”
- “Forgive yourself for bad levels: everyone has them. The highs, the lows, if diabetes was easy, we’d all be happy on shots.”
- “Children and teens with T1 diabetes grow up to be adults with T1 diabetes. Once they understand and have established the basics of their own self-care routines, allow them the space and grace to learn and grow at their own pace. Be there for them when they need you for guidance and ask for your help. You must learn to let go of your fears, worries, and negative emotions about your teen living with diabetes and trust that they will grow up into responsible adulthood with self-care resilience.”
- “With nonjudgmental guidance, acceptance, and trust from the adults in our lives, many of us become masters at managing our own diabetes self-care tasks very early on in our lifelong journey with diabetes. It helps to encourage and facilitate connections with other T1D and for you to connect with other parents of T1D teens. Tell them about Friends for Life Children with Diabetes conferences and encourage them and their teens to go. It’s an affirmative life-changing experience for both T1D kids and the adults in their lives.”
- “Never lose hope or faith no matter how bad things get especially with diabetes we are all soldiers in our own army and fights but some day we shall win the battle together.”
- “Never get angry over their blood sugar levels. Always lovingly encourage them. The teenage years are crazy times normally, add T1D on top of that, and it’s hard. The hormones affect your blood sugar [and insulin needs]. Don’t assume they have done anything wrong. They will be more open to discussing T1D if you are in a safe place, even when they do not talk about it. Be patient and let them know you are there for them when they are ready.”
- “Worry about and work on their mental health early on.”
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