Friday, March 8, 2013

Advice for Parents

When you learned that your child has diabetes, you may have experienced disbelief, grief, and guilt. Maybe you asked, "Why did this happen to my child?" Maybe you cried out, "It's not fair! " You must come to grips with these feelings so that you can learn the tasks and techniques of diabetes control. Your whole family needs to make adjustments to your child's condition. How you deal with and accept diabetes affects the way your child deals with and accept diabetes. The more you know about diabetes, the better equipped you are to help your child.

As a parent, you are naturally anxious, but it's up to you to help your child accept his or her diabetes with a minimum of stress. The American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Hands Foundation, Hope for Aly, and JDRF can be of great help. Other parents who have faced the same problem and learned to cope with it are more than willing to share ideas and advice. You must learn to protect without dominating, to supervise while encouraging self-care. Work with your child for the best control, but remember that "ideal" control isn't always possible.

Your role as the parent of a child with diabetes will change as your child grows. Every child is different, of course, but there are some general guidelines you can follow at each stage. And there are some things you can keep in mind no matter what your child's age: Accept your child. Love, teach, guide, and discipline just as you would if diabetes were not a factor. Do not overprotect or overindulge. Accept your child's diabetes without guilt. Learning all you can about diabetes will help you overcome your fears and anxieties. And remember, you cannot control your child's diabetes by over controlling your child.

Your child's self image and self esteem are threatened by diabetes. Be understanding and supportive. Try to avoid unnecessary anxiety about "cheating." You don't want to cause guilt feelings, or make your child think he or she is "bad." Children who think are bad may act accordingly. Help your child plan ahead. No child can should be expected to assume complete responsibility for diabetes control at too early an age. But, ultimately, responsibility for eating properly, injecting insulin, testing blood sugar, and planning exercise will be the child's. Maturity, independence, self control, and self esteem will grow as your child learns self-care.

A child with diabetes is a child first, and a person with diabetes second. Like all children, yours needs to grow physically, socially, and emotionally. Alert parents who are relaxed, knowledgeable, tolerant, and accepting help in the growing process. Feelings of guilt and resentment lead to problems between spouses and between parents and children. Your child's diabetes is a challenge your whole family must face together. It is not a punishment for anything any of you did  

We as parents have our own pitfalls that we need to work on, some of those may be but are not limited to:

An overanxious parent creates an overanxious child who is overdependent. By doing everything for your child, you deny him or her the self-control and self-confidence necessary for an independent life.

An overindulgent parent feels dietary restrictions and daily injections are too much for a child to handle. He or she offers special treats while providing little discipline. Children of overindulgent parents may grow up under the impression that they are incompetent -- incapable of coping with their own problems -- which reinforces feelings of inadequacy.

A perfectionist parent may achieve good diabetes management in early childhood through discipline, but there are risks. The child may feel guilty about poor blood sugar test results, and may even alter a result to obtain parental approval. During adolescence, children of perfectionist parents may rebel -- against both their parents and their diabetes care programs.

An indifferent parent may force his or her child to seek attention through rebellion, by "cheating" on the diet, or by skipping insulin injections. Children of indifferent parents may become depressed because of the lack of discipline, support, and supervision in their lives. They also have a higher frequency of hospitalization.

 If you ever feel overwhelmed or need people to talk to the Diabetes Online Community is amazing and they are there to help you with what I mentioned above and so much more.

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