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June 26, 2000

Behavior

Question from San Antonio, Texas, USA:

My 10 year son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a little over a month ago. He has handled the situation well, however, he does not like to talk about it or read anything about diabetes. Is this a normal reaction for his age? He is aware this will be with him forever but just doesn't want to discuss it. How can we help him talk about it or should we let him bring it up himself?

Answer:

At age 10, “forever” is hard to define — does your son like to paint, draw, write, or build things? Often, when words fail, I can get children to reveal their feelings through these different avenues. One little girl I recall well drew a picture of diabetes for me — it was a very scary picture! She then told me all about it and finally cried. If your son can create something that speaks for him then you will begin to see how he really does feel. Don’t push him to talk, but listen, listen, listen for the small things that indicate feelings and engage him in the ways I have suggested.

I believe you will hear him telling you all you need to know.

CMB