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August 22, 2002

Other Social Issues

Question from Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, USA:

My 16 year old daughter, who has had type 1 diabetes since she was three years old and has been on the insulin pump for almost four years, is in good control. She is a very pretty girl, and looks to be a lot older than just 16. Because of this, she gets a lot of boys coming on to her. She enjoys the attention she gets but is not interested in dating. All of her friends are boy crazy, and my daughter had rather be outside with her pets. She had a male best friend who she hung out with for almost a year. He finally gave up on her and started dating someone else when she refused a good night kiss. She thinks kissing is just gross. My daughter is a very good student and does not show any psychologic problems at all. Does her diabetes have anything to do with her attitude and slow approach toward the opposite sex? Don't get me wrong, I don't want my daughter to be sexually active, but I wonder what is going on with her. She has a 18 year old body, with a 10 year old mind when it comes to boys. Is this normal?

Answer:

You have not said much in your question about how your daughter feels about having type 1 diabetes and wearing an insulin pump. Despite her good control, she may be wary of allowing closeness and explaining her pump to possible boyfriends. She may think it is a “turn off” or that she could be rejected.

Perhaps she is developing at her own pace and in her own way in terms of intimate relationships, and it may have nothing at all to do with diabetes. Is it worrying her? Is her lack of a guy friend more worrisome to you? It would be a mistake to think that diabetes is at the root of all variances in behavior. Why not invite your daughter out to lunch and tell her you are happy to have her company before some fella steals her away and monopolizes all of her time!

CMB