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March 4, 2006

Behavior

Question from Vinton, Virginia, USA:

My daughter has been a diabetic since she was 18 months old. I need to mention that she has other medical problems (seizures and polymorphic ventricular tachycardia). She has an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator). Over the last year, we have had a lot of defiant behavior. She has been lying about her blood sugars, not taking her medications and sneaking foods that she is not supposed to have. I have asked her doctor for different ideas on how to help. He suggested a counselor. I have been taking her to one, but she still continues with this behavior. I make her take her pills in front of me and, basically, treat her like a two year old. Do you have any other suggestions for me that I might try? I have tried just about everything from grounding to taking away things that she enjoys and nothing seems to help.

Answer:

Your daughter has a complex medical history and her medical issues may have an impact on her behaviors. It is likely that there is not a simple solution to your concerns. I recommend you seek a re-evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in working with medically complex children and teenagers. Please ask your diabetes team and your daughter’s pediatrician for referrals. Even if that specialist is not near your home, your family would benefit from seeing that person for a comprehensive evaluation to help develop a treatment plan.

JWB