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May 1, 2012

Behavior

Question from Bridgeport, Ohio, USA:

My 17-year-old son who has had type 1 diabetes for five years. The last 2.5 years, he has been rebellious about taking care of himself. He will not test before eating or going to bed. He lies about his readings and, generally, just does not care. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this? Is this normal behavior of is he just being difficult? I am at the end of my rope. I am so afraid he is hurting his body beyond repair.

Answer:

It is not at all unusual for a person with diabetes to become sick of doing everything, every day, all the time. It is a never-ending, frustrating disease. However, being sick of it is quite different than not completing the tasks (checking blood sugars, getting insulin) that are necessary for health and well being. So, while your son has every right to be angry and frustrated, his diabetes tasks must be completed. If he is unwilling to do these tasks, then you must do them for him, as not doing them at all is not-negotiable (just as drinking and driving is not negotiable or staying out all night at a party is not negotiable). If you feel you need support in order to clearly set rules and limits, please contact your child�s diabetes team, your pediatrician and your local office for the American Diabetes Association for names of psychologists, social workers or psychiatrists that understand diabetes and teenagers.

JWB