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September 27, 2011

Behavior, Hyperglycemia and DKA

Question from Glasgow, Scotland:

My daughter is very difficult. Six years after diagnosis, she still does not like to discuss the illness. She is non-communicative with specialists at clinic appointments. Her control has been poor for last two years. She is refusing all offers of help to establish cause of overnight highs (continuous glucose monitoring device). She refuses to agree to meet up with girls of same age with same problem to discuss. My daughter does not admit to feeling under par most of time which she most surely is, with the swinging from low to high all the time. How can she be persuaded to accept help?


From: DTeam Staff

Children and adolescents who find it difficult to talk openly about living with diabetes certainly do struggle more, and it sounds like your daughter is hurting a great deal. However, it is very hard to let others know how much of an emotional burden diabetes is and reach out for help if it�s so difficult to even have a conversation about it.

I find that, sometimes, teenagers will go to a mental health specialist with expertise in diabetes if it is presented to them – not as an appointment to help them, but instead as an appointment to help the parents. Saying something like: “I see that you are really hurting and that diabetes is never ending and exhausting and frustrating. I worry about you and I do not know how to help you, but I love you and I want to find some ways that I can help. So, I’m asking you to attend an appointment with a specialist in diabetes that will work with me so I can figure out how to help. You don’t need to say anything at that visit, but I need you to be with me, and be there to support me as I learn how to do things to help.”

If your child is still opposed to going, then it is important for you to decide where you want to draw the line with respect to parenting and discipline. The idea here is that checking blood sugars and getting insulin is non-negotiable. If she does not complete these tasks on her own, then you need to do them for her. (It does not matter who does them as long as they get done).

I hope these thoughts are helpful to you and to your child.