When I listened to Joe Solo talk a few weeks ago he gave very smart advice on handing the ownership of the diabetes over to the child with diabetes from the parent.
This is one sticky subject that I can never seem to be able to approach with parents of CWD because I am always nervous to offend, and I don't have a child. However, I have diabetes. I grew up with diabetes, and I have a great deal of concern for others living with diabetes.
I saw, in passing, a parent of CWD comment that they would love to have the cloud/CGM in the cloud set up for their child who is going off to university soon. My alarm bells were ringing. As I continued to click my way around other social media sites, I saw another parent ranting about how their 18 year old child doesn't check its blood sugar at 3 am so that parent was checking blood sugars at 3am.
Dear parents: give yourselves and your child a break. If your kids are in their late teens, they should be managing their own blood sugars. I say this because I lived it. I also say it because it was backed by Joe Solo, and I thought if he shares my opinion, then there has to be something there.
Here's the thing, once we become adults, parents don't get to have ownership over our health. They get to be interested, and they get to care and love and be concerned, but not monitor everything. In order to grow, accept and flourish with T1D we need parents to cut the cord.
We need to make mistakes. We need for our parents to chastise us for the mistakes, but not for the outcome.
What I mean by that is: if a high school student doesn't get up at 3am to check, and wakes up low at 4:30 am and eats 150g carbs and sleeps without correcting and wakes up super high, the high school student needs to be chastised for being irresponsible...not for the high blood sugar. It should get the same attention that missing a curfew, or not doing an assignment can do.
And I took that example directly from Joe. He knows his stuff being a CDE and a family therapist and all.
I just really feel for parents who are always stressed. I wonder if part of it is because they feel they are trying to take some of the 'stress' of living with a chronic condition away? Here's a hint: you can't. You can't fix it right now by staying up and checking someone's blood sugar, monitoring their food intake, or making sure they rotate their infusion sets. You can't take away that your child is living with a chronic illness. I know you want to, some parents more than anything in the world they would take that burden away. But you can't.
What you can do is fundraise. You can fundraise for JDRF, Diabetes Hands Foundation, Spare a Rose or any of the various diabetes charities. This means the world to me. When someone I love fundraises for my future it means more to me than any number or any question or expression of concern ever could.
You need to give yourself a break. Your teenager and young adult needs you to be their parent, not their pancreas. They should know to check their blood sugars throughout the day and if they don't you chastise them just like if they don't do their chores that day. You don't tell them it's because they could lose their kidneys or eyes or legs, you tell them because in order to be a functioning member of society, they have to live within boundaries and respect the fact that they have an extra task in life.
I know that I sound preachy and like I am dictating how to raise a child. I am definitely not. I don't know how to raise a child, but I know how to raise a diabetic.
I am saying that as a person who grew up with diabetes, using much scarier and less predictable insulins....we want our parents to take a break.
We want you to step back and trust us.
We want you to know that it is going to be ok.
As your (probably) peer, I want you to be healthy, happy and to live life to the fullest.
Please note this is not in reference to young children. If you wouldn't trust your child to cook themselves a grilled cheese or be able to stay home by themselves for a few hours, this probably doesn't apply.