Helping my child balance friends and expectations

Hi all! Quick background. I am the mother of a little girl who was diagnosed with T1 last December at age 6. After the initial shock of the diagnosis wore off, I feel like we have all been managing this pretty well since then. My daughter is now 7 and is in the second grade. I guess it’s the age now, because lately she has been getting invited to more and more activities, parties, sleepovers, which most parents are expected to drop their child off at. I’m really struggling as a parent with all of this. Obviously, I am not going to drop her off anywhere until she is able to fully manage this by herself (currently she is doing a great job of checking her blood sugar but is not comfortable giving herself injections). Even then I’m not sure I feel good about leaving her with anyone who isn’t fully aware of the complications of T1 and trained in what to do should her sugar get low/high, etc.

Recently she was invited to a Halloween party her friend is hosting next weekend (which is a drop off party). When I told her I would be attending with her, I noticed she seemed a little embarrassed. This is the first time I’ve ever seen her have that kind of emotion. Suddenly, I find that I am really angry that she has to be different from everyone else (being the only girl who has to have her mom or dad go everywhere with her).

I am interested in hearing how other parents managed activities and social expectations of young children with diabetes. How did you manage it? At what age or maturity level did you begin allowing your child to go places without you? How did you communicate with other parents of friends, etc?

Thank you!

@jherron007 Hi Jennifer,

this is a tough one and I hope you get more than me replying.

Here’s what I know; there will be some parents you trust, there will be other parents where it’s not so much. The difference is in your relationship with the other parents. Probably the best thing is open and honest communications. I would not expect anyone on earth (including the school nurse) to know what to do with T1 diabetes, like I know.

So when you find parents that you seem to trust, that’s the first starting point. You will likely have or be developing your own 504 plan with the school, you can use this format with other parents, complete with phone numbers, what’s cool and what’s not cool. When and what to do for most things but even though we think it’s easy, don’t expect anyone to know the difference between sugar free and no sugar added.

so my son does not have diabetes, he has life threatening allergies. I don’t expect another person alive, including my own mom, to remember what my son cannot be exposed to. That’s my job. On drop off parties, I blend into the background and disappear as best I can, but unless he is around other, completely trusted parents, or until he can do it by himself - I’ll be right there and that’s just the simple reality.

I’m not mad that he’s different… for one I’d be afraid he would pick up on that anger (they are like little mimic computers) and think I was angry with him. For another, everyone has some kind of cross to bear, whether it’s t1 or peanut allergies, or some other thing… I am just glad to be around him and it is what it is.

Hi! I know how hard that is, I was diagnosed when I was 2 years old & I’m now 18! My mom was always so worried about me so we ALWAYS had sleepovers with my friends at my house throughout elementary & middle school! My mom gave me an emergency phone so if I went low I could call! She always packed emergency food & juice in my bag if I went anywhere! She also made a simple sheet on what to do if I was low or high! I did hang out with friends in elementary but my mom always tested my blood sugar before I left & made sure my friends parents knew what to do in case of emergency! The phone was the best thing she could have done for me, I only had my families in it and it didn’t have internet or anything!

My son is 10 and diagnosed at 2. I’ve always stayed at parties with him because he often drops low with activity and doesn’t always recognize it (and he also has celiac so safe food is always an issue). It hasn’t bothered him yet, because there has usually been at least one other parent who also stayed. I often offer to help the host of the party out with helping with activities, cleaning up, helping with general party duties, etc., so I’m not just sitting and watching him the entire time, but there if he needs help. I’ve also sat outside in the hallway or my car at activities he has attended where parents aren’t “allowed” to stay. Then I’m close by if needed (or in your case to bolus for any food), but not attending the occasion. I often tell my son that his health and safety come first, and that the option is to not go, or have me there. Maybe ask her what she would prefer - not attend, or attend with you present.