My 18 yrs old T1D son drinks, smokes, and misses his insulin shots! HELP!

Hello everyone.  My son was diagnosed in March of 2007 at the age of 13.  I helped him a lot during the first four years and we did good then he went to live with his father for a year.  He managed his diabetes amazingly well with the help of his father but failed his last year of high school miserably.  After that year he came back home to me to finish his high school and has rebelled like no teen has rebelled.  He has coming home drunk, stoned, and with attitude to boot and takes poor care of himself and his diabetes.  These last 8 months have been an up hill battle trying to get him back on track with me trying many different tactics to get him to take care of himself.  The hardest is getting him to quit smoking and I fear he will have to suffer through some major damage before  he will clue in that this habit  just isn't worth it.  He has been lucky so far with having only spent one day in hospital to bring down his BG but I'm waiting for the big day to come when it's more serious.  Please, please let me know I'm not the only one going through this and give me hope that this is just a passing phase.  I know he has experience depression because of diabetes and he is in counceling for it  but he just doesn't seem to see the big picture or look past the here and now.  His body can handle the high BG but this won't last forever and I'm hoping there won't be too much damage done and he can live a full long life.  That all I want for my boy!!!

you are not the only one going through this, although I can see how you could feel alone.

I quietly abused myself and did the absolute minimum for my diabetes issues for many years before changing, but I eventually felt sick of feeling sick.   It wasn't a miracle, no one yelled or threatened me into it, and it wasn't anything I read or had someone say to me -  I just got tired of it and couldn't make believe that I wasn't sick anymore and when that happened, I made changes that were good for me.

it's amazing how much pumishment our body can take, I have hope he gets through it fast and I wish you both luck.  

One thing you can do is take good care of yourself, and try not to enable or accept unacceptable behaviors.  I don't mean any offense, but if his life is making your life crazy I would suggest taking a look at Al-anon or CODA for your own support and well being.  Those groups and their support information can be found on Google.  

Thanks Joe.  Some days his behavior does drive me "nuts".  I am currently suffering some health issues because of stress and I do feel alone mostly due to location in where we live.  It is a very small community in the north which is desolate from many services that would be helpful for us.  Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted was my daily way of living but I'm slowly turning that around by putting my foot down.  I'm currently going through a messy divorce so there are no parental collaborations between his father and I which doesn't make things easier.  I can only hope he realizes one day like you have that feeling sick everyday just isn't worth it.  

I hate that you and your son are in this situation, but it's pretty common for diabetic teens.  I partied through my last year of high school and most of college.  Skipped shots and ignored my diabetes.  My parents tried counseling but it didn't help me.  Even though I was acting cavalier, I was stressed on the inside about my diabetes.

Finally I grew up and realized I was wasting a lot of time recovering from highs and lows all the time.  Now I'm 39 and don't have any serious complications.  It's not a guarantee that your son will sail through this fine, but know there are lots of us out there who don't suffer terrible consequences from being young and reckless.  

It's okay for you to put limits on your son, like he can't use the car unless he tests in front of you and the readding is between 100 - 250 (make sure he's not just pulling up a good reading from the machine's memory).  Or that he loses his cell phone if his A1c is above a 10 or some other number that's reasonable even if he's struggling.    

Thank you for these posts. My son has been smoking and really not caring much about his health and missing testing and taking his insulin when he feels like it. Just looking for ways to make him take this a little more seriously. I am getting him into some counseling and having him get more involved in some of the organizations. This is good information for me so I pray for all of you and your families. Thank you!


It sounds like you are doing the right things to help your son. You can find your JDRF local chapter by going to this link and putting in your zip code Find Local Chapter for Type 1 Diabetes Support

My son is 16 now…diagnosed at 11. I feel your frustrations as my son has come to be hateful, miserable, and just plain defiant of everything and everyone. I found cigarettes in his book bag a few months ago only for him to create some excuse/story of how they got there. I know he’s smoked pot but thankfully none of these habits are recurring. Simply normal teenage phases. However, the only difference is that he has T1D. As adults we see their mistakes…they don’t. Its like talking to a brick wall sometimes. He isn’t on the pump for the very reason that he is irresponsible and his doc will not allow it. He’s been told to get his A1C below 9 and she’ll consider it. That is a long way off.

I was introduced to an adult mentor for my son in our local chapter of JDRF. This is new for us but could also possibly help if you could get one for your son.

Yes…thats my goal with his Dr, is to recommend anything that will help him to understand the severity and I think a Mentor would be great! Thank you!