Out of Control 11 Year Old Daughter

Our daughter was diagnosed with diabetes about almost 11 months ago. For about 6-8 months before that she started to have some major temper tantrums a couple times per week than would consist of her screaming at the top of her lungs for up to a couple of hours. We took her to a counselor who gave her some different ideas on how to get rid of her anger and who told us to begin taking some parenting classes as well. Our daughter never seemed to be in control enough to use the "other" ways to cope with her anger. The parenting classes seemed to be causing problems in our marriage (always critisizing each others parenting choices). In the mean time we noticed our daughter was losing weight, sleeping all the time, and still continuing to have these drawn out temper tantrums. Finally we decided to visit our Pediatrician and he sent her for an EEG to see if maybe these episodes were actually seizures. The tests came back good. One day after racking my brains on why she could be losing so much weight, noticing we were stopping at almost every bathroom we ever passed and but the time she put her lips to a bottle of water/drink it was all gone in a flash - Diabetes popped into my head. We took her back to the pediatrician and asked for him to send her for a diabetes test and he reluctantly agreed and the next day she was admitted into the hospital and started on insulin. We figured that was it, maybe it was the diabetes that made her so out of control, now that she was on insulin it would all go away. No, the temper tantrums still continued. So we went back to the doctor and he said that maybe she was depressed and put her on some antidepressants. At first they seemed to help, but as time went by it seemed that they didn't have the same affect as the did at first. So now almost 10 months later she is having these temper tantrums almost every day, sometimes 2-3 times per day. They can last up from 1 to 3 hours. They consist of her screaming at the top of her lungs, kicking, hitting, pinching & punching us (my husband & I), slamming her bedroom door repeatedly, breaking things. She has become a compulsive liar, she is on an emotional rollercoaster, either fake happy, angry, sad, or once in a blue moon herself (not very often). The doctor doubled her dose of antidepressants and it never made a difference what so ever. She went from being a straight A student - to someone who doesn't even hand in their work. She has conflict with absolutely everyone she comes in contact with. She hangs out with no one except her brother at school. She started swearing at kids at school as they were always calling her names such a spaz. Our pediatrician has referred her to a Child Psychologist at the local Child & Adolescent Treatment Centre here in our town. We were going to have to wait for over a month to see him and then our daughter started hitting our 8 year old son and we couldn't take it anymore so she was admitted into the Crisis Unit at the Child & Adolescent Treatment Centre for a week long assessment were she will see that Psychologist & a Child Psychiatrist along with a full team of support staff right away. It's scary too for the fact that she is the first Type 1 Diabetic child they have ever had admitted to stay in their facility - and are not very familiar with the disease. Her sugars have been so high lately ranging from the high teens to the low 30's (Canadian). I have called our diabetes clinic (which is located 2 hours from our city) and they are always very helpful but have been not able to come up with any answers. Their only idea was to get rid of the insulin and try a new batch. We've done that and no success. Apparently her 1 unit for every 5 carb ratio is as high as they usually go. We've since then raised her Lantus up to 28 units per day and hopefully may see the numbers go down (not as of yet). I am just so scared for my daughter. I just pray that someone with be able to bring back our little girl to us before it's too late. Any advice would help.

Hi Kara,

I don't have an answer for you, and I have no experience as I'm not a parent..but from personally experience the high blood sugars strike me as a possible reason. Has she been running high this whole time, or just while she's been in the care of the "Child & Adolescent Treatment Centre"? A reading of 30, could be contributing. Even as an adult..when my level goes as high as 30 I get very cranky..and as a pre-teen when my blood sugar was high..I would through fits as well until my levels went down. Not as bad as you're describing, but fits and anger nonetheless.

I'm not surprised her Lantus is so high, I was doing an average of 30-34units of Humulin N from the age of 10-18 when they finally switched me to Lantus and lowered it to a total of 20units/day. Maybe ask them about splitting it into an AM and PM shot of Lantus if it isn't already? A carb ratio of 1:5 seems really low to me as well..even for a 11year old especially with having such high numbers.. but maybe her body is just not reacting to the insulin she's on for short-acting. Maybe talk to them about trying a different short acting insulin?

I really hope that the simple solution is to change her insulin or her doses, to lower her blood sugars. An 11year old on anti-depressants(and a double dose at that!) can not be healthy for her and having to gain control over her levels isn't easy, but has to be done nonetheless!

Just remember that this isn't your fault or your partners fault, and you need to stick together and work together to help her. The last thing she needs right now to see witness any stress between the two of you, especially over her(as someone from a "broken home" and two re-marriages, fighting and arguring never helped me keep from getting angry and throwing things when my blood sugar went too high).

I hope they can help her and she goes back to being her "old" self soon!



This is a difficult one.  Have the doctor run tests for Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

I am so sorry you have to deal with all of this. I am not a parent so the only advice I can give you is from my experience as a camp counselor for diabetic kids. It is very possible that her blood sugars have nothing at all to do with the amount of insulin she is supposed to be taking etc. I obviously don't know your daughter or the situation beyond what you have told us however it appears to me as if she is sneaking food and not giving herself insulin for it or purposefully giving herself too little insulin. This would not be difficult to do seeing as the program she is currently in does not have much experience with T1. I will tell you that things like this even happen at our camp where we have doctors and nurses who deal with the disease year round. Giving too little/ too much insulin is not an uncommon way for diabetics to act out when there are other issues going on in their lives. Some of the kids who exhibit these behaviors do not act out in other way. You mentioned that she has become a compulsive liar and this may just be part of that. In terms of her tantrums the only thing that comes to mind (from the perspective of a psych major) is that some kind of trauma occurred or resurface not long before this incident started though I truly hope this is not the case. As someone who has personal experience dealing with trauma of my own I never did tell my parents about it although we are very close and did not talk to a professional about it until very recently even though I had the opportunity to do so many times before. Please just remember that none of this is your fault ( I am scared to tell my parents about my own issues for fear that they will blame themselves though none of it has anything to do with them). It sounds like you are great parents who are doing everything in your power to help your daughter get better. I truly wish you the best in dealing with all that life has thrown at you.

Thanks for all of your support and kind words, I some things to go to the doctor with now and it's just so great knowing that there is people who know what it's like to have a child with Type 1 Diabetes. It seems that people who don't understand just criticize us, but it's so comforting to know that there are people such as yourselves that are so helpful and supportive. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

*Also we went to visit our daughter yesterday at the Treatment Centre and apparently she had no outbursts (which we were old would probably not happen since she's not comfortable with her surroundings yet) BUT her blood sugar was at a normal range yesterday and we haven't seen that for like ever, so that's really positive!