Siblings of T1D

My older sons seems to be the one having the hardest time coping with his brothers T1D. He is feeling neglected and like his brother is getting all the attention. At the same time he wants to help out. What do you teach a 10 year old sibling about how to help? Are there any good books that help teach them. I have started to spend some one on one time with him by taking him out for breakfast once a week. Any other ideas on how to help him cope?

April @Amfelch ,

I can’t really say, other than from feedback I have received from my six siblings, how the sibling of a T1D would feel. I do know that when growing up that it wasn’t apparent to me that I was treated differently than my sisters and brothers - except during my first few months certain quantities of food was put aside for me in the fridge so I could learn to pace my daily eating. I had all my usual “chores” continuing and I was not restricted from, or refused to participate in any activity. Yes, I learned to live a full life despite the diabetes.

You don’t say the age of your child with diabetes, but if the child is anything but an infant, I would encourage your older son to assist him as long as he isn’t intrusive. I know that some days I was really relieved when one of my siblings offered to give me my shot in an arm and allow my thighs a days respite from having a needle shoved in. This was decades before blood testing meter came along.

A ten year old boy is certainly old enough, with a little training, to measure doses, give injections and do blood testing. At age three or four our granddaughter, who lived with us, was testing my blood and by five was giving me my meal shots - yes, I always double checked the dose. At age eight of nine she was filling pump reservoirs and implanting infusion sets.

just a thought, live as much as possible a normal family life with all the bickering, rivalry, loving and caring and do not build a cage about your younger son just because …

ditto @Dennis, but for a 10 year old, this will probably be absorbed into “normal life” pretty quickly and become a non-issue.

my 3 year old son “helped” me test my blood sugar, he’s pretty darned good at getting the strip into the machine (the Bayer is more particular about strip alignment then my old One-Touch), and then he tells me “the numbers”. He’s almost 6 now and once in a while he’ll ask me if it was “ouchy” when I put in a new infusion set. Transparency and some participation would be my opinion and before too long he’ll forget it’s different. cheers!

Thanks for the feed back. My son with diabetes is 7 and was just diagnosed at the beginning of August. I am amazed at how independent he is becoming (with our supervision) with his diabetic care. Doing his own blood sugars but still afraid to do his own shot. I am not sure if he would be willing to let his brother give him a shot. We are trying to be as “normal” a family as we can. Everyone still has their cores and we don’t let the younger one get out of them because he is a diabetic. Still doing all the things we did before diabetes entered our lives. Trying to treat them as equally as we can but there are times when the 7 year old does need more attention. And they still fight like crazy as siblings do. The older one gets mad when we are out shopping and I say no to that candy bar at the checkout. It’s not because I don’t want them to have it but he doesn’t get that his brother can’t eat it right there and then and he will eat it in front of him. Then I get to hear that before he had diabetes you would have let me get that. He knows how to make a person feel guilty!

My oldest daughter who is 9 was diagnosed at the beginning of August as well, her sister who is 7 had a hard time with some “attention” issues as well. Sometimes she still does, instead of using “treats” as rewards for good behavior or good grades, I have come up with new ways to make things more equal in a sense. Such as, extra free time at bedtime to do whatever they want (10 mins) 1 free pass no bed making, 15 mins one-on-one time with mom or dad, xtra chore money etc! This way sweets were avoided completely. And it has worked actuaully well. I found that my 7 yr old was acting out, to get attention… crying, not listening or sayin the same things as your child would say “we USED to be able or BEFORE”… i knew i had to something. Not only did i know it hurt her older sisters feelings when she said these things-as if she chose or wanted this to happen to her- but we all had to make adjustments. So I had to sit both my daughter’s and say, we will have NEW goals and no more talk of how it USED to be… we are still the SAME! We as a family must learn how to change like the seasons (life can change quickly). I think when i explained it that way, my 7 yr old was alot more calm, and no longer cares so much about candy when we go to the store. However, when i do measure out big sister candy… i am guilty of sneaking her some (no harm in it, besides she is a helper with counting the carbs!)

It’s hard. My daughter was diagnosed when she was 8 and my son was 10. Now almost 3 years later I still sometimes hear the life isn’t fair. My son now helps with getting her supplies for site changes and helping her count carbs. It gets easier as they get older. My son likes to ask for goodies when we are put alone. We will grab something occasionally, but I do the same with my daughter. We also have changed the way we all eat in the house so that it makes it a little easier on my daughter. Also doing time alone with each child helps reduce the feeling of being neglected.