Suggestions for dealing with a well-meaning grandmother

So both of our kids (ages 5 & 3) were recently diagnosed with type 1. Prior to that, we had very limited knowledge or understanding of the disease itself, so the last month has been whirlwind of learning and research to try to understand as much as we can. Our medical care team has been awesome and we speak to them probably 2-3 times a week to report BG numbers, ask questions, adjust dosing, etc. So being so new to everything, we try to follow the care teams instructions as close as possible. We’re by no means perfect, and are still learning so we’ve made some mistakes along the way.

My mother-in-law has been very engaged in the training and even came to the hospital to learn how to figure carbs, dosing, and injecting as well. So we’re very grateful for her, and have expressed that to her on several occasions. She is, however, a very head strong individual who always like to think she’s got everything figured out. She recently asked if the grandkids could spend the night at her house, which they used to do on a somewhat regular basis. They love going, and she loves having them. But since their diagnosis, they haven’t spent the night, and some of the “research” she’s done has us a little leery about doing so right now. It’s a lot of home remedy type stuff that makes us nervous that she may try to implement due to her “I know what’s best” attitude. So we’ve been up front with her that we aren’t comfortable with an overnight trip right now, and explained the reasons why. All this has seemed to do, is offend her and have her go to the extreme of saying, well I guess you just don’t want me in the kids lives anymore…which is absolutely not the case, but she likes to play the victim when things don’t go how she wants them to.

Anyway, I’m just wondering if any other parents have had to deal with this type of issue, and also wanting suggestions on how to approach this maybe differently. Should we have lied, and just said they kids had a birthday party to go to or something? We thought being honest with a gentle touch was the best way, but now we’re second guessing ourselves. Or maybe we’re just being overly protective? Like I said, we’re so new to this, that everything right now is kind of black and white, but I know as things get more familiar, there’s going to be some grey areas…

Thanks in advance

@ryanandjenn hi Ryan,
your mother in law had me right up to when she said that. in my little head it indicates a scary immature way of dealing with emotions and using the children as leverage.

the tough thing is keeping the peace and protecting your kids at the same time. at some point in the near future your kids will be in the hands of the school nurse (with a 504 plan hopefully) and with teachers., bus drivers, friends with parents less trained than you, etc.

keep your mother in law in the loop, and she’ll learn enough to be able to take them for an overnight. maybe at first you need to go on the overnight as well. be careful of the internet… google “research” will be a combination of helpful and useful information mixed in with absolute BS. as long as your mother in law sticks to the facts she’ll be okay. train your kids, they are the ones that need preparing for the future when they are in charge of their meds. good luck!

Hi Ryan and Jenn,

I agree with @joe, and I think the best solution seems to be the two of you staying at your mother-in-law’s house with the kids the first few times. That way, she can see the T1D nighttime routine and any complications that might come up, and then you can observe her handling it with the kids on her own with the two of you being hands-off for a night or two. Throughout those nights, maybe you could encourage her to ask questions and kind of think out loud about the “research” she’s done. Then, when she brings up something that just doesn’t make sense or is not in the best interest of the kids, you can gently correct her with facts from your medical team and explain why the way you normally manage the kids’ T1D is the best way.

You can also always remind her that type one diabetes is a very individual disease and affects each person differently, which is why doing research sometimes isn’t the best thing because information and stories you find on the internet might work for one diabetic but are not the best way to care for another diabetic. And that’s why you have to closely follow the advice of your kids’ medical team, because they have tailored the plans to fit each child’s needs.

Best of luck!

Hi Ryan, even after 15 years we still have family asking if my son can eat what he wants. Try to remember they have good intentions, but may not have the knowledge you do.
If I recall, your kids are young? If they’re not on a CGM yet, I would be leary of letting them spend the night with anybody. They may not be aware of their low BG symptoms yet or be able to communicate them. My son had an emergency event while at the beach with grandparents, it was very scary for all, and he was 11-12 years old. Grandparents would need to be trained to give Glucagon, which I can tell you from personal experience, is not easy to do. I would maybe just tell them you don’t want to burden them with all that’s involved in caring for them overnight. They probably don’t really have a realistic idea of what that entails! Hope this helps, sounds like you are adjusting well. Best wishes, Cathy

Pretty much I am with everyone else who sees that kind of all or nothing response as emotional manipulation. I totally understand the compulsion to see the situation as a jigsaw puzzle, that there must be some way to get all the pieces to fit together so that everyone is happy enough. Let go of that compulsion, not just in regards to diabetes. Your number one responsibility is the care and protection of your kids. “I am sorry you see my concerns as an all or nothing situation.” Repeat as necessary with the fore-knowledge that she might pout and be angry. And this stance must be unified between you and your partner (her child). And in fact, her child should be the one delivering that message.

We have had to deal with issues regarding my mother. Although she understands why our son will not stay the night until he gets older. The issues we have are things like my mom giving him sips of her soda or sweet tea or giving him a few French fries(not to mention that we do not eat fast food), but I always know when she has done this because he has high BG after she leaves our house. I have talked to her on several occasions about this and she still does it! It worries me because she does not check his BG or ask me beforehand. There has been times due to this she stopped coming over or talking on the phone to me because I told her giving him food or drinks without knowing his BG could hurt him.