My daughter is 16. Strong willed and sooooo smart, except for when it comes to taking care of herself! It is painful to watch! We are exhausted. She was diagnosed at age 5 and it has been difficult since then. She won’t talk to anyone-we have tried- she sits in silence and then yells at us the whole way home. She eats horribly and doesn’t test regularly. The CGM that she said she would try now sits on a shelf because she won’t wear it. Missing a lot of school and today we go to the doc to discuss her “full feeling” and my gut hopes that I am wrong with what the diagnosis will be. I want nothing more than for her to come to the realization that she needs to do better for herself. I have read teens often get there eventually. I just hope the damage she is doing isn’t so horrible that her life won’t be as beautifully full as I have always dreamed for her! Chat with me - I don’t know how to help her any more!
it’s so hurts(( this age is really difficult. and it’s really important to have a friend. does she have one? if yes, you may speak about your fears with he/she. he/she may help. or maybe went to psychologist, but I’m not sure if your daughter would want to have a visit
I’m 16, and I completely understand what both you and your daughter are going through. You just want what’s best for her–meanwhile, she wants to enjoy the freedom and “normalcy” that her peers are able to experience, and she’s angry that she can’t fit in.
It sounds like you’re doing a great job of trying to help her–you’ve done everything I would recommend. My main piece of advice, and the thing I think would help her the most, is to find her a friend who also has T1D. I am part of several group chats of “T1 Teens” and they have become some of my closest friends–it helps immensely to be able to talk to people who understand what I’m going through. If you want, feel free to pm me and I’ll give you my email or Snapchat to pass on to her. Knowing that she’s not alone will make a big difference; with a condition like this, it’s easy to feel isolated.
Thank you, She will not see a psychologist but a friend is a great thought
I would love to have her join a discussion chat or something like that! I will talk to her - this is a great thought! If she will try it I would truly appreciate your contact info for her!! Thank you and I will reach out if she will give it a try!
@Donnadwlad… I’m very sorry for both you and your and daughter.
Trust me when I say you’re truly not alone, even though it certainly feels that way. My daugher, who doesn’t have diabetes, can sometimes be truly awful. She’s very headstrong and loud to say the least.
I’ve had T1 x 46+ yrs, and was a truly awful teen. When I turned 12, I became anarexic. Therapists told my parents that I wanted to be incontrol of something in my life. At 15 I started drinking in an effort to fit in. This, along w being anarexic, caused multi inpatient hospital stays and months of missed school. My mom signed me up for a trial enabling me to be one of the first kids to use the first home glucometer. Since I stopped urine testing, she felt this might motivate me to test and be more compliant. It worked for about a week. I had Drs, Nurse Educators, even other kids tell me I wouldn’t live past 20 if I didn’t start taking care of myself, I would go blind, basically anything to get through to me. I paid no attention because I was fed up about being told what to do and how to live my life. I just wanted to do things my own way. What finally turned me around was my first pregnancy. I realized that it wasn’t about just me and I would do anything to make sure my baby would be born safe and healthy. After she was born, I realized I didn’t want to spend anymore time away from her then I had to. I also felt physically and emotionally good, making me strive to stay in good control. The last time I was in the hospital was to give birth to my son and haven’t had an admission for diabetes since 1985 which, I’m proud of.
Right now, I’m guessing your daughter is unhappy bc not only does she have age related problems but she also has to deal w a condition that gets to be physically and emotionally exhausting. Unfortunately if she’s physically off, her emotions are off as well. It’s a tough time not just for her but you as well. I can’t give a sure fire answer but w my daughter someone told me to pick my battles. It has helped cut down on the yelling.
As for diabetes, nagging, guilting, and scare tactics, non of those work and make things worse. 16yr olds tell us we just don’t get it. They feel we didn’t become sentient until they came along. One thing that really helped me was going to a peer support group. I met kids who I felt insynch with. I also went to summer camp and was a junior counselor helping the younger kids out. Ask your daughter’s healthcare team about nearby groups or get in touch w the JDRF. They can give you more info. In time your daughter will find her stride and things will calm down and, in two years there’s college to look forward to.
Thank you for your kind words! This certainly helps to discuss with others who understand! She is amazing (May be slightly biased ) and I pray that you all are correct and something turns her around soon!! I think she would be great as a camp counselor - great idea!! Thanks so much! I’m glad you are doing well and it helps me so much to hear your story!! Take care and thank you!
@Donnadwlad hi Donna, others have already said it so I’ll just add a few things I have observed. You are a great mom and you’d obviously walk through fire if it could help your daughter. As a parent - I get that. In fact, it’ would be a “no-brainer” if you had the option to do something or even take you daughter’s diabetes for yourself. The trick here is you don’t… and you can’t. You will undoubtedly have to do the worst and hardest thing that any parent could ever have to do - NOTHING - you have to let her handle it.
There is a lot of wisdom in an expression I learned “They don’t listen to what you say, they watch what you do”. This is not really the same as “actions speak louder than words”, in fact, to me, this means the model your daughter has of taking care of herself, is how you actually take care of yourself. Please consider thinking about that, and how you deal with your own doctors, dentists, exercise, diet, etc. Please also consider that you may not really have the perspective of a chronic disease that requires 100% attention - a life sentence with no time off ever, a condition that is unpleasant and painful, with the only reward for doing a good job is you get to feel normal for an hour or so. You may have some condition, and it may even be similar more or less, but in your daughter’s eyes it isn’t this one.
I was 12 when I was diagnosed, and so emotionally I have to realize that when I have a aversion, it’s my 12 year old brain that reacts first. even today (into my 50’s) in issues involving my health, I behave a lot like a terrified 12 year old boy. Some say that when you have emotional trauma - that your clock is unplugged at the same moment and unless you acknowledge it, that your first instincts will remain stuck there forever.
Stages of grief. anger is part of the process. the process cannot be rushed. No one gets to skip a step. Also, even though you’d throw yourself in front of a train for her - she truly believes you have no idea what she’s going through, and she’s the one in the most pain. . This isn’t a contest you want to be in.
Self esteem. I hated myself on so many levels, one of which was the embarrassing shame and utter failure of getting sick. It takes a long time and many direct observation for me to come to the conclusion that diabetes is not a 7 foot thick concrete wall end game, that it is merely an emotional speed bump, but it’s a conclusion that I have had to reach for myself. No one could have beat that into my head, this is a lesson that has to be lived in order to be understood.
Kids are resilient and tough. I didn’t test my blood sugar for decades. I eventually got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I stopped wishing my life was different and began to deal with the life I have, and when I let go of wishing I didn’t have diabetes anymore, and realized that I will take care of myself because it’s the right thing to do and I deserve to be happy, things improved. I am rooting for you both.
I am in the exact same situation. My daughter is also 16 and does not do well with taking her insulin or checking BSL. She got very sick in June (DKA) and was admitted to the hospital. I thought the whole ordeal would make her do better but it didn’t. She did agree to see a therapist; she goes every Wednesday however I don’t see improvement. Two Thursdays ago, we went to her 3 month Endo appointment only to find out that the numbers in her meter did not match the numbers on her log. She has been lying about them for weeks. The sent her directly to the emergency room because she had large ketones and BSL of 565. I say all of this to say that you are not alone. I struggle with this on a daily and its exhausting and heartbreaking. That’s what brought me to this forum because I knew there had to be other parents dealing with the same. I pray that the journey gets better for all of us.
Joe I don’t even know what to say! I just read your message to my husband and we both cried! It’s what we needed to hear and I think I have a whole new thought about how to approach this whole thing! First I am going to hug her so tight and apologize for not understanding! After that I hope she will connect with others who might be able to become friends - those who walk this walk with her daily! Thank you so much for your perspective! It has opened my eyes to some of what her words to us really mean.
I pray the same prayer!! Let’s stay in touch - it sounds like we have the same life!! Praying for you both!
Thank you so much. And I would love to keep in touch.
Teenage years are difficult for so many families with so many chronic conditions. It’s hard but requires a lot of patience. It will be an acceptance she needs to come to on her own - letting her know that you are sorry that she has to go through this and are here to help in whatever way you can, then gently stepping away. Be careful not to use harsh words and try to come from a place of non-judgement when talking about her diabetes. She needs to feel like you’re on her team against type 1! It’s a lot of validating her feelings and not trying to force her into anything. Like I said - a lot of patience needed.
It’s so great that there are such groups It’s so important for everyone to understand that you are not alone!
Hello Donna, My name is Aireana and i’m 15 years old I have only been diagnosed for about 4 years now but how your daughter is behaving is the way I acted when I was in the 8th grade and how I somewhat still behave now. I know I don’t know your daughter but the reason I acted/act this way is because I do not have a single friend that has Type 1 diabetes and it’s hard because as teens you just want to be like your friends and yes you still can prosper and live a full life with diabetes but it’s just harder as a teen when you have to stop and check your sugar or take a shot. But I found that talking to someone did somewhat help but everyone I talked to did not have diabetes so there was always a thought in my mind about how are they going to help me if they don’t even have diabetes and don’t really understand what i’m going through. So maybe find her a teen support group that might help.
Does a person with T1D have to use that God Awful log for every meal every day for the rest of their lives? That’s where we are running in to trouble. It IS exhausting. I’m the parent of a 15 year old who wants to get his license next year but with an a1c of 10 it’s not going to happen. It is motivating for him to check his numbers more often but we don’t use the stupid log book. and he thinks blue loop is a pain. The nursing staff will not correct his formula without one of those recording strategies. I can’t just email the doctor and tell him that his numbers are in the 300’s. So he’ll just sit here with high numbers until he gets admitted. I’m very frustrated. this is so unnecessary.
@tlj hi Tina, please get the book “Think like a pancreas” learn how to use insulin and you won’t need to call the doctor if his blood sugar is 209. Learn what to do and you can manage this completely by yourself. Or more importantly, he can do it by himself. This is the goal of type 1 treatment.
I threw my log away in the hospital when I was diagnosed 40 years ago.
Hi Tina @tlj, frustration was my nemesis for many of my 60+ years living with diabetes - and now in the most recent 15 or so years, with my wife’s guidance I have become very accepting when my BGL appears to go mountain climbing. I’ll hear the angel’s voice saying “forget about it, tomorrow’s another day” - and she is most often correct.
Over the years I’ve used a log book or a sheet of paper to record BG, carbs, insulin and activity - mostly for my own comfort like, “… did I take insulin at lunch?” and also for when I worked on projects developing tools like HbA1c and MDI. The doctors and researchers working on those projects knew I had been a statistician and knew I was somewhat anal. If your son thinks the log is a nuisance, let him ditch the thing until he changes his mind.
As for your son’s readings in the 300’s, he can learn how to make a correction and get readings where he want them - just don’t overcorrect and “stack insulin”. Rather than needing to make corrections, it would be MUCH preferred if he learns to count carbohydrates better and use an accurate Insulin: Carb ratio - how recently were his carb ratios validated? Ratios change frequently, especially with the change of season. I’m not a medical doctor, but I’d be happy to share with him some of the finer points I’ve learned over the years.
Hi! I’m Jason and I’m a newbie here. I read your stories and realize that I’m not alone with my problem. My daughter is 14 (was diagnosed T1D two years ago) and I raise her on my own. Sometimes it seems she doesn’t understand how careful she should be about her health, she only wants to be like her peers and do the same. Recently I noticed cigarette smell on her hair. I knew she would deny everything and I asked my sister to talk to her. My daughter said that she tried to smoke but didn’t like that and she isn’t going to continue. I spent a lot of time explaining to her all the consequences of smoking in her condition (there are a good article about this on VapingDaily). I never expected her even to try.
I guess I should take a different approach, but I don’t know what to do. Could anybody help me with advice?
Hi. As an ex smoker, for me, it was a symptom of depression. I suggest therapy if she is open to it.