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Teenage Diabetics
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Teenage Diabetics

How the hell does anyone cope with diabetic teenagers?  My 15 year old is hopelssly out of control, using her condition as an excuse to skip school as often as possible, do as little as possible, using her 'food' money to buy fags and worse, losing weight, hb1c off the chart, etc., etc....I feel she uses her condition to manipulate me....Help!
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I was 15 years old when I was diagnosed. I remember being very very angry and extremely depressed!!!

Your daughter's behavior is perfectly normal for what she is going through!

She is embarassed. That is why she does not want to go to school. Teenagers are mortifyingly cruel!!!

She is smoking because the nicotene high makes her feel better. In Diabetics, it even lowers high blood sugar. Smoking when I had high blood sugar used to make me feel better, so I am speaking from experience.

She is losing weight because she is now afraid to eat! I remember being scared to death to put ANYTHING in my mouth for fear of a shot...

She is not using her condition to manipulate you. I can promise you that. She is a teenage girl, and if that isn't hard enough, she is a Diabetic teenager girl. Think about this from her point of view for a few minutes, seriously.

You need to not get angry with her or yell at her or put her down in anyway. Instead, ask her what she needs, wants, or if there is anything you are not doing for her that she thinks you should be.

My mom and dad supported my Diabetes by not buying junk food or keeping it in the house. They would eat it at work, if they wanted it. My mom and I would walk the dog together, to get healthy exercise. My dad even called his brother for me, who is also a type 1 Diabetic, and let me talk to him and spend time with him to ask him questions and things.

I highly recommend your daughter meet some other Diabetics her age and a little older so she can see that she is not alone. She may often yell at you, "You don't understand! You're not Diabetic!!" So be ready for this.

It's horrible scary, agrivating, and extremely depressing to be a teenage diabetic.

Just remember that and love your daughter no matter what. She is only acting the way she is because she feels scared and alone.
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hi, im so glad you posted, my daughter is 16yrs old diagnosed at age 9. she also is giving me hell, she is in and out of hospital like a yoyo. she is currently in the kids hosp with 1:1 care from the eating diorders unit, she has been giving hardly any insulin and has lost alot of weight so she was threatened with being sectioned under the mental health act so ended up going in voluntarily. her hba1c was 14.4(am in uk not sure if we use same measure?). she is going to be sent to the eating disorders unit at the begining of the week.i understand completly how hard it is to parent these girls, its down right immpossible at times, they run so high and out of control i think and have been told they lose the ability to be rational.  you need to ask for some outside pychological help, i know your daughter will not want it but i just had to and im glad we have, she is getting an extremely high level of care and it is starting to work, only yesterday she said she wanted to change how she is feeling so that she is able to care for herself properly.i also relate to the manipulation you mentioned and then the trust issues come in, i have reached a stage where i cant trust her at the moment, she does not do what she says she will and is extremely secretive regarding insulin injections and as for blood sugars well thats a big joke she never does them unless she is hosp where she has no choice, ring any bells! this last week things have been very scarey for both of us but i think we had to reach this crisis point in order for things to begin to change, she knew and i knew that she was sick but the speed at which things happened and at the high level of individual she has been given has made us both realise that she is really sick and she or me for that matter have no choice but to take the help offered otherwise she will be detained until they feel she is well enough.
sorry ive gone on a bit but i was feeling so alone with all this, am a sole parent now, its such a relief to talk with some one who is facing similar challenges(although for you of course i wish you werent) but you are not alone, maybe we could offer each other a shoulder to lean on when times are hard(and at the moment thats pretty much all the time!) also re the weight loss, its a much much bigger issue when the teenager also has diabetes because it is such a dangerous mix, if you saw my daughter on the street you would think yeah shes thin but she is not emaciated, they jump in quickly to prevent them endangering thier lives basically. let me know where you live cause i know how to get the right help quickly as we have just done it, also not long back from living in oz so also know that but as your probably in u.s i wont be able to offer much practical help but i would love to offer some emotional support, its hard to talk to people who dont really understand the day to day battles and worries we face,you take care and please please post back, we can help each other im sure, will talk soon louise  
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just wanted to bump this up in case you miss it
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trying one last bump up in case you havent been on, louise
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Have you tried putting her on the pump? This usually works quite well to regulate blood sugar and eliminates the shot each time she wants to eat. I'm not the diabetic in my family but if it were me, I know I would think twice before eating if it meant a shot. My son is 15 (diagnosed at 13) and is on the Medtronic Minimed pump and it's great. Aside from inserting in a new site every three or four days. But he eats (unfortunately) just a normal teenager but the pump seems to keep him in a fairly decent range most of the time. While he won't test as often as he should (many times just twice a day) he will always dose for food because it's easy. To outsiders it appears as if he is just checking a pager or something. (Am I dating myself here?!! Do they still even make pagers?!!!)

Good luck to you, Fellow Moms. As if having EITHER a diabetic or a teen wasn't challenging enough........Hang in there and just keep loving those girls!!!!!!
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hi lulu, my daughter was on a pump for around a year and she just couldnt bear it, she has alot of issues about accepting her illness and the pump was a 24/7 reminder to her so unfortunatly we had to let her stop it. sounds like your son is doing really well, blood sugars twice a day is excellent at his age.!
my daughter has been using insulin ommission to reduce an already very thin frame and is now in an eating disorders unit, which is so difficult.
hope things stay ok at your end, louise
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Oh Louise,

I am so sorry to hear of her struggle. I bet you nailed it on the head about acceptance. Thankfully (oddly) over at our house the diabetes isn't the challenge - it's the schoolwork, grades and an occasional bad-influence type of friend. One thing he has threatened to do on a BAD day was to stop using the insulin or just take out his pump overnight. Scary that they have such power over themselves at this challenging age.

I can understand about your daughter not wanting to wear the pump. With a boy it's easy - just slips in his pocket but girl's clothes are more fitted. I know I don't have that much extra room in my pockets!

I will pray for you and your daughter. Hugs to you!
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Finding a way to learn to accept that "it is what it is and deal with it, is key!!!"  My son is 15 and was diagnosed at age 10.  There is no good time to have to accept such a life changing event but I am grateful to have had a few years to adjust before having to deal with the teenager challenges on top of it.  He accepted it well at age 10 and in his own words "I will not let this beat me or stop me from doing what I want to do"  From the very beginning we took the attitude that WE AS A FAMILY, had type 1 diabetes.  Now at age 15 almost 16, my son needs to be reminded of this quite often.  Everytime he gets frustrated, complacent or forgetful of what he needs to do, he is reminded that it effects ALL OF US.  Everytime we order his very expensive pump supplies he is reminded that we are doing our part to keep him healthy and he MUST do his, pumping is a priveledge.   No effort from him, no pump....back to injections.  He is very involved with competitve sports and also realizes that without good control intense activity is almost impossible...so...no effort from him... no mom and dad going the extra mile to keep him involved.  Each day is a struggle, in some way, either remembering to test or dealing with an extreme high or low.  We all recognize that we are all human and will forget at times and make mistakes but in the end he knows what he needs to do to stay healthy for life.  I'm sorry to hear about other people's struggles but at the same time take comfort in knowing that we are not alone.
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I was diagnosed at 18 and went through severe depression and began to cut myself.  I never took my meds and my highest A1c was 10.3!!  After about a year, I got better at accepting it and understanding it, but I still pretty much just did what was needed to get by - was still not very proactive... when I began slipping again, my aunt took me to her cousin's hospital and showed me the older poorly controlled diabetics on dialysis and several of them had amputations.  That's pretty much all I needed as far as a wake up call.  

YOU need to take an interest and understand the disease as much as possible.  Set an example... don't force feed it.  My aunt used to take me to Barnes & Noble just to read books and drink coffee and she'd sit there in front of me with all these diabetes books reading them herself... I would slowly start putting down whatever magazine I was reading and take an interest... she would then buy me the book.  When I had to check my blood sugar, she would ask me to check hers too because she was "curious"...

She's right - you will never know what it feels like, and it's tough... but if you involve yourself as much as possible and have a valid interest in understanding it instead of just telling her to go to school and take her meds, then she'll wake up to the reality of it quicker.  
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