Emotional Response

What you and your child might be feeling

You just found out that your child has diabetes. Your world has suddenly been turned upside-down with injections, concerns about managing your child’s blood glucose levels, and worries about whether your child can continue to attend school, play sports and generally have a normal life.

You will experience a range of emotions and have numerous questions. Fear, anger, denial, frustration, depression and uncertainty are common emotions that you may experience under these circumstances. You may also have a lot of questions like “What will my child tell his or her friends?”, “How can I tell their teachers?”, “Are there any other parents out there who have gone through such experience?” and “How do they cope with this?”

Don’t panic; although diabetes is serious, people with it can live long, healthy, active and happy lives.

Following diagnosis, you change from regular parents to medical and administration experts in the blink of an eye. Having to learn in an instant how to keep your child alive and happy through medical intervention can be overwhelming. Coupled with the lack of sleep and worries, it can also be emotionally draining. The key is to find the help and support of others with the same experiences that you are now going through, and you can do this by joining YDA and our mentorship programme.

What your child might be going through

These are some of the feelings that your child (and you) may be going through:

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Communication is key. Talk to your child about what they are feeling and work together to overcome these feelings. And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. YDA is here to help. Call our social workers on 2544 3263.

Dealing with the teenage years: independence

Adolescents and teenagers are expected to become totally self-sufficient in managing their diabetes routine. While this self-reliance helps build confidence, for some it can be a source of pressure and anxiety. Their blood glucose levels sometimes may fluctuate despite of their best efforts; and this makes them feel frustrated, weak, and inadequate. They might react to these feelings by food binging or skipping their insulin.

Teenagers often form circles or bonds with their friends to achieve independence. However, peer groups require conformity, and this perceived need for conformity might create conflict for teenagers with diabetes. How can they act just like their friends and still maintain control of their Type 1 diabetes? Helping your child to feel comfortable with the boundaries of their Type 1 diabetes management can be a positive step in dealing with peer pressure and becoming independent.

Blood glucose levels fluctuations

One of the most frustrating and persistent problems during adolescence and teenage period may be the inability to control blood glucose levels. Research has shown that physiological changes are at work and it is believed that a hormone called Growth Hormone (GH), which stimulates the growth of bone and muscle mass during puberty, also acts as an anti-insulin agent. Moreover, dropping blood glucose levels can trigger the release of adrenaline, which in turn stimulates the release of stored glucose. The result is blood glucose levels swinging from too low to too high.

It is important to talk with your teen about the choices he or she is making. Prepare your teen, so that they can take full control of managing their diabetes. Also understand and recognise the limits of your control is key in helping a teenager to work through the challenges of adolescence. Teens want to be masters of their own lives and define their own identities. So be realistic and accept that it is your child’s diabetes, not yours.