Nagging and Burnout
Nagging is an easy trap for parents to fall into, especially if they see teens not fulfilling their end of the bargain with care tasks. Even if your child is slacking off, Becker-Schutte finds that “nagging is a real warning sign that you are too much in charge of the diabetes and your child just doesn’t view himself or herself as needing to take responsibility.”
Instead of nagging, try using words that encourage teens to take more ownership over their health. “Be direct and say, ‘The more you’re in charge of this, the less involved I need to be,’” recommends Becker-Schutte.
If you hear yourself nagging, also take time for self-reflection. “Parents get so focused on glucose numbers that they forget about the child. In the diabetes game, there’s just no such thing as being perfect, says Fulop, who stresses that expectations of perfection often contribute to depression and anxiety in children with type 1.
And what about burnout? “Almost everyone with diabetes hits a wall within a year or two after diagnosis where they just can’t take it anymore,” he relates. “It’s normal, and when it happens in your teen, just be there to lift some of the burden.”
This might mean giving your child his shots or measuring her blood sugar for her for a while. But the very best way to give your teen the support he or she needs is even simpler, says Fulop. “When you see that your child is reaching the limit, simply ask, ‘what can I do to help you?’ And then listen closely to the answer.”
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.