I often feel guilty about focusing too much on Kaitlyn’s type 1 diabetes and not enough on Kaitlyn as a person. Diabetes is an all-the-time thing that takes so much of our energy. I know that Kaitlyn is more than just her blood sugar number, but do I show that to her? Does she know I care more about her thoughts and feelings than I do about what the glucose meter says?
I asked her a few honest questions about this to see what she had to say…
Does it sometimes feel like I care more about diabetes than you?
How does it make you feel when I ask you about your number all the time?
Do I nag you about diabetes stuff more than I nag you about other things?
What do you wish I would ask you about when we see each other after a long school day?
What can I do to make you know I love you for you and not your numbers?
I won’t share her specific answers with you, but I have to say that they weren’t all positive. She does feel like I nag a lot about diabetes. I’m doing better than I thought in some ways, but I still have plenty of room for improvement!
I did some deep self-reflection after I heard her answers to these questions, and I started to wonder what I could do to make our relationship less diabetes-focused without sacrificing her diabetes care. I heard about a great parenting technique from one of my friends that I’m going to incorporate into my life, specifically with Kaitlyn. The idea is to make sure that we have at least five positive interactions with our kids for every negative interaction. You put several bracelets or elastic hair bands on your wrists to help you remember. When you have a negative interaction, you push an elastic band up a couple inches on your arm. In order to put it back down again, you have to have five positive interactions. It could be anything — saying I love you, playing a game, asking how they are doing, or giving them praise.
For Kaitlyn and me, I plan to make sure I have five positive non-diabetes-related interactions for every diabetes question or request. It’s my hope that this will help me focus first on Kaitlyn as a person before I begin to “nag” about those numbers.
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. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.