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[IP] Re: trusting your kids
I could not agree more with your wise words about the difficulty and importance of
allowing kids to OWN their diabetes. I have a dear friend, a competent, educated,
healthy guy who has been diabetic since childhood and is now in his early 30s.
About 5 years ago, I visited him at his parents' house during a college break. We
were going out for a day-long venture and taking a picnic lunch with us. His
mother insisted on packing the lunch, which included--I kid you not--enough food
for 10 people! My own mom is very supportive and very hands-off in terms of my
diabetes, partly because I was diagnosed in adolescence, but mainly because it is
her style. As we were leaving the house, with my friend's mother literally
following us asking if we had enough food, my friend turned to me and said, "Not
one word!" We chuckled about it, but it was quite sad that his mom still felt so
much anxiety about allowing him to live his own life.
I'm not a parent, but I have great respect for those who are and some
understanding of how difficult it is to let go in so many small ways as a child
grows. I feel very strongly that a person with diabetes, or any other chronic
illness, must take charge of their own care to the greatest degree possible. As
so many of you have proven with your kids, young people can begin taking charge of
some aspects of their health at a very young age. Diabetes does not have to
cripple a person. But giving someone the message, however subtle it may be, that
diabetes is a curse and a burden and worthy of pity, is dangerous! I would
encourage all parents of diabetic kids to "feel the fear and do it anyway"--treat
your kids as kids and expect lots from them and give them lots of support. It is
such a gift you will give, the ability to handle their own lives, diabetes and
all. It was that gift from my mom that allowed me to pick up and leave for
college 4+ hours from home a year after I was diagnosed and to get through those 4
years without any medical crises.
Life is not fair, and diabetes is not fun. And there are many things far worse
than being diabetic. Acknowledge that with your kids, and then help them get on
with the business of living.
> I had friends from camp, and high school who had parents that still treated them
> 4 year olds when it came to having diabetes. I know a lot of diabetic
> children who were heavily controlled who either went to school very
> close to home so that their parents would still have control, and others
> who went far away and had a lot of trouble adjusting.
> I guess it comes down to the terrible parental event of "letting go." I
> think with diabetic children it is even tougher. I love my mother for everything
> she went through.
> - - Sherry Webb Nolan <teary eyed right now>
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