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[IP] 5 year old

As a preschool teacher, five year olds are my forte!  As the only child
with diabetes in my family, I'd often sneak food and rarely admitted it. My
parents tried everything, punishment, rewards, lectures.... The bottom line
was I was a child. As Sarah so eloquently stated, the consequences (not
punishment) must be linked to the behavior. Yep, she's had trauma in her
life. Yep, she's angry. Yep, she's rebelling. Yep, she's probably sad. Yep,
it sucks to be different. Everyone has bummers. She has to be taught how to
cope. Telling her how disappointing her behavior is may induce guilt and a
day or so of following the rules. Punishing her will most likely lead to
sneakier rebellion. I'm a firm believer in natural consequences. I
physically feel crummy when my blood sugars are out of control. Bet she
does too. Intellectually she is probably able to begin linking the two. "If
I eat this, I will get sleepy and cranky, unless I tell Mom & Dad and get a
little insulin." As with all small children a little reward would probably
go a long way. I personally love sticker charts for behavior modification
with a pay off after 5 stickers (for a 5 year old) Also, I would not have
the payoff be food. Food & toileting are 2 control issues you will never
win by going head to head. Pay offs, I think, like a special book time or a
one to one activity with a parent are much more meaningful.  Also, when you
catch her or she has an unexplained high blood sugar, kid humor would  most
likely open a discussion. "Oh, man, did you eat the elephant soup I was
saving for daddy?  No? Let me put on my magic eyes and see what we can find
in your tummy? Is it a petunia? A monkey? A....?" Remember to give her time
to fill in the blanks. Then gently reminding her how yucky she feels when
she doesn't take her insulin when she eats...Kids need to be taught
consequences and most are not long term thinkers, so immediate consequences
are required.  Of course, each kid is different, but I haven't met one yet
who is actually a miniature adult (though my Alex D. would like to think he
is, but that's another story...). Try to make a nasty disease less ugly by
being creative and silly instead of stern and forbidding. You can't change
the fact she's got it, but you can change her attitude about it. By the
way, before you jump all over me, the children in my preschool remind me to
bolus, know what my blood sugar numbers mean and know how many "musics" are
in my favorite lunch...I have a little fellow with autism who tells anyone
who will listen, "When I grow up, I will have a blood kit and a pump!"
These are smart little people who are much more capable than many of us
give them credit for. Lynn

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