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Re: [IP] Parents of kid pumpers

First of all most kids between 7 and 9 begin to do wacky things with eating (candy, junk etc) and it gets continually worse at least until about 13 and some continue to 15 or 16.  I know this from teaching and working in programs with kids that age.  I also know this from my 10, 12, and 13 year old nieces who've spent a fair amount of time with us.  The ten year old lived with us for the summer too.

Second of all, most diabetic kids get sloppy or "cheat" (I hate that word but that's how I think must of us are taught to recognize it) at some point.   It seems to me (but this is purely based on annecdotal evidence) that the sloppiness increases when kids feel unsure, out of control or unable to fix less than perfect things about their lives or selves, or intent on pursuing being a normal kid.  I know this applied to me (I think it still does -- I control my diabetes better when I feel competent at it and when I know how to address problems).  I know this applied to all my 7th and 8th graders, I know this applies to my nieces and other kids I've worked with and taken care of.  It may not be universally true.

Some things that work:
recognize (in a considerate and not embarrassing way) when she does it well and right.  Be proud and make her feel really good about her initiative, especially when she initiates it. (Research shows this works well at all ages and levels in all school subjects.  It is the single most productive tactic for improving remedial community college level writing).

when she forgets, put the emphasis on discussing what things are causing her problems, not on her failures.  Problem solve.  Walk through her decision making process.  What works, what doesn't.  How does she react to various things, etc.  Avoid blaming her.  Even when she blames herself, put the emphasis back on pre-empting the problem next time.  If she is not bolusing, there must be a cause.  It must be reasonable.  Find the reason so you can do something about it.  Don't impose strategies; make suggestions and help her test them and report back.  She can tell you better than any of us if notes in her lunch box are a deterrent or an aid.   And, if you accept the fact that not everything works she will be comfortable telling you about problems and you can find real solutions.   You do have to be patient.  But you will be a lot less frustrated and a lot more productive in the long run.

I don't know if parents realize how much pressure kids 9-13 are under to lie about stuff anyway and there is a lot of pressure to fudge diabetes stuff too.  I know from the grown up perspective that seems illogical and much of it feels made up, but as a kid it is definately there.  Generally, we reward kids for appearances, not real solutions.  To get real solutions they have to be willing to make themselves seem dumb at exactly those moments when their success with their peers, at school etc require them to be polished, smooth, and smart.   If you can make her look smart to problem solve and admit problems you will have a huge leg up in the battle.

Sorry for the lecture.  As a teacher, it used to amaze me how sure parents were about their 7th grader's activities.  While most of the parents were amazingly savy about their kid's personalities, the more they said they knew about their behavior, the more the kids tended to be hiding.  I don't mean huge stuff, I just mean small stuff -- how they spent their time, topics of conversation, junk food, friends, internet browsing, etc.  So, hope that helps a little.


John Bowen and Nancy Morgan wrote:

 I always pack Jenna's lunch and write down her food's carbo's and her bolus.  She's a good eater, though, and usually eats whatever I pack.  I have a cell phone that's pretty much just for her, so she calls me if her sugars are out of "target" range, and we add or subtract as appropriate for highs or lows.  Recently, though, she's been "forgetting" boluses, despite me telling her, putting the note in her lunch box, etc.  What do you think, other pumper's parents - do your kids forget, even if you've just told them what to bolus? Is this a game all the kids have to try to play?  Jenna is 9, pumping 2 1/2 months, and rarely forgot a bolus until about a week ago.Nancy