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Re: [IPp] Teen troubles

In a message dated 9/19/2002 8:56:22 AM Mountain Daylight Time, email @ redacted 

> The one thing they all had in common was that they all agreed (in
> hindsight) that their parents should have kept helping them with their
> diabetes care.  They may have resented it when they were teenagers, but
> looking back they all felt that taking care of diabetes is too hard a job
> for any ONE person, whether they are a child, a teenager or an adult. 

This is what has been stressed to us at the Barbara Davis Center for 
Childhood Diabetes in Denver .  .  . Exactly HOW parents stay involved should 
be negotiated (and renegotiated at various points) between the teen and 
parents -- but they feel that while it's very important for teens to develop 
the *capability* for managing all aspects of their diabetes management, the 
BDC's experience is that it's better if parent's do continue stay 
involved/provide support throughout the teen years (and even into young 

The key here is the difference between having the knowledge/skill for 
managing their diabetes and having the full responsibility for it.  One area 
they find where teens will often be most accepting of parental involvement is 
in the area of record keeping -- so, for example, mom or dad may pull history 
off the meter(s) and the pump every few days and fill in a log book/program.  
And then maybe every two weeks or once a month, they & their teen can review 
the data to discuss trends and make joint decisions  about any changes that 
might seem appropriate (with the goal of parents moving towards being just a 
consultant over time).  But record keeping isn't the only area where parents 
can stay involved -- they just emphasize that what seems to work well is that 
you negotiate with your teen as to what will be most helpful for them in 
mantaining good control and a health, balanced lifestyle (and if what they 
come up with doesn't work -- then re-negotiate!).

When I questioned about even staying involved with a young adult's diabetes 
management (something that sounded great to the mother in me, but also set 
off alarms) our CDE talked about how many times they'd seen young adults go 
through terrible times in their 20s (and even develop serious complications) 
after succesfully getting through their teens because their parents felt like 
they had to just completely drop all involvement in & discussion of diabetes 
in order to honor the reality that their child was now an adult and 
responsible for themselves.  And while it's certainly very easy to intrude or 
be too involved, she emphasized that there was still a lot you can do by 
keeping open the lines of communication and expressing your willingness to 
provide help & support in whatever ways your adult child might want -- 
whether it's simply listening, being a "consultant" for dealing with some 
troublesome BG trends, or actually doing something (like taking care of 
diabetes/pump supply ordering for a "child" already in a time crunch from 
working a job and on a Masters). 

It all seemed to make sense to me and since the BDC has dealt with thousands 
of children, teens, and young adults over the years, I tend to listen to what 
they have to say . . .

Pumpmama to Katie
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