It can be one of the most overwhelming challenges any parent can ever go through, and that is because there are so many different things to think about when it comes to managing your child’s diabetes.
We, as parents have enough to think about, we already have to handle the immense pressures of doting on young ones, so having the added pressure of dealing with diabetes can be horrendously daunting a lot of the time.
But don’t despair and don’t pull your hair out, because chances are you are doing the most fantastic job.
However, if you are doubting yourself now and then, or just want a little bit of advice on how you can make thing easier, then the following tips may help.
1. Management tasks
It doesn’t matter what age your child is, you are going to need to take a really proactive role when it comes to the management tasks of diabetes.
This will not only make your life easier, but it will help them understand what they need to remember, which will encourage these steps to become a habit.
This includes meal planning, monitoring glucose levels in their blood, insulin injection and pill management. All of this is part of your life, it is just a matter of adjustment.
Understanding what diabetes is, what can help and what can inflame is a tough task. It requires a real dedication to gaining knowledge. However, there are a few areas which you can concentrate on, and do as a family.
These include things like exercising, and knowing how, when, for how long and at what intensity they should be exercising. It includes things like understanding the importance of daily foot care, how to apply Allpresan, how to do a thorough foot exam and what footwear is best.
Above all, it also requires a detailed understanding of high and low glucose levels, how to treat and how to prevent.
3. Medical Team
Don’t just find a good medical team, work as closely as you can with them. Learn as much as you can from them, try and tap into their knowledge, especially when it comes to pediatric diabetes.
Speak to everyone on the team that you can; doctors, nutritionists, educators, mental health experts, and anyone else you can. It will all help, and it will all help hugely. The less stress, worry, and pressure on you the better, so do what you can to reduce that stress.
This is so important and so underrated. The worst thing anyone can do in life – whether it involves diabetes, bereavement, cancer or anything else – is to suffer in silence.
So talk to your child about anything they may be feeling. Ask what they are struggling with, help them remain positive and upbeat. Tell them about all the things they are doing so incredibly well, and build from there.
It is easier to help them improve on their weaknesses by focussing on their strengths,; it will help their mentality. But don’t stop there.
Be honest with your medical team; tell them what you are struggling with and what your child is struggling with too. This will allow them to react accordingly and help you both make the right moves.
Don’t make their life all about diabetes, because it isn’t who they are it is just something they live with.
Talk to them about other stuff too, about school, friends, girls, hobbies and everything else you talk to your other kids about.
The last thing you want to do when your child comes back home from school starts asking them about their glucose levels and focussing on this again. Let them tell you off their own back.
Just ask them what they got up to and whether their friend Jack is still is still captain of the football team. Take the focus away from diabetes for a moment.
Yes, your child has diabetes, a condition that requires monitoring and attention and concern, but let them have a normal childhood too.
So many parents let the worry overcome all else, so much so that they forget the child has their own life to lead and one that they want to be as normal as possible. So let them play sports and have their friends over for sleepovers and go to parties and stay up late watching films with you once a week.
That is the best way to help them feel strong and not powerless, happy and not caged, grateful and not bitter. It is about mentality, and normality, both of which you will have a huge amount of sway over.
Midlife mum from Cardiff. Wine Imbiber. Likes glitter, fluff and olives. Approaching tweendom with Caitlin (11) and Ieuan (10). The husband is hiding in the loft.
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