Four tips to remember for parents of newly diagnosed children with diabetes

Live with life 4 hours at a time

First and foremost, live your life four hours at a time.  Do not worry about six hours from now. Do not worry about tomorrow.  Live life in four-hour time slots–nothing more. Chances are high that your child is using a rapid-acting insulin. This type of insulin basically lasts for only four hours.  Look at the readings inside the four-hour window.  Make note of the food that was eaten and the activities in that four-hour period.  

If you see a reading that is in range for that four hour period give yourself a high-five! You did fabulously!

If you see something out of range during that four hours then begin to problem solve.  What can you learn? Did you learn that your child is producing a small amount of insulin now and doesn’t need as much insulin for that food at the moment? Did you learn that not all slices of bread are the same number of carbohydrates and perhaps you made a carb counting error? Could it be that hockey practice before supper changes the amount of food and insulin your child needs?

Find a support system

Find a support system and use it! Let parents, partners, friends, and people from support groups (online and in real life) help.

Share with them, unload on them, and again…use them.  Some people will “get it” more than others and that is okay but find a way to lean on even those who may not get it but are willing to learn, listen or take over for even an hour.  You deserve the break.  You cannot be the very best external pancreas that you can be without a break and finding an outlet.  It is okay to ask for help or even see a counselor. Many families with diabetes have to turn to someone along the way.  

It is okay to cry

Cry in the shower.  Go ahead! Stand in that shower and let it all out. Let go of the big girl/boy pants, crumble and let that strong shell crack for just a little while.  

Allow yourself to feel the pain and frustration that comes from a diagnosis of diabetes for your child. It is okay to feel the anger and hurt.  Allow yourself to grieve while the water washes away a bit of the pain so that you can be strong again once you step back into the real world.

It is okay to discipline your child for diabetes related tasks

Do not allow your own guilt to get in the way when disciplining your child with diabetes. According to experts like Joe Solowiejczyk, it is perfectly acceptable to punish your child for not keeping up with their age-appropriate diabetes chores. You would expect them to brush their teeth, you can therefore expect them to check their blood sugars or bolus (again if age appropriate).