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Diabetic Children May Feel Different

by: Russell Turner

Parenting a child with type 1 juvenile diabetes holds many surprises for us. One that we may not anticipate is our children's feelings of being different.

The Children's Hospital that is treating my daughter has a wonderful program four times a year called Super Saturday. It runs for about a half-day. Any of their juvenile diabetes patients can sign up to participate in games, activities, and kids talking to kids about being diabetic.

The morning of my daughter's first event my girls and I were in the bathroom brushing our teeth. I asked if she was excited about her first day. She absolutely lit up! "Oh yes daddy" she says. "I'll be with a whole bunch of kids just like me. I won't be different from everybody else". That was a shock to me. She wasn't any different to me. She was still the same kid. Her friends treated her the same as they always had. We had entered the "diabetes rhythm" where life is pretty normal and surprises are few.

As it turned out that was my perspective not her's. Our diabetic children feel different because they are different. Insulin shots, blood glucose monitoring, and carbohydrate counting all become routine for us and we begin to move it away from the front of our minds. Our children don't have that luxury. We as parents may be comfortable with the thought of administering everything associated with diabetes but it's not us this is all happening to. It's actually happening to our kids.

We need to maintain not only a healthy perspective for our own emotional balance, but we also can't forget to see diabetes through the eyes of our children. When you are young you don't want to stand out. You seek acceptance by being one of the crowd. This is especially true during puberty. Our diabetic child's perspective will be very different from ours. We must keep those critical lines of communication open. If we make sure to be aware of our children's view of what has happened to their lives we can be there to reassure and help them through these difficult periods.


Source:

Russell Turner is the father of a 10 year old diabetic daughter. After she was diagnosed he soon discovered he could find all sorts of medical information on the internet. What he couldn't find was how to prepare his child and family for living with this disease. He started his own website for parents of newly diagnosed diabetic children: mychildhasdiabetes.com

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