Parents or Caregivers of Children with Diabetes

Parent’s Responsibilities

  • Be consistent with meal times. If a child has taken his or her insulin, food should be available to eat within 15-30 minutes depending on the type of meal type insulin.
  • Keep a supply of insulin and test strips.
  • Check your child’s meter to verify that she or he is recording results accurately. Keep track of insulin to make sure that your child is not forgetting injections.
  • Provide necessary information about your child’s diabetes to the school. Make sure that your child is not discriminated against.
  • Encourage your child to participate in all activities including sports.
  • Inform the school about the symptoms of low blood sugar and its treatment. Provide snack food for your child to take along for when she or he feels a low blood sugar reaction coming on during school.
  • Help your child attend doctor’s appointments and support groups.
  • Encourage your child to become more and more independent as they grow older and older.
  • Help your child take appropriate amount of insulin and eat healthy, especially when the child is younger. You must be knowledgeable of diabetes and learn how to keep your child healthy so that you can help them.
  • Listen to your child. Let them talk to you and help them if they are feeling sad or depressed however they need help.

Psychological Issues of Children with Diabetes

How might diabetes affect a child psychologically?

Children always trust their parents. If parents tell their child that they are going to be fine, the child truly believes that he or she will be fine.

Always treat your child as normal. Allow your child to do everything other children do. Be truthful to your child and give her or him hope, but do not make false promises. Never think that your child is defective in any way. Never let your child feel that he or she is good only if his or her blood sugar is good. Make your child feel that regardless of his or her blood sugar, you will always love her or him unconditionally.

Respect your child’s privacy

Never introduce your child to strangers as a diabetic first and your child second. Your child’s diabetes should not be the talk of the town. Only your child’s school, family members and close friends who are supportive of you should know that your child has diabetes. Do not allow people to feel sorry for you or for your child. Let your child know you are proud of her or him.

What are the most common problems parents should be aware of?

Children want to please their parents. A child learns very quickly that parents are happy when his or her blood sugar is good, so sometimes a child may falsify blood sugar levels. As children become more independent, they sometimes cheat on food at school or when out with friends. Also, your child may sometimes fake a low blood sugar reaction in order to have more food. It is normal for a child to say that she or he does not like being diabetic. A child may get depressed and feel sad. Parents should be on the lookout for these periods of sadness and reassure their child.

If you find your child cheating on food or falsifying blood sugar tests, it is better to talk to your child and make him or her understand rather than punishing your child. A diabetic diet is a healthy diet and the whole family would do well to eat the same diet. That way your child will not feel different from the rest of the family, and the family will not have to prepare two different meals.

Children with Diabetes Living Normal Lives

(Taken from Dr. Gupta’s book regarding children who attended support groups)

We have made considerable progress. Now we have 120 children who are using 4 injections of insulin, with SMBG and carbohydrate counting on a daily basis. For the first time they are beginning to feel that they may be able to realize their dream of normal living. For instance, several of these children won first, second and third positions in an International Essay Competition (Life For a Child program of International Diabetes Federation), and four children secured certificates of excellence. This book has been written by inspiration of such children. We have published our results and our program in detail in Journal of Diabetes, February 2016, as listed in the references..

Information and images from www.penpalsunited.org are from or inspired by Living the Sweet Life with Diabetes: The Art of balancing insulin, diet, and exercise by Dr. Santosh Gupta, MD, MRCP (UK), CDE.  You can access the book here: http://manavseva.org/downloads/book-english.pdf

The Penpals United website does not contain medical advice.  Any contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material, are intended for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of rendering medical advice.  Such contents are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.