Food & Attention - Issues for siblings?

I have two children, a son age 6 and a daughter age 9.  My daughter was diagnosed New years Eve 2008 and 8 months into this, I struggle with what to allow my son to eat in front of my daughter when my daughter can not have something.  I have totally changed the food I have in our home to support a healthier diet for all of us, but my son feels like he is being punished when I dont allow him to have something that he used to be able to have.  And if I do, my duaghter is in tears (not mad, just updset).  For example, the ice cream man that rides through the neighborhood 50 times a day....need I say more!  This may seem silly and certainly the least of my problems, but it is an issue.  Any suggestions?

What about attention?  I am a single mom.  Dad's in the picture, but I cant rely on him to take the multiple daily calls from school, help with setting or attending appointments, etc., etc.  I work a lot and have a high stress job (Dir. HR).  I have had a hard time with finding a babysitter that is willing to take on this responsibility (and have relied on my sister temporarily).  While I try to share my time equally with my kids, lets face it, my daughter requires more care which my son equates to more time (even if it's for something unpleasant like testing sugar or giving insulin).  My son tells me I love my daughter more b/c she has diabetes.  I know that's not the case, but I think he actually believes it. Just wondered if anyone else has experienced this and if so, any advice would be appreciated.

I will post only because no one else had. My son was dx on May 28, 09 and he will be 4 next Monday. We also have an 18 mo old daughter. I am beginning to suspect that she is getting jealous of the extra attention we have to give our son even though she is still in a pretty high need age herself and definitely gets plenty of her own attention. I suspect that it is a problem that you and your family will have to work thru. I am sure it is harder for the younger child, as they are probably naturally more jealous of their older sibling, regardless of whether the special treatment is good or bad.

I don't know what your insulin regime is, but is there a reason your daughter can't have carb snacks at least occasionally and cover with insulin? We have pretty much been told our son can eat whatever he wants as long as we are counting the carbs and covering with insulin. Eating off schedule isn't the best when you are in the midst of trying to make adjustments in dosing (then you need the longer time to allow the insulin to act without additional doses). But it is OK other times.  He is on Levemir(similar to Lantus) and Novolog (short-acting). I try to be more relaxed on the weekend, because he has a pretty set routine during the week.

I would also just keep beating the 'healthier' food drum. If he wants a snack, it can be the low carb option that your daughter is having, or nothing. Junk foods can be reserved as treats, special occasions, etc but that to be healthy, they can't be eaten all the time. If they know when the special treat day is - like on Sat. they get to each pick something from the ice cream truck, it might go over better than NEVER or only when they complain enough to force you to give in. (It is easier to say, "No, it's not Sat." vs. "No, not today, but maybe someday.")

Is it possible for you make some 1:1 time for your son? Like going to a park, or a museum, zoo, etc. Is it possible for your family, friends to take him someplace special - that only he gets to do? I am sure this is harder as a single parent, but it certainly can't hurt. (I know, it would be hard to explain to your daughter why he gets to do special fun things with mom and her 1:1 time involves drs, clinics and blood draws!!!)

I don't know if any of this will help. I hope some other T1 parents chime in!!

I know how you guys both feel when my oldest  was dx about 17 months ago my youngest was real jealous and it took awhile to get over.  In my situation just as Owen began to start to understand about his brother he also was dx so it probably hasnt been as bad for us.  I was also blessed that the sitter we had before they were dx agreed to stay on as thier sitter and be trained on how to take care of them(and didnt even ask for extra money ).  Now that my oldest is on the pump Owen my not get mad about the attention or food etc.. he gets mad because Bubba doens't have to take shots anymore.( so it never seems to end - I guess that is sibling rivaly)  I am sorry you guys are having so many issues.   . If you ever need to vent, I'll listen.


I would check with her Dr. to see what he/she has to say about diet. My daughter  was diagnosed 8 years ago at 4 yrs.  Her Dr.,  an experienced endocrinologist told us that when you limit a diabetic childs carbs it has been shown in studies, that it can inhibit their growth and developement. 

And it seems when you try to totally restrict something from a child it can cause problems in the future. As long as treats are in "moderation" it should be ok.   Allowing her to help make decisions in her diet now will really help down the road. As for the Ice cream man, they are usually too expensive. We buy the ice cream at the store.  Sometimes it's the slow churned, lower fat/sugar...sometimes not.

Also, We never treat lows with "sugar" treats. Milk or juice, and "lower sugar" granola bars, yogurt or cheese and crackers are what we use.

Honestly we try to eat healthier, but I can't say I'm a total nut about it. We have our good days and our bad days. The main thing is to control the diabetes, don't let it control you!

[quote user="Karen"]

Also, We never treat lows with "sugar" treats. Milk or juice, and "lower sugar" granola bars, yogurt or cheese and crackers are what we use.


Karen - why don't you use 'sugar' treats? I have read (and since we are less than 4 mos in to this, that is what I do) that it is better to treat lows with high glycemic index foods - which usually means 'sugar' treats. Because it absorbs in the body faster and gets the sugar into the blood. Glucose tabs are the highest, and juice is actually not very high, and I believe all the things you listed are lower glycemic index.

I find that with my son that fruit snacks (what a name there is NO fruit in them!) work the fastest. We also use juice, but I have learned that I can't test 15 min after, that I have to wait at least 20-30 to see if the juice brought it up.

Please just explain how you got to that conclusion - I'm sure it is working for you and I just want to understand more!

Hi, It's Karen account....

That's very interesting and I'll have to do some research on it myself!

But, I do remember in the Hosp they used 7up when KayCie was low but always followed up with cheese and crackers.

Shortly after she was diagnosed they  alternated her appts between the Endo and a Registered Dietician. So we followerd her recomondations. Which were the milk or juice. and follow up with a snack that had protein to help to keep the sugar from dropping again.  She did stress a beverage or liquid since anything solid would have to be digested to raise the bcg. This is the way we have done it for 8 years and  have only had one visit to an emergency room for low blood sugar (which is because we were out of town due to a death in the family and my husband failed to pack the glucagon. She ended up getting  a flu virus and could not stop vomiting!) I believe her lowest  bcg  was in the 20's also.

Also on that note, we have never in those 8 years had to use the glucagon either. I do have to admit now that she is in Middle school we have purchased the glucose tablets to carry from class to class, but keeps juice and granola bars in her locker.

Hope this explains in part!



Thank you for all the replys. 

I should clarify; I was told to limit her snacks to 15 carbs because it was one less shot I would have to give her.  I was not limiting her carbs with meals.  We have come a long way over the last few weeks.  My daughter is now on the pump and has much more flexibility , which has been great.  Her A1C was 6.7 at her last visit (was 14.4 at diagnosis).  My son has also been handling things better too and hopefully he will continue too.

Karen - I asked my daughters endocrinologist and diabetes educator about giving milk for lows and was told that it takes the body too long for sugar  levels to increase with milk.  I was told to stick with juice and candy (just not chocolate).  Interesting though, because it seems to be working for your daughter.  My daughter has frequent lows and we have adjusted her insulin and now basal rate a number of times in a short period, so hopefully we will see improvement here.   

Hello, My daughter has had t1 for 4yrs now. and we went throught all this. I have two boys. 10 and 4. Everyoe eats the same foods and drinks the same things. I found it harder to give her one thing and them another. was too much work for a single mom. I teach my boys to look after her and when she starts getting symtoms of being high to simply walk away she can get bossy and super hyper. and when she is feeling low they come and get me. At my house we try not to make a big deal of what she eats cuz u just have to cover the food she eats. One other thing is that I tend to change her pump when they arent around so they dont feel that she getting special attention. and if they are they know this is our time to take care her health. and it is very important that they give her the respect she needs. (takes all of 5 mins)

I have found with levimer that its more of an 12-15hr long acting insulin than 24hr. my daughter was getting unexplained highs. So her endo dr and I split her dose in half and gave it to her 2times a day and it seememd to work better for us.


We made the decision when our oldest son was diag. that we would all eat similar meals and snacks as a family.  We planned it so they would all have a snack at the same time.  We never told either of our other two children they could not have a snack when he did.  It worked out pretty well because they never really were jealous they knew they could have a snack if they wanted it.  They kind of took the opposite approach most the time the would say no I don't need a snack right now.  This worked out wonderful because less than three months after our oldest son our daughter was diag.  So she was already in the habit of eating snacks at a certain time.  She knew what it meant when you need a snack because your low.  Now my youngest son just turned 5 and he has three of the auto immune markers for type 1.  He also understands that you need a snack when your low so he tells us I am low I need a snack then we remind him he doesn't have diabetes he says oh ya can I have a snack anyway.  Usually the answer is yes.  We have some creative snacks that are low carb.  One is a romaine lettuce leaf with a piece of sliced meat and cheese with a side of light ranch.  They love it and only the ranch has carbs in it.  We try to do a lot of things together so that they don't notice when we have to give a little more attention to one of them. We change pumps after the bath or while they are watching tv so it is done without alot of fan fair.  If your youngest feels left out maybe give him a little project to do while you are doing things for your other child.  I hope this helps good luck.




I have 3 kids, but one is grown and out of the house.  The other two are 11 and 8 and the 8 year old is the diabetic.  Sometimes I feel like I give her more attention because of the diabetes.  BUT, just today, I was feeling like my 11 year old has been getting sooooo much more attention because he has been having some problems with his homework so I have had to put in soooo much time the last two weeks with him and was thinking Julia (the diabetic) is not getting enough attention.

So, with me, it is like a yo-yo.  Sometimes one is getting more and then the other and then there is ALWAYS the rivalry between the two of them anyway!

But, looking at your situation, part of it is because it is your child's first year of having it- the first year is super demanding.  I mean it is always going to be demanding (sorry to not be more positive) but that first year is really tough because there is a large learning curve to get used to and the new adjustments.  I know that I did spend alot more time with my diabetic daughter the first year than with my son and I already knew all about it because I have type 1 too! .  That was just the reality of the situation and probably realistically happening in your family too-  Thankfully, my son spent more time with his grandpa and grandma, his favorite people anyway,

Three years later, I think overall, it has helped my son (the non-diabetic) learn to be more considerate of others needs.  

The food thing is terrible-  overall, 3 years into it, my son the non-diabetic has learned that we just don't eat as much sweets in general because it is not good for anyone- and when we do, she, the diabetic has it too and we give her more insulin for it.

By the way, the ice cream man parks right out a few doors down from my house so EVERYDAY we get to walk by him on our way home from school and my daughter gets to see the kids buying treats!!  somedays, it drives me crazy- but come to think of it, she just doesn't ask anymore.

Got to go so hope this makes some sense.