Help for teen w/ T1 AND ADD

My son (16 yrs old) was diagnosed with T1 diabetes only 4 months ago, so we are very new to all this.  He has had ADD since he was 5, currently taking meds.

He is, and has been, very angry since his diagnoses.  Most of that anger is directed at me.  He has become very defiant.  He was checking his BS diligently when he came home from the hospital, but for the last few weeks he's only been checking it once a day!  He's been lying to me about what his numbers are, and telling me he's checking, but he's not.   He also has let all his grades slip - he would normally get A's & B's, and was on the honor roll, but since his diagnoses his grades dropped to B's, C's and D's.  He used to be pumped up and excited about going to college in a year and a half - now he's not sure if he wants to go!  And honestly, for as immature and irresponsible as he's acting, I dont' think it's a good idea for him to go!

Since he has ADD, keeping him on task has always been an issue - constant reminders of homework and chores, etc.  Diabetes has been just another thing I have to remind him about, and it's caused SO much friction in our house. 

I'm just overwhelmed....and I know he is too.  How do I help him get a grip on all this when he won't listen or talk to me in a civil tone?  How do I help him establish good habits now, so he can have a handle on his diabetes and ADD when he leaves home and I'm not around to constantly remind him of everything??

More importantly, will I ever get MY kid back....the fun loving kid I had BEFORE diabetes...or is that kid gone forever?

Thanks for your help. :-(

Hi, my daughter is almost 13 and was diag. at 10.  We had the same story she was a good kid, she was getting straight A's in school she did a lot of helping the other kids in her class.  About a year later I noticed the anger and open defiance.  Aimed mostly at me (I think because I am her primary care giver for the diabetes stuff), and her grades slipped down to B's and C's.  Thankfully her school work is greatly improving and she is back at all A's with one B.  Her goal is to get the straight A's back next qtr.  The anger is getting better, but I also wonder how much of this is just due to almost being a teen plus being a teen with diabetes.  The only thing I can do is be there when she needs to talk, and continue to tell her I love her.  We have talked about how unfair it all is and how she does not want to do it anymore.  I don't know why I am writing other than just to let you know you are not alone in wanting your kid back.  I would give anyting to have my old Casie back, but I don't think that is going to happen.  I just try to make things better, and try real hard to be patient.


The only thing we can do is be there like Kathy said. I try to make the day to day stuff not such a big deal. I know she won't test so I test her in the AM while she is asleep and in the evenings. I just hand her the pricker and I do the rest. She did pull a stunt on me the other day and just boulsed as much as she could 12 uts! and I had to deal with her complaining when I was pumping juice in her to get her numbers up...she got down to 44...and that was just the day after she had a seizure at 58...I was freaking out and she was just laughing...

Our daughter, Baylee, (14yo) was also dx at 10 and she really struggled with her diabetes for years.  Last year, Baylee was lying about her b/s and not taking insulin when she needed.  Her A1C went up to 10.9 and the doctor took the insulin pump away and she had to go back on shots. On top of getting her pump taken away, she had kidney damage and she now is on medication for the rest of her life (she also takes medication for her ADD...which she still hates taking two pills a night).  Since then, we decided to take her to a counselor so she can share her emotions and fears.  We had a great couselor because she was able to open her up and she learned how to share what she was going thru.  Baylee still HATES diabetes but she had to accept that it's not going to go away.  There are days that she tries to avoid her diabetes but she knows that she can manage it.  

Diabetes SUCKS but people live with it everyday.  Is there anyone else in his school that has diabetes?   Does he have anyone he can talk too?  

We've learned to not act in anger when her b/s are high, we ask if she knows why...did she forget to take insulin?  did she not take enough insulin?  did her infusion site come out? (for her insulin pump).  Take one day at at time and know that you are not alone!  

Hang in there - hopefully things will even out and become somewhat normal.

I find that Alec is very moody and angry when his #s are higher....maybe as your sons numbers come into the normal range he will feel better and able to better cope with all this.

All I can suggest is to just show him you love/support him,and to try to give him some slack on things that are not totally important. Know that you are the closest person to him so you will be the one who gets the most anger and attitude - try not to take it personally (I know hard to do) and don't react to it (takes two to have a fight).

Good luck, take it one day at a time - don't worry about a year from now, just help him through the now.

My daughter is 16 and was just diagnosed as Type 1 at the end of October - at first she was doing really well, although her grades slipped prior to being diagnosed.  In October her a1c was 14.8%, but in a month it went down to 10.3%.  At first she was very angry and accused me and her dad of being very overprotective.  We ended up taking her to a Therapist and she put her on meds for Anxiety/Depression and that helped with the anger, but she is also going thru problems with friends at school which has caused her to lie about her school work and other drama and has made her still feel insecure  - her grades improved some, but now the Therapist has decided that she also needs to try medication for ADD as well - I wondered what medications are other Type 1 teens on?

She is also having problems regulating her blood sugar - it is constantly going up and down - I think that being sick with reoccurring strep throat has contributed to that, but was just wondering what others are experiencing.  We are certainly still very new to all of this.

This is written by a mom whose daughter struggles with diabetes management.  It's a common problem.

Highs and lows are a part of diabetes.  It's not like you ever figure it out and your blood sugar is perfect from that point on.  With shots it's extra tough because the insulin timing varies so much.  Insulin pumps are better because they just use fast acting, but they require a little more work.  

But over time your kids will learn how to manage it better.  I still have highs and lows, but I can usually figure out what caused it.  There are a lot of great books that can help you like "Think Like a Pancreas" by Gary Scheiner and "Using Insulin" by John Walsh.  

Depression is more common among diabetics.  And high blood sugars make you feel terrible (feels like you're hung over).  Once blood sugars aren't so high your kids will feel a lot better.  

Having said all that, my A1c was 14 or higher through my teens and early twenties.  Finally grew up and started taking care of myself.  I have a 6.5 (thanks to a pump) now without much stress and am complication free.  

Having a teen with diabetes has its own set of challenges indeed. I sometimes feel that it was much easier to manage when our daughter was a toddler and we had COMPLETE CONTROL. Although we've been lucky (thus far) to dodge the bullet of depression, now we're dealing with stuff like teenage defiance and driving.

My friend Pat McFeeley shared a guest  post today about teenage risk taking that I found interesting and helpful on my daddybetes blog.

Like Jennagrant (above), I think Gary Scheiner's writing is worth checking out.

Thank you for all your responses.  I realized that I had posted this many months ago, and wanted to give an update.

It has been a rough  year.  Dropping and failing grades, skipped classes, drug use, more family fights than I care to admit, and at one point, almost kicking my son out of the house.  He went to a counselor, but it didn't help much.  We staged an intervention about his drug use, and I pulled in every resource I had - teachers, counselors, friend's parents, grandparents, his endocronologist -  you name it.  And we put him on "lock down" as he calls it, and drug tested him until he got his act together.

And with all that, continued issues with lack of control of his diabetes.  As I said, it's been a rough year.

However, let me tell you where we are now -

My son got the pump, which has helped immensely.  He had some dangerously high blood sugars that made him feel awful, and I think it scared him.  His endocronologist had some "come to Jesus" discussions with him that hit home.  And slowly, things started to turn around.  My son started to bring his grades up, started thinking seriously about his future and college.  He started working our regularly which has done wonders for his BS.  He reconnected with old friends.  He started to realilze that this was his new "normal", this was life, and he had a lot of things he wanted to do and accomplish - travel, college, etc. and he wasn't going to do that if he was sick.  His recent A1C was 7%.

As a parent, I used to think there was a "right and wrong" to diabetes, and now I know how wrong I was.  What works for one person may not work for another.  And BS can fluctuate with the wind - depending on hormones, stress, illness, honeymoon phase, etc, etc.  It's a constantly changing thing.  So we don't freak out anymore.  My son let's me know if he's concerned about something, and I help him work thru it.  

My son is 17 1/2 yr old now.  In 6 months he'll be off to college and I won't be sitting next to him to see what his sugars are, how he's feeling, etc.  And that has been very hard to come to terms with.  But what has helped me is I have put my son's health and wellbeing on HIM - it is HIS choice to be well, to take care of himself, to have the future he wants and do the things he wants to do.  I will always, always be there for him if he stumbles (and he will) but the hard, daily work is on him.  And it IS hard work.

So thank you again for all your responses.  My advice to anyone who is a parent of a newly diagnosed diabetic is - have patience and love.  This disease sucks.  We get to deal with it from the sidelines - they have to deal with it 24/7.