How do I help my 15 yr old take care of himself

My son was diagnosed with T1d when he was 11 years old. He is now 15 and is not taking care of himself. There will be days when he doesn’t even check his BG and he continues to be high because he is just covering. 6 months ago his A1C was 13. It was 10 when he was diagnosed. last check up it came down a couple of points but he still continues to be high. I’ve had hard conversations with him about his health and the effects, I even had his Dr have a hard talk with him about the seriousness of his highs. We met with the Nurse practitioner the last check up and she seemed to really speak to him in a very relate-able way and I thought, OK this is it. He’s going to start taking care of himself. He did get better but not for long. He just doesn’t seem to be motivated. Or he’s distracted, I don’t know. He is a 15 year old boy and so I give him grace but, how much grace do I give him?? This is his life!

@aharnly Hi Amy and Welcome to the TypeOneNation JDRF Forum! I trust that you will find community here among people trying to live well when affected by T1D and members here will freely offer you tips to make the diabetes life more more understandable for you.

It doesn’t surprise me that your son is acting like this now - I was like this a few years into my life with diabetes - I began diabetes when I was 15, diagnosed on my 16th birthday, and by the time I was in college reached the “denial” stage and failed to take proper care of myself. This was long before the advent of BG Meters and 20 years before I participated in the study developing HbA1c so I cant tell you my numbers.

He has had the “hard talk” and continues ignoring his self-care so it may not help sharing the medical conditions I now endure because of my foolishness. You are giving him grace and “freedom” so what I suggest is that if you can get him talking, that you listen closely to what he might say. I’d almost guess that he is embarrassed by his diabetes, feeling different from his peers, and feels he needs to hide his diabetes. If that is so, it might help exposing him to others living with diabetes - openly. Such as, attend a “diabetes walk” or some other diabetes event - especially one with teens. .

You can find activities near you by clicking the “Events” tab at the top of this page and selecting “JDRF Near You”. If there is a TypeOneNation Summit near you [they are free] I urge you to attend with him.

That’s a great idea about getting your son the opportunity to share with other teens who are Type I. You might check out this conference that tours the country called Taking Control Of Your Diabetes. It’s a one day event. They come to many major cities. It’s spearheaded by Dr. Steven Edelman, Endocrinologist from San Diego and Type I diabetic who was diagnosed as a teen. His story is so inspiring. Lots of info, education, sharing, laughing, fun, etc. I can’t say enough good things about it.

I think that many TI diabetics go through phases of being not so focused. Sharing with others who are similarly situated helps me. I hope things get better.

Thank you! Just signed up for our local JDRF walk. I asked him if he was embarrassed about his diabetes and he said no. He did say though that his feelings are more of anger at times and a little confusing. Glad we were able to talk about it. That is one thing that my son and I are good at. He’s not afraid to open up to me about his feelings. I’ve really tried to make it so that he can talk to me about anything.

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Hi amy. I’m have been where you are and still very much am where you are. My son is 17 going on 30 he knows it all and doesn’t want to be different from his friends. So I’m sure there is a better solution we both have not found but in the meantime the ONLY thing that gets my son to even try to keep his blood sugars in range is bribe him. I know I know, believe me I know. But, it works. Not alot but I give him 5 bucks a day if he stays under 200, I pay him friday for successful days so max it costs me 35/ week (we have only got all days one week). He gets excited and aware of his #, that’s my experience.

@aharnly…Hi Amy:) Sorry 2 hear about you and your son. In sharing my experiences, I hope it helps. I’ve had T1 x 47 yrs and I know I put my parents through a lot starting at age 13.
I was a teen in the 80s and was heavily into the party, underground scene. I always took my insulin, ate well, and very active, but I also liked 2 drink and get high. My docs and nurse educators constantly told me w an A1c of 13, I wasn’t going 2 live past my teens. One nurse even lied 2 me and said I was loosing my sight in an effort to “straighten” me out. All any of it did was make me dig in deeper. When you’re young, you feel like nothing’s going 2 happen 2 you. The future is to far away to see. I was living in the moment.
Everything started changing when I met someone. He helped me get back into collage, I slowed down my life style bc I’d rather spend time doing things w him then being in the hospital and feeling lousy. After 4 yrs we got married, I graduated from college, and we had our first child.
It was hard bc I had 2 get and stay in top shape so she could be born healthy. I started w an A1c of 7. By the time she was born, I was at 6.
When I first held her I knew I could never leave her bc I was 2 selfish to take care of myself.
I can tell you first hand, nagging, fighting, guilting will only drive him further away. Over the next few years as he matures, he’ll probably start 2 get it together. The best thing my parents did 4 me was encourage my independence. They always told me it was my disease and it was up 2 me 2 take responsibility. Living on my own 4 the first time, having my own place 2 take care of really made me understand what they were talking about all those yrs.
I wish I could’ve given you concrete solutions, but I hope my experiences gave you a little hope that this to will pass.

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