How to help relatives cope?

I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago, and the stress is starting to take a toll on my family. I am feeling positive and confident, but this is not the case with my parents. They are doubting, negative, depressed and guilting themselves... my father also has type 1 and was diagnosed at the age of 30, you would expect them to understand and be positive, as he has had no complications since and has done a fantastic job managing it.

How do you go about helping family members understand, relax, and be confident in your own skills and knowledge to control this condition (disease? by the way whats the general consensus on what to call this... a disease? condition?)



hi Patrick , Your parents sound like me when we first found out my daughter at age 12 had type 1. You sound like my daughter who was much more positive at first and ready to get on with life. They may be feelings many emotions and it will probably take time for them to work through them all.I only felt better by watching my daughter and seeing things were going to be alright. Her determination to continue on with her life with such independence and joy was healing for me. I hope for them and you that you reach out to others with type 1. There you find understanding and strenght and healing to move forward and have a beautiful life.You sound like a wonderful son-must make your parents proud :)


I would remind your parents that they did nothing wrong in you getting this disease. It is genetic, but is not always passed along from parent to child. No matter what you ate, how you were treated as a youngster, saw or didn't see doctors with a runny nose, ect had nothing to do with you getting diagnosed as T1.

I really don't know what if any emotional problems my family may have gone through as I was dx at age 2 over 27 years ago. I had heard from my grandmother that her and my dad went down to the lobby of the hospital, bought a pack of cigarette and smoked just after the diagnosis! 

Your diganosis is so new that they probably just need time to process it.  Remember that everyone has their own timetables with these sorts of things.  Parents are always going to feel at least a little guilty over things like this, but I'm sure once they've had time to properly deal with their feelings they will be ok.  I know it sounds weird, since it's your diabetes, not theirs - but that's just how parents are - they want everything in your life to be perfect because they love you.  You sound like a very sweet and caring son to worry about their feelings.  I agree with previous posters that you can just gently remind them that you are fine, you don't blame them, and you intend to handle yourself just like your dad in terms of great management.  I really think this just takes  alittle time. 

I think "disease" or "condition" are both accurate ways to call diabetes.  I think I tend to refer to it as a disease.

One tell them you need them to be positive. I would also guess your dad is feeling guilty. Tho like someone said while it can be genetic it isnt always you could be just one of those random people who get it. Then there is just the parent thing we raise our kids and want to fix what is broken for them. You know kiss it and make it better with D we cant do that and it takes some time for us to adjust to that.

Patrick - First of all sorry to hear about your diagnosis - and good for you for choosing to face it positively.  How thoughtful of you to be concerned about your parents and relatives. 

With my family helping them cope was to help them understand and provide as much education as they wanted... Since  your father has type one that isn't as much of an issue   However in some ways that probably means they know full on the work that you have ahead to keep yourself healthy, might just be a little overwhelming right now.  I would say do the same thing that you would do in any "grief" situation - have patience,  keep the lines of communication open, be honest,  and then continue to SHOW them that you have been doing well with managing it .  I would also let your parents know that part of WHY you are so capable is the example that your father set for you, and that your confidence is partially due to knowing  that the support your mom ( and family) has given your dad  is available to you as well.  I think the hardest thing as a parent is to see your child suffering, (t is hard for us when we cant just fix things- ) yet  when our kids deal with these struggles and overcome them it gives us the greatest pride imaginable!  Sounds like you will make them proud!

Take care!  Kris

Hey Patrick,

Would your parents be willing to talk with other parents either through a local support group or Juvenation?  My parents said they went through the same emotions when I was diagnosed 23 years ago.  Unfortunately, being able to reach out to people online was a resource my parents didn't have back in 1986!  Perhaps talking with other people who can see T1 through their perspective would help. 

Also, making sure that they know you're doing well both physically and emotionally may lessen their anxiety.  My loved ones are one of the most important reasons I try so hard to keep my diabetes under good control.

All the best!