Independence for T1 son

I have a 13 yr old son with T1. He was diagnosed when he was 6. He is currently using a T-slim pump. I’m trying to help him take more responsibility. I know there are kids who are already changing their pump sites, waking up at night to test, etc. by his age. I have let him set his own alarm to check in the middle of the night. I set mine 2 min. earlier so I can watch. When has more independence and is responsible, he can enjoy life more as a normal teen. If he doesn’t know how to handle sites coming out, doing injections if needed, etc., he remains utterly dependent upon parents. I don’t think this is healthy but would like to hear from those who have more experience. Please advise

@philcorn hello Phil and welcome to TypeOneNation. I was diagnosed at age 11 and I just want to feed back that you seem to be a great parent and that you may need to go slowly, his independence may just come a little slower but I guarantee that it will come. Hang in. Hope you and your son have all the support you need. This is a self support forum with hundreds of years of experience. You are in the right place.

Thanks Joe. I’m glad to find this forum. I think he is ready for the independence but wanted to get feedback from other parents regarding different ages and techniques other parents have used to help their kids achieve their independence safely. There is certainly no one size fits all I’m sure.

I gave up on the overnight checks about 6 months after I was diagnosed (age 13). I have always managed to wake up and get a snack (25 years now) when my blood glucose is low. I did all injections and BG testing myself from the start. My Mom would help with the carb-counting, but I had to calculate my meal and correction boluses. Don’t baby your kids too much, you are just doing them a disservice in the long run.

Thank you. My son doesn’t wake up when low but I agree he shouldn’t be babied.

Hi Phil. My daughter is 16 and was diagnosed when she was 11. She is a fiercely independent person, and has always wanted to be in control of her diabetes management. And we encourage her, because one day she will move out of home and away from us. But she is still a child, and I feel it is my responsibility (and privilege) to be her safety net. So I still get up every night to check her and we still chat everyday about the highs and lows. It is a fine balance. It sounds like you are doing a great job, letting him go and holding him close at the same time. All the best to you both

Hi Phil,
I’m wondering if he would be a good candidate for a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) like Dexcom? That way he would get the alarm if he’s low but not have to be quite as vigilant about testing…

I Phil @philcorn, let me also welcome you to the TypeOneNation forum - happy to see you here.

I agree with your thoughts about giving, or better yet LETTING, your son exercise his independence. As you know, it will be necessary for your son to become his own “primary care physician” and the sooner he learns how the better off he will be.
Certainly at age 13 he should, at first under your observation, he should be doing his BG Checks, counting carbs accurately, calculating insulin doses [independently of that his pump does] and changing his infusion sets. As an example, our granddaughter who lived with us and does NOT have diabetes, was checking my BG before she began school and age six was filling my syringe accurately. I began using a pump when she was 7 so at that time she learned how to put in my infusion set - at that time I used the very simple MiniMed “QuickSet”. Your 13 year old MUST learn to do his infusion set implants.

As for awakening during the night for a BG Check, he could tell his t-Slim [that is my current pump] to awaken him so he can do his check; if he gets a result that may need him to make an adjustment, then he could call on you for assistance. Let him exercise this independence.

It concerns me that he must do a middle-of-night BG Check every night and not only on extraordinary activity days. This would indicate to me that you, he and doctor have not properly set up his pump profiles. Pump profiles, once validated, should keep him well “balanced” and allow him to sleep through the night.

I’m currently appealing a decision by my insurance company to deny coverage on the Dexcom 6 CGM. It would be helpful. Part of helping him become independent is making sure he understands the basics and could treat himself properly when technology breaks. I would like him to know how to prep infusion sets and know how to use a syringe and pin if necessary.

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