our 3 year old has recently been diagnosed with type 1. Our 5 year old just started kindergarten the day before our 3 year old ended up in the hospital. Ever since she got out of the hospital our 5 year old has been going nuts!!!!! She insists everyone loves her sister better, that we put her in school just so we would never have to see her again, and that she hates her life! my husband is at his wits end with her, and i am just so stressed it is ridiculous. Because now we have all of the problems with her plus our 3 year old's diabetes, and our 1 year old son also. We are going crazy! any ideas on how to handle this?
Really I would just explain to the five year older that her "Litte sister is sick." Even show her the "medicine" and ask if she would like to help make her sister feel better, maybe let her give her juice when she's low (hand her the cup, I mean) or bring the meter. Maybe carry the bag or something. In my opinion, older siblings are protective of younger ones. My older brother was absaloutely amazing when I was diagnosed. He understood that I was "sick," and he wanted to help me.
So maybe if your eldest understands her little sister is sick, she may end up wanting to help her. I think it's easier to understand that way than "diabetic."
Also, I know it's hard being the sibling of a diabetic. My little brother/sister have made comments on that when they were younger. So I think it's also important to maybe teach your parents, their grandparents, about diabetes so they can take your 3 yr old for a day, and Mom and Dad can spend time with the 5 yr old reminding her you do love her, and she is just as special. Or even have Mom or Dad take the other kids, and one take the 5 yr old to something special like dinner or a movie.
Hope this helps :) It's hard to understand at her age, especially when all the sudden she is seeing less of you because of school at the same time the 3 yr old is getting all the attention - I can see how she would feel that way. So just remind her, talk to her and tell her she is special, and you love her. She'll understand :)
I don't have much experience with young children, but 2 things come to mind. I'm sure you are good parents, but it is possible that the older child is being ignored, or simply feels that way. In either case, you may need to create special time for her to talk about her day or hang out with you. You are getting used to having a diabetic child...but she may only understand that no one is around to help her transition to school. Second, you might let her "roleplay" diabetes. I wouldn't give her shots of anything, but you could let her test her blood sugar, do a urine test for ketones, drink water to lower her blood sugar, help figure out how much insulin to take, and so on.
i read somewhere that when one child gets special attention, you need to give the others special or more attention too.
when i was diagnosed, i had to have a bedtime snack. my mom said that my 12 year old sister was jealous that i had to have a bedtime snack. i think jealousy is common.
Even though I was the "special" sibling in my family who had D, I work with young children (ages birth to 5) who have special needs, so I see these issues a lot in their siblings -- it's very typical. I love a lot of these suggestions -- having the older sib be a "helper" to the younger one so she feels important, blocking out special time with the older one, etc.
I also wanted to remind you that your life will always involve D, bit it WILL normalize again. That will help. Also, as you mentioned, starting kindergarten is a big transition even without an ill sister, so it may take time for her to adjust to school.
I think a big step can be finding a babysitter who is able to care for a child with D. When you find someone you trust, that will allow you to spend some special time alone as a couple and alone with the older sib.
I personally don't think it hurts to be honest as long as it's in an age-appropriate way. Something like, "You're right, sometimes we have to give extra help to xx b/c she has diabetes. I bet that makes you feel left out and jealous! We love both of you, but it's important to make sure your sister is healthy."
Is there a special extended family member (Grandma? Aunt? Uncle?) who could jump in to do something very "grown-up" with the older sis as well as learning about D care to watch the younger one? I bet they wish they could help and are looking for directions as to how...
Keep us updated! I suspect by this time next year (and likely sooner), this will be easier. Feel free to send me a message if you need further suggestions!
all of these ideas are great! thanks so much.
You are in a tough spot because having a 3, 1, and 5 yr old already makes you a busy mom! 1 yr olds are demanding no matter who else needs more attention (i know, I have one too!) Everyone's suggestions are good - but I think if your 3 yr old hadn't been dx with D, you probably would have focused a little more attention on your daughter's transition to school. That would be hard regardless and so she had two big things happen at once - and I'm sure it is really hard to figure out that the 2 are in no way related. Maybe you can spend a few hours volunteering at her school. And of course, as you get more comfortable with things, she will also be. I hope things have gotten better - let us know!
I was 19 when I was diagnosed my older sister was 22. She was even jealous of the attention I got and she didn't even live at home! She was leaving for New Orleans the day after I was admitted to the hospital and was kind of mad that she didn't get to have lunch with my parents before she left because they all had to come to the hospital to see me. My sister was even being weird because my dad and I had more of a connection because we were both diabetic.
It's like that with all ages! The best way to handle the situation is to just explain to them what's going on, of course it's a lot harder to explain to a 5 year old. Maybe you could do something where you take your 5 year old out and do whatever they want for a day, get a babysitter or leave your husband with the other two and give the 5 year old a "special day" where you do whatever they want and they have your undivided attention.