I would really appreciate some advice from parents/physicians/therapists regarding teens and injections. My 13yr old son is newly diagnosed, two weeks now. He has always been terrified of needles but surprisingly has done really well with the injections. He has good days a difficult days. My question is, on his difficult days, do I let him sit there and take the time (however long) it takes for time to give himself the injection? Do I step in and offer to do it for him? He had a friend over tonight and he sat in his bathroom for over a half hour trying to give an injection. As a mom, of course I want to step in and help him but I’m not sure if I’m enabling him and making the situation worse. I’ve tried sitting with him, encouraging him but some days he literally just freezes. My heart breaks for my child and all I want is for him to be “ok” (if there is such a thing) with all of this. Any words of wisdom from “seasoned” parents or physicians would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys…have a great evening.
Hi there. My 16 year old was having the same problem with his Lantus. I was letting him inject alone and then one night he pulled the needle out too soon and half of it went on the floor. He was having trouble because it hurt. So I called our hotline and they suggested an ice pack to numb the area before injecting. It seemed to really help him, especially in the psychological part of it since he knew it wasn’t going to hurt as much. He has always given his own injections and I rarely monitor him anymore. He’s was diagnosed 6 weeks ago. It does get easier! Just hang in there.
I am neither physician, therapist nor parent of a person [so far[ with diabetes but I will offer my experience during the past 59 years. Certainly he will have good and bad days giving himself injections - probably a psychological aspect. I recall years ago holding the syringe in one hand while pinching an injection site on my thigh some days, for what felt like hours, trying to get up the nerve to punch it in; in those days the thigh was the only acceptable site for self injections and we used glass syringe with inch long stainless steel “horse” needles which were used over and over again for years before replacement. Yes, it hurt.
On some days my mother or one of my sisters would take the syringe and give me a very welcome relief by giving my injection in my arm. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Yes, so occasionally help him out but you should not do it all the time. Yep I grew up and went on to give myself thousands of shots while in MDI during the 47 years before starting on a pump.
Hi my son is 13 as well and I still do everything for him. I might be enabling, but I figure he’s going to have to deal with this for the rest of his life so while he’s still at home I can surely help. Your email made me think maybe its time I need to start encouraging him to be more independent, but I think in your case it’s okay to help a little. My son hates shots too, but we have an insulin pump which is a lifesaver and we use numbing cream so that he doesn’t even feel the needle go in. Good luck! This is a life-changing transition, but you guy can do this! And he’ll be fine.
I was also 13 years old when diagnosed 40 years ago. I have also helped out at diabetes summer camps with children as young as 6 years old. Yes, it takes some time to get over the fear of self injecting insulin but it’s important he learn the best technique by trial and error. I never had to deal with glass syringes like Dennis described, but 1/2" (12.7 mm) needles were the standard for many years. If he’s not using one of the shorter needle syringes, I would suggest trying an insulin syringe with a 6 mm needle (4 or 6 mm if using an insulin pen). There will be much less chance of injecting into muscle which makes for a more comfortable injection and better absorption.
Thank you for the advice everyone!
He is using the pen right now and is working towards the pump. This diagnosis is most definitely a game-changer and I’m hoping that it only gets better for all of us.
Have a great day!
My son was diagnosed at 17, and found relief with the “nano” 4 mm needles. The needles are so fine and short that you can barely see them. If he hasn’t used those yet, and if the doctor will let him, maybe those will help! They’re not completely painless, but much less so than the longer needles.
We were also NOT given the smallest needles available for my son, we recently discovered the NANO needle tip and it has helped, also we were on syringes that were not the smallest and scbool nurse told us smaller ones were available and so we ordered those. We stopped refrigerating Lantus, and son claims it burns less…good luck
My son was also diagnosed at 13, over 4 years ago. We did a lot of injections for him in the beginning. Sometimes I think they just need a break from having to take care of everything themselves. They have a lifetime of giving injections so if they need some help in the beginning I don’t think you need to worry about enabling him. Good luck to you all.
I have recently changed to the pump; but I remember the burn felt with the Lantus. My doc changed to Levemir and it didn’t burn. Might ask the endo about that. It also seemed to work better for me.
My son was diagnosed over 2 years ago. I suggest you just tell him that you are there to help him whenever he needs it or wants it. This disease is 24/7, and I think there is nothing wrong with helping your child out when they feel like they need a break. Before my son began using a pump, our insurance company switched us to a cheaper brand of syringes which were just terrible. We paid for BD insulin syringes with ultra-fine needles (6mm, 31 gauge) out of pocket. It really made a difference for him.
Giving injections is just one part of the picture. It gets easier as you and he get more confidence in dealing with all aspects of the disease.
My daughter was diagnosed last year, she is now 13 years old. From the beginning, she did really good with the injections by herself, I still calculating carbs for her with some of her meals just to give her a break. At first she tried different sizes of needles until she found the one that it hurts her the less and I take her Lantus out of the fridge about 1 hr before so it doesn’t sting.
One thing that we did last summer was to send her to a camp just for kids with TD1, she had the best time and not only kids but also everybody who works with this kids areTD1, they teach them how to manage their diabetes, how count carbs and other things related to TD1.
At first it is overwhelming but with time you and your child will feel more confident.
I wish you the best on this journey.