Stepmom need info and help

type 1 stepdaughter age 12 has known for 6 months plus. My problem is her mother (lives with mainly) let’s her have all the sugar and sodas whenever she wants as long as has insulin. I have researched and only see that it still not healthy for her long term. Am I correct or just looking for trouble? She just recently on pump but also still never did her own shots to belly area or her overnights injections…I had thought Motts children’s would have made sure before giving her pump. As you can tell her mother Hasn’t included me in any of classes and when she wants not including father who is very involved with daughter and pays for all insurance and medical bills. Please give me some ideas to help save this girl’s future.


This is a tough situiation! Your stepdaughter should be drinking diet soda because the sugar found in regular soda can shot a diabetic to the moon! Regular soda can be used in small amounts to treat a low blood sugar. I would recommend that your stepdaughter look into more protein options or foods with a high amount of fiber in them. This can help stablize her blood sugars, which is good. She can still have sweets or desserts, but in moderation. I would recommend giving her half pieces of desserts. Make sure when she eats dessert that she makes adjustments to her insulin rate to include it. I hope this helps! If you found this information helpful please follow my blog at:


Thank you, I have continued researching anyway to get her to do the healthy way to make her long term life healthier. It’s adds to situation when mom makes it about all she has had to do and is trying to be a buddy and not a parent with her eatting habits. My hat off to your mom and your blog

Hi @stepmom,

I believe that your thinking is correct, right on. It sounds as if your stepdaughter may be doing herself harm both in the short-term and in the long-term if she survives. [I know that may sound overly cruel, but …]

I concur with what @ashleymkuhn says here and will add that your stepdaughter, like all people, should practice moderation in her diet and not only in sodas which do not provide any measurable value but in all she eats and does. It is true, that with an insulin pump, it is relatively easy to keep BG readings in a normal range by infusing additional insulin but it could also encourage her to pack-on many additional pounds which are a teen girl’s “horror” story.

Please continue, along with her father, to encourage her to take a look at who she is, even at 12 years old, and where she is headed; yes, I was there once. With a little self-caring and support from loving family - but not over-bearing - she can and WILL live a long, healthy life without many complications. Yes Stepmom, you are doing the right thing.


hi @Stepmom,
i was 12ish when I was diagnosed with t1. The next few years will be hard enough for your stepdaughter because, for a 12 year old, wrapping your head around a chronic disease will be hard enough.

“diabetics can’t have sugar” may be a little too much for her right now, and so I worry about her mental health and self-esteem for the next 5-10 years. truth be told, she can eat whatever the heck she wants if her blood sugar is controlled and the consequences will be exactly as any other 12 year old girl.

now for me… I limit sugar because my blood sugar control is much, much simpler when I don’t load up. but that’s a decision I came to on my own. also, I can control my weight better because (sugar + insulin = weight gain) for me.

better than any 45 minute “pep talk” any doctor or CDE can give you - get a hold of a book called “Think Like a Pancreas” it’s on amazon for 15 bucks and you will have a great reference and learning resource for all things diabetes. to become a pump expert… The pumpers golden reference is “Pumping Insulin” also 15 bucks also amazon and #1 for any kind of pump.

go slow, don’t crash her entire world - especially not all at once, she will be okay. the first years are the hardest, the goal is for her to take care of herself. good luck.

Joe- you have some really good points. the delicate age she is at is extremely tough, peers matter and she wants to do what every other girl does. Also, stepmom I understand you care and you want to be supportive and that is the best thing you can be!! But I also want to point out that it is normal for even older teenagers to get assistance with injections, and into the night (those must be calculated out as well) Does your 12 year step daughter understand the formula for it? because it will not be the same each night if at 2 am or 3am (whatever time she needs a BG check or correction). Also is she responsible enough to take her care over? I think what is even more complicated to understand is that “sugar” saves lives for type 1`s. Of course anything in excess is bad. what you can do is control what types of food are available to her when she is around you… she may start prefer those instead. Good luck.

I’m sure you are planning ahead as best you can, so with that in mind you might want to research diabetes camps. Older teens may find “summer camp” childish, but it might be just right for her age. She will meet and bind with other kids her age who are all learning how to care for themselves, and hopefully will take those lessons home.
In the meantime, if she hasn’t seen one yet, an nutritionist or diabetes nurse educator can help her to manage those “treats” with her pump, while helping to understand the need for moderation.

As a parent of a relatively newly diagnosed boy (dx’d for almost two years at 8 yrs old he is now 10), this is very emotional and the emotions of a 12 year old and worse, a teen, are MUCH different than that of an adult. And to be newly dx’d at 10 I cam imagine is a huge emotional adjustment, let alone the scariness and pain of new infusion sites,and injections, and pulling off medical tape, etc., I would not lose site of that part of it. Moira McCarthy wrote a book, “Raising Teens with Diabetes” and she and her daughter both now advocate for JDRF, her blog and book are very eye opening. It is great she is on a pump that should help but it bring with it it’s own challenges.

You are in for a marathon…everyone has a different book of rules on how they manage their diabetes, and sometimes you have to put the child before the blood sugar number because Depression and mental health issues will effect A1C levels far worse and far longer than any uncovered snacks will. Changing is a gradual process and over time moving in the right direction will get you all where you need to be.

Read as much as you can "Children with Diabetes is anther good site and there are many FACEBOOK groups to join for parents of kids on pumps or with type one. I have found them VERY helpful. We are on Dexcom CGM, my son does not want a pump with tubes and we are looking at Omnipod, but just getting him to wear a medical device on his body was an emotional hurdle, we not love the Dexcom though! :wink: It will take time but you will all figure it out. Good luck

Thank you… I am and will be checking out those sights also. Yes the major problem happening is trying to get informed from her mother of whats happening, we log in everything when she’s with us but the mother never forwards what her habits have been and then it comes out as the days go by… eats whatever and whenever wants as long as gets insulin but she doesn’t have a schedule for reg. sleep time or any exercise because mama says she don’t have to. That makes it very hard because I have researched enough to know she is like other teens and does need the structure on top of learning what’s healthier for her body. We have talked about the camps but mama says to soon. (She is doing all for the 13 yr. old - but she has always had her in what we call a boxed bubble) – Funny the child says it and feels it but then excepts not having to do anything for herself.
Ugh thank you again (needed that and to hear others ideas on it)

I think letting a diabetic child eat/drink whatever they want is akin to a form of child abuse. You could contact Social Services to see what they think. They might be able to put pressure on the mom.

Interesting and thank you… that’s sorta my line of thinking. She not teaching her how to live long term healthier… We did go to a summit (?) and we have gotten daughter to consider getting a mentor but haven’t heard fro her mom on it… She says mom willn’t want anyone telling her what to do or what doing wrong. Thank you for idea