My 15 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a little more than a month ago. We were both shocked at the diagnosis and overwhelmed with all the new information given to us at the hospital. Thankfully he only spent 3 days in the hospital and overall has done fairly well since coming home. He calculates his carbs but doesn’t feel comfortable giving himself the injections yet. He did at the hospital a couple of times but only once or twice since being home. It is difficult to get him to eat healthy. He has always been a picky eater. We now have found out that his cholesterol is high. And now he is coming down with a bad cold or sinus infection. I have a call into the doctor but It seems like he can’t catch a break. I’ve tried hard not to push too hard and give him time for acceptance. The past couple of weeks he has been very argumentative and not done as well caring for his diabetes. He wants to skip meals and has to be reminded to check his blood sugar like regularly. I want him to make good choices and be responsible about his care to avoid more health issues in the future. Raising a teenager as a single mom is hard enough, but adding diabetes has added another challenge. Any helpful advice or suggestions?
My 4 year old son was just diagnosed 1 month ago too. Ironically similar behavior, skipping meals, picky eater (always has been) and argumentative. Anyways, would your son consider therapy? I understand this is their way of grieving. Trying to access some sort of control that they lost, not eating and being argumentative.
Is he on a continuous glucose monitor ? We love the dexcom G6. Monitoring it from his phone and your phone are so helpful. Also, if injections are not working for him emotionally consider the Omnipod Insulin Pump.
YouTube videos have really helped me as a mom and also my son to realize he’s not alone. Attend any events that you can, under Jdrf, community and events.
We’ve been shopping more at Whole Foods which we never did before. Lots of higher protein food items. Paleo type of pancakes, waffles, almond flour, crackers, etc that they can still eat.
CalorieKing has helped us tremendously too with counting carbs, an app on your phone.
This diagnosis is life changing, I’ve been emotional and crying a lot but just trying to take it one day at a time. I’m not a single mom, I know this must be even more hard. be gentle with yourself and lean on all your support systems you can.
Thanks for the suggestions! He is not open to seeing a therapist a this time. I’m trying not to push him. He doesn’t want to get involved with a support group or participate in any activities. He seems to be getting along well with his friends at school so it’s hard for me to know how much is typical teenage behavior and how how much is related to the diabetes. His doctor said he would have to wait for 6 months to a year before discussing a pump. At his first appointment he told the doctor that he wasn’t interested in a continuous glucose monitor but he may change his mind. He doesn’t seem to mind doing the finger pricks. CalorieKing has been wonderful for us as well! Thanks again for the suggestions.
@Meloliver74 hi Melissa, welcome to TypeOneNation. I am sorry to hear about your son’s recent diagnosis. I’ve had t1 diabetes for 40 years now I was diagnosed a little younger than your son.
The shock of a diagnosis cannot be understated. He has just had an emotional trauma. Many PTSD symptoms may be present. When I was diagnosed, my perspective of being an immortal genius 13 year old with no other medical history other than “I get sick, I get better, no problem”! No and for the first time ever, the doctors, my parents, and my friends cannot make this go away.
The first little bit will have elements of “I wish I could go back to my old life”. and the sorrow of beginning to understand that there is not going to be any going back, ever.
I don’t know his therapy regime, If he is on basal insulin (1 or 2 shots of long acting insulin) and mealtime insulin, then it’s perfectly OK to skip meals. Your best pal is going to be a CDE for the purpose of figuring out his lifestyle and then picking an insulin therapy routine that works for him. Many endo’s will tell you that you have to bend your life around diabetes which simply isn’t true. If he is on 70/30 he may benefit from a change. after 20+ years of shots I picked a pump because of my chaotic eating and sleeping habits, but at first, a pump was out of the question. Do not be discouraged if he finds all tech solutions distasteful (pump, CGM, etc.) because he’s still getting used to whether or not he’ll ever test or inject in front of people, or if he hates the idea of a pump or pod sticking to his body. It was of prime importance to me that I didn’t look any different after my diagnosis.
After the anger comes the healing parts of grief. If he seems to be stuck then there are things you can expose him to that might help… therapy, diabetes camp or camp counselling, online support, the big thing is to come out of isolation - when he’s ready. good luck to you both!
I second the suggestion of getting a CGM. Makes all the difference in the world!
as for the shots, tell him (speaking from experience) that administering your own shots is INFINATELY better than watching someone else come at you with a needle. My wife wanted to do it once and came at me like she was plugging a car tire. “Honey…it’s my skin, not vulcanized rubber…”
You also do realize your dealing with a teenage boy, right? Diabetic or non diabetic, they are about the most stubborn sub species on the planet. Speaking from experience on that, as well…
Hello Melissa, I understand what your son is going through I was diagnosed when I was around 12/13 and it was hard to cop with then because none of my friends had it and now that I’m 15 it seems to be harder to still cope with and wrap my head around sometimes I try to forget that I have it but I can’t really do that because my health is more important. Maybe your son just wants to be like his friends and not have to worry about his sugar or he wants to stay up like other kids and drink pop till 6am but you can’t really do that. So maybe just give him some time to adjust more because yes your world changed but his did to and he is the one who has to survive and live and flourish with this life changing thing. But if your son ever needs anyone to talk to I’m going to be starting and email chain support group for teens.
It is certainly good not to push and only “nudge” when first diagnosed. My 14 year old was diagnosed a few months ago. When we got home from the hospital, like your son, he did not want to give himself shots. So, I made it a point to gently tell him, every time he asked me to do a shot, “Ya know, giving yourself the shot would be a lot easier physically and mentally on you. Are you sure you don’t want to do it?” And we would discuss the “why” of it being easier and eventually after about a week he chose to start doing it himself with me being beside him and gently guiding him. Now, most times I end up yelling across the house “You need 4 units plus correction dose for dinner!” and then I’ll hear him, “Got it, Mom!” So yeah, eventually he will get used to doing his own shots. (Sidenote: He gets his own breakfast and lunch and counts all the carbs and everything. Dinner is the only meal I am still responsible for and that is only because I am the dinner chef in the house)
He could not stand the finger sticks. I would have to ask him to do them and felt guilty but knew he had to. He said sticking his fingers is worse for him than the shots. So, I got him on the Dexcom as fast as I could. Because this disease is hard enough, why not utilize what technology we can get our hands on to help? The CGM is the best. He was a different kid once we got it because he no longer had the anxiety of the finger sticks. If you are up to it, you should sit your son down and have a serious talk with him about it. It can make a world of difference.
As for the attitude he is showing…that could be the diagnosis still sinking in, I mean it’s a major life change so it will take time. But I also know, after observing my sons blood glucose levels, that if he is over 200 for an extended period of time (an hour or more) he gets really moody. I haven’t figured out if it’s the frustration of being high or if it is the actual high that is causing it but either way it makes him moody.
I try to be patient with my son but I also know when it is ok for me to lose a bit of patience. I do not let him use diabetes as an excuse to not do something and I reinforce the idea that it is his body and the choices he makes now will effect him in the future. Just remember to be strong and consistent and let him know that you are there and you are in this together.
[quote=“dannien, post:7, topic:62724”]
. I do not let him use diabetes as an excuse to not do something [/quote]
Please don’t talk to my wife. I have her convinced that the lawnmower is bad for my blood sugar and that exposure to bathroom cleaning supplies might throw me into DKA.
You’re wife doesn’t happen to be a blonde does she??? Kidding! hehehe…Thanks for the laugh!
Thank you! Right now he is leaning away from the CGM and pump because he can’t stand the thought of something sticking in him all the time. It is encouraging to know others have gone through the same process and had share some of his same thoughts! I have no doubt that he will work through the process and come out stronger through it all!
Lol! Thanks for sharing,your experiences! The past 2 days he has administered one of his shots throughout the day. Baby steps!! Thankful!
I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned it, but I think his attitude and moodiness seems to be more prevalent when his sugar is over 200. I will definitely be more aware. Thanks!
I needed this laugh! Thanks!! Please don’t give my son any ideas though!!
As a diabetic myself, I was diagnosed at the age of 8. My teenage years were the worst. I am 19 years old and still not fully taking care of my diabetes but I am way better than I was before. Some things that helped me through everything is support, especially from my family, but also horror stories. I know this isn’t really the best idea, but just hearing about what can happen to your body when you stop taking care of yourself is scary. I went almost 6 years with only taking my Lantus dosage and maybe a novolog dosage every couple months. My parents offered to help, so that took some relief off of me. But honestly I dont know where I am going with this except to say, I was warned when I was first diagnosed that teenage years are the worst.
Hi @Meloliver74 Melissa,
I can’t offer you advice on raising a son with T1, but I can tell you that I was a teenage T1 back in the dark ages, before finger sticks and counting carbs and tech devices I can wear in a pocket monitor and control my disease. You are right, he has to make his own peace, but I have a differing opinion than @BeccaG3 Becca - horror stories don’t affect teenagers. Recall our own teen years when “forever” and “permanence” and “life-changing condition” had little frame of reference. We thought ourselves impervious, rules didn’t apply, screw authority. With love and encouragement, you need to ply him to stay the course. @joe is right, we don’t need to eat all the time, as long as our glucose is in a safe range.
I hear you! a single mom, a teen son, and T1 (good name for a band ). Feel free to ping us often with questions and certainly for support at any time.
To your good health,
I was diagnosed at age 7.5 back in 1968. My mom controlled everything.
There are diabetic camps to help with the diagnosis and there are support groups out there for kids.
My husband was the first to recognize the change in my disposition when I went low. I suddenly would be argumentative. So if my behavior changes, the first thing he’ll say is “test it.”
Your son is going through a grief process (give him time) and be supportive. He might even want to log into one of these blogs for advice.
pray hard - this one sounds tough. get more involved with jdrf where you can meet with him with other t1d so he is not as isolated feeling or tough on the situation. sounds bad but can improve. get him into some t1d classes. he needs to know life can be fun! pray first daily to BVM
Our 14 yo son was diagnosed about 6 months ago. He has mostly done his own shots, but we are always happy to do them for him if he wants us to. I wouldn’t worry too much about that, it will come when he is ready!
The CGM (he uses the Dexcom G6) has been life changing for our whole family and I would highly recommend it if you are able to get one. My son was also very hesitant to have something attached to his body (and still hates having it there) but the peace of mind it gives him with knowing what his blood sugar is doing is worth it. He was definitely experiencing anxiety about his blood sugar (mostly fear of going low and not knowing it) and that has largely been alleviated now that he has the CGM.
We honestly don’t worry too much about his diet. At least not any more than we do with any of our other kids. He eats what he wants and he doses for it. If he is having a particularly large amount of carbs (or pizza) we split up his dose to avoid an insulin reaction, but other than that he eats like any other kid. Over Halloween he ate a ton of candy and didn’t dose for it… ugh, it kills us to see him doing it, but he needs to learn and our harping on him just makes it worse! He had lots of highs and felt like crap a lot of the time… he pointed out the connection to us himself!
Also, highs and lows will magnify the behavior issues, as if teenage boys aren’t moody enough!
Also, he does skip meals (mostly breakfast) and will sometimes just snack (on lower carb foods) on the weekends to avoid having to dose. At first we were very strict about his eating patterns, but once we saw that he could manage his diabetes in his own way we have let him run with it. We are big believers in fostering independence in our children (he’s #2 of 5) and the diabetes. has really tested our resolve, but we are trying to let him figure this out with our guidance not our authority.
The best thing we have done for him is to send him to diabetes camp (we are fortunate to live an hour from Camp Sweeney). It was a life changing experience for him. We forced him to go kicking and screaming (literally!) about 6 weeks after his diagnosis. He came home a different kid and can’t wait to go back next year. I just can’t say enough good things about this camp. If you can swing diabetes camp, I would highly recommend it!
I read someplace shortly after my son’s diagnosis that basically said T1D’s don’t have a carb problem, they have an insulin problem. This perspective really helps me remember that my kid is just a normal kid who needs insulin. When I remember that, lots of things just fall into place…
My son still walks out of the house with no glucose, still waits until everyone is seated and ready to eat dinner to do a carb count and dose (unless I remind him to do it earlier), and still needs to be reminded to take his Lantus every night. So basically a typical teenager! Feel free to message me if you have any questions. I remember those first few months, I almost had a mental breakdown from the stress and overwhelm, but it does get better!
My 9yo daughter was diagnosed 2 months ago. Obviously, there’s a lot of difference between a 15yo boy and a 9yo girl but I will tell you a few things that have helped with some of the similar emotions & behaviors.
She has really enjoyed watching YouTube videos of people, especially preteen & teen girls, talking about their T1D experiences and showing things like what’s in their Diabetes Bag, how to change Omni Pods, how to deal with questions from friends and strangers, etc. Perhaps there are high school & college age guys doing T1D videos as well? You could just research a bit and tell him 1 name that you “heard about” and he could look it up himself. If interested he could then follow that 1 video to others like it and do his own search.
Omni Pod makes a demo. No insulin, just an empty pod that you can stick on and see how it feels. My daughter thought she’d never be able to deal with it or sleep with it but wore the demo for 3 days and said it didn’t bother her at all. Now has confidence knowing sort of what it feels like to wear and is very interested in trying the real deal. Libre & Dexcom don’t have demos like this but your Endo might have something he could wear to simulate a cgm and allow him “try before he buys.” Just a thought. We got our demo in our JDRF Bag of Hope but I have heard of other people calling OmniPod and getting a free demo sent in the mail.
I’ve also been trying to focus on balancing the challenges with a few perks. Especially one-on-one time to just spend with her doing something SHE really enjoys. A movie matinee, a shopping trip, lunch together. Your mileage may vary with teen boy but maybe there’s something fun you can do together where you just don’t talk about diabetes, you just have a good time. The pressure of parenting can make me forget about just spending quality time together.
And finally, my daughter was also not interested in doing her own injections. Which is fine, it’s early and she’s 9. I think it’s such a big job it feels daunting–like she felt like if she did it , she’d have to do all of it. So I just recently just started having her take over 1 meal, dinner. It’s 1 shot a day, it’s not a hectic time of day like breakfast or lunch at school. I didn’t make it a choice. I said you need to start doing this just a little bit. And she did it. She balked a few times at first and I was there to take over and tell her we’d try again the next night. Maybe some part of that will work with your son so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
Good luck. xo
I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. The doctor said I could eat anything I wanted if it did not have sugar. I was scared of what sugar would do to me, and I followed his directions.
Usually, what you son is doing will not cause any major problems as long as he does count carbs, and bolus for everything he eats. I use a pump and CGM, which makes my management much easier.
When he is grown and hormones due to growth no longer interfere, his numbers should be more stable.
I have lived with type 1 for 73 years, and I do not have any serious diabetes related complications. With a more mature perspective in the near future, your son can also have a long, healthy life with type 1 diabetes. Good luck to both of you.