Maybe I can help offer a different perspective. My name is Chelsea and I too was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a very young age. I was two years old, almost 3 when I was diagnosed, so your son and i Have that in common. I think being diagnosed that young presents some difficult psychological and emotional challenges. I don’t think a 3 year old has the ability to fully process that sort of life changing news and commitment.
I’ve had Type 1 diabetes for 20 years now, and for most of those years I really neglected taking care of myself, and only recently I have overcome my “demons” with diabetes and have started taking care of it. I went through the exact same thing your son is going through, I thought that if I just ignored my diabetes it would just go away, or maybe nothing would happen if I didn’t manage it and I wouldn’t have any consequences. I think what caused this sort of irrational thinking for me was that my diabetes was causing me a lot of anxiety and depression all growing up and I had a really deep hatred towards it. Avoiding and ignoring my diabetes was the only way I knew how to cope with having diabetes. Not to mention, if I never pulled out my kit and tested and got shots, it seemed like diabetes wasn’t on the radar for anybody else and I could get by without somebody asking me how my blood sugars were and I could avoid a lecture or an uncomfortable conversation and essentially I would feel “normal” and just like everybody else around me who didn’t have diabetes.
I think for me, having more support could’ve been beneficial, I felt incredibly alone in a world full of people. Other people would try to understand what I was going through, and I can’t tell you how tiring it was having people apologize to me when they found out that I had diabetes, like I was dying or something - not the best morale booster. And I just want you to know that I don’t blame my mom, so you shouldn’t blame yourself either, or be too hard on yourself. Now that I’m older, and I’ve become a mom just recently myself, I understand how difficult that must have been for her and how hard it van be to know the best thing to do and how to find support. As a diabetic myself, I wouldn’t want to have to go through what she did with having such a young child be diagnosed with diabetes. I admire and congratulate my mom, as well as you too - that’s no small effort.
My advice would be to make sure when you talk about diabetes, make it a positive, casual, normal sort of thing. Too often I think we talk about all the “don’t s” and consequences associated with diabetes, rather than the fact that you really can live just as normal as anybody else, and you don’t have to stick to some crazy health nut diet either. Of course that doesn’t mean you should go all out crazy on the junk food and sweets - but neither should anyone else! It’s not good for them either! And as far as the lectures and negative stuff goes, basically less is best. We tend to remember and hold on the negative in life, and for whatever reason, we too quickly forget the positive. So be positive often and trust that he can do it, and try not to be patronizing or condescending (not saying that you would be, but I always hated that - mostly with my doctors). Also, don’t be afraid to talk to him and let him know that it’s okay to be afraid to be bummed out about diabetes sometimes, but just make sure to not let it consume you. Diabetes doesn’t have to be you, it can just be one small thing about you - you can be so much more than just labeled as a diabetic. I once was ashamed to say I was diabetic, and now I kind of wear it as a badge. It makes me unique and different, and although I struggled and had a really hard time with it all growing up, and still do from time to time now, I know that I am all the stronger because of it now.
I am 22, I am currently pursuing a degree in Art Education, I spent the last seven years working as a lifeguard and swim instructor, and I love to go camping and biking. I have a wonderful supportive husband, and a beautiful 3 month old baby boy. I am a diabetic - loving and living life.
All the best of luck to you , Dannie, and your son. I hope that maybe helps in some way, and if you ever have any questions you think I could maybe help with - feel free to send a message my way.