Teen in Denial and sneaking things he shouldn't have

(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #21

I don’t know how I can help beyond offering encouragement and hope as so many other members have offered - in much better ways than I could offer. I certainly emphasize with you, for what you experienced watching your mother and more so now for the anxiety you feel watching your son. Until last month when one of my sisters told me, I didn’t realize the grief I was putting my mother through 50 or 60 years ago when I refused to admit that I had diabetes, etc. You got it, I wasn’t always a “good boy” when it came to diabetes until someone woke me up after 10 years - yes, now I’m paying for that.

I’d happily talk with your son, offer him what I know and give him encouragement. Message me. However, the people here who are more his age may serve his needs better.

(sophiespieg) #22

I’m glad I could help, Tracy :slight_smile:

I’m 21 now and was diagnosed at 17, close to the age of your son. I don’t know if it was being a teenager or the surprising, late diagnosis, but I think that the teenage years are the hardest. When you’re living and supported by your parents, at least personally, I had this weird invincibility complex where I didn’t think anything bad could happen to me. I honestly didn’t get a good control over my blood sugars until I moved out and started college, because I didn’t have anyone taking care of me and all of the responsibility finally fell on my shoulders.

Sometimes, working towards a good A1C seems like such a far away, long-term goal, so I think that having the reward of getting a job and being able to drive is a great thing to strive for. Health is definitely the #1 priority, and hopefully this entices him to take better care of himself.

I definitely identify with his frustration though. Just today I went from a reading of 125 to 260 after eating a salad. A SALAD!!! So if he needs to vent to anyone, I’m definitely here. Feel free to inbox me separately for my email if you’d like.

I can tell you’re sincerely a very caring mother and he’s lucky to have you. Stay strong!!

(annab_0709) #23

Hey there! I was diagnosed with diabetes at 17, I know a little bit of how he is feeling. Often times with diabetes and being a teenager it feels like you are alone in a sea of people who have no idea what you are dealing with. Maybe if he made some diabetic friends it would help him embrace t1d, because unfortunately it won’t be going away any time soon. I have (sadly) have never been to camp Seale Harris but everyone I know who has loves it, I think it would be a refreshing opportunity for him to see some teenagers dealing with what he does. If there are other diabetics at his school maybe he could reach out to them, I have done that and it has been helpful. Also, when I went through a time period of denial I spoke with a counselor at childrens who was very helpful. If he is not on a pump maybe an incentive for him would be that if he gets his sugars and a1c to a good level he could get on a pump, which makes dosing a eating a lot easier. Girls and guys deal with emotions and denial differently, though, but this is my advice from my experiences with t1d and denial.

(annab_0709) #24

If needs someone to talk to that is close to his age feel free to reach out!

(FriendlyGuy64) #25

If he keeps sneaking behind your back then he will get an early death sentence since he does not care about himself as well as his A1C level is very high. He must learn to accept it. I think he may need a counseling help as soon as possible…


Tracy, it would mean the world to me if you read my entire message to the end! A reply would also be the best and sweetest thing ever! <3

Normally I’m a private, timid and soft-spoken person. But, Ima be real real with you, because I have T1D and was diagnosed at 14, and I used to have a boss who was going through what sounds like exactly the same situation. I tried to gently guide her about how to help her then 13 year old son,but she was a stubborn, mean, mean mom. My dad is the same way, and when I was diagnosed I was also taken to a dialysis clinic, and a retirement home where he called ahead to make sure someone with amputated feet was there. My boss once yelled at her son for a low blood sugar “if you want to kill your self just use a gun. It’ll be faster and we can all move on with our lives.” Then she had the nerve to ask me why I though he wouldn’t dose for eating. Umm…because he has no motivation to live because you told him you want him to kill him self. Duh. I wasn’t brave enough to tell that T1D mom what a bad parent she was and that the things she was doing were in humane, cruel, and building strong and deserved resentment. I haven’t talked to my dad in 12 years, and the way he handled my Diabetes formed a significant part of how I perceive him. My parents withheld my permit and license saying vague statements like “until your sugars are better”. How on earth is he supposed to try to reach an imperceptible goal with no real markers or ways of measuring it? My parents held off until I became more unbearable than their fear, and I snuck out to parties and places I shouldn’t have gone to spite them, then lied to them about everything. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS KIND OF RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SON!! And right now, you are doing some things right and a TON of things wrong. But, you still have time to change your actions and actually give him a fighting chance to have a healthy life. I’m going to tell you 4 rules for parenting a T1D teen I wish my parents had known.

First: DO NOT do any of the cruel things I mentioned above. It is unfair, depressing, scarring, and frightening to a child who already has an unfair, depressing, scarring, and frightening disease. They’ll hate you for it and it will do the opposite of teaching them how to live a healthy life with the disease.

Second: FORGET the words “putting my foot down”, “consequences”, and “punish”. You used them before in this thread and that HAS TO STOP NOW!! The words you know now are “praise”, “reward”, and “prizes”!! Again, he already has a disease and feels different, you as his mother should NEVER pile onto his burden. I know you are scared but don’t take it out on him. It isn’t his fault. At all.

Third: Give him what he wants. Well, not exactly. 2 points here, I’ll go into more on the fourth piece of advice. So, if kids his age are getting to go on a trip, he gets to go. If they all start getting their driving permits, he gets his too. He didn’t choose Diabetes and no one else has the fun parts of their youth withheld for an arbitrary reason. If you are worried about his driving, tell him that he can only use the car once he texts you his blood sugar and let’s you know he is leaving a place. He should also be required to text when he gets to where he is going. These are normal rules for any teen driver and you should also make sure your daughter has to follow the same rules: texting you before leaving and when arriving at a destination, never when driving. Withholding a driving privlage is a reasonable consequence for not following a driving rule, like texting you when leaving and arriving, and hopefully that’ll put your anxiety somewhat to rest. If not, you gotta learn to cope with your fear because your fear isn’t his problem, it’s yours. If you are worried about him going on a school trip, keep that to yourself. That’s your worry and you need to deal with it, it isn’t his job to rid you of your worry.

Fourth and finally: GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS!! What do you want? D.U.H. You want him to check his sugars and keep them in line and dose for everything he eats so his A1C is less than 7 so that he doesn’t have complications, right? He wants that too, but he doesn’t know how to do it and can’t seem to learn and keeps getting beat down for not being able to do something he hasn’t been reasonably taught to do. So, sit down with him and let him know what he needs to do in order to be healthy. Then take one aspect of Diabetes management (and there are so so so overwhelmingly many parts you’ll never run out of things to reward him for) and say you are going to work on it together. Ask him if there is something that he really really wants. For example, say he wants a drone real bad. Get together a chart to keep track of when he eats and when he doses. Set a reasonable goal and give him a sticker or check mark for every time he eats and doses (NO MATTER WHAT HE EATS - type 1 diabetics can eat whatever we want as long as we take insulin. Over time will eating a ton of junk make you fat? Yes, like it would with any person. But you aren’t working on him staying trim right now, your working on dosing when eating), and ignore the times he doesn’t dose but eats something. If they are more frequent than times he eats and doesn’t dose, point out the chart and the drone. If that doesn’t work, check in with him gently and see if the goal feels unreachable or if he still wants a drone. You can change those things around, and will probably have to if he is depressed like many diabetic teens. STICK WITH IT and modify it until his goal feels reachable with some additional effort from him. Once he reaches the goal, even if you’ve moved the goal post 10 times, he will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment and he will also get his drone and be super happy because of that! Then, do it all over again until it is a habit for him. Then you can move on to checking sugars regularly, eating healthy foods, for the next few years before he goes to college.

Objections some parents may have include:
Why should I reward him for doing something he is supposed to do? My mean boss asked me this, and I tried to tell her why but she wouldn’t listen. The reason is Because that is how people learn new habits and skills, and because he wasn’t “supposed” to get diabetes so he can’t be expected to just handle it. Rewarding the behavior you want increases the frequency of the behavior. It’s been proven again and again and again.
His sister will get jealous if he gets all this stuff:
It wasn’t fair that he got Diabetes, it isn’t fair that he gets rewards and she doesn’t, life isn’t fair. It’s true and they were going to learn it eventually.
What am I, made of money?: a drone, a trip to Disneyland, or a car will all cost less than years of emergency room visits, hospitals stays, and counseling for depression that’ll come if you don’t teach him how to manage his disease and cope with it. If you can’t afford the thing he really wants, just reward him with cash and he can save up for whatever he wants. Cash is very motivating to teenagers.
This will take forever!: Sadly we all have the rest of our lives to learn to manage and cope with this disease. The plan outlined above is the one outlined in almost all of the Diabetic management books, behavior modification books, and many peer reviewed studies. Your current behavior of punishing and telling him about the dangers of diabetes obviously aren’t working, so change them. Google “positive reinforcement resources” to get some free resources.

Ok, so sorry for being so blunt if it hurt your feelings. I’m 30 and am just now learning how to manage and cope with my diabetes. I have to make my own sticker sheets and withhold something I want from myself until I reach a goal!! It’s MUCH harder to learn now, and I wish my parents had known how to teach someone a habit. I also wish I had told my dad and ex boss that they a terrible parents for treating their children like they did. But, I was too shy and scared to tell my boss at the time. And my father would not listen or care or accept any responsibility. I feel so much pity for my ex-boss’s poor son, and for all her children. I worry that one day he will just kill himself like she told him to and I never stood up to her.

If you read the whole post, thank you so much! I’m not really mean, but I think some blunt talk about what needs to change is needed here. Remember, if nothing changes, then nothing changes! You can only change your behavior, not his, but by reinforcing good behavior it will become more frequent, it’s scientifically proven.

Best! <3

(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #27

Thank you Michelle! @HottieMcHot , for this very powerful message. I can see how many parents, family or “loved-ones” will benefit from reading what you wrote and adopting some or all of the points you have made.
Of particular importance is your thought about a parent imposing the “blame” for getting diabetes on his or her child - if blame MUST be place on anyone, the parents should look at themselves.

Also, “sneaking food” is a topic that might be enlightening and maybe Tracy @tsiegle122100 should talk about this with her son . What human being NEVER grabs a snack or a bite of this or that between “formal sit-down” meals? I don’t know of any exceptions, so why should a person with diabetes be held apart from the human family. The key here, as was well said many times, is to give the person sneaking the food the encouragement and permission to properly administer insulin. That said, a PWD should not use the insulin dosing to the point of inflicting obesity on themselves.

(Kathryn M.) #28

Yeah, it’s important to be able to find a good therapist, or just someone you can trust. I remember I just hated testing when I was 13. I hope it worked out for you :wink: