Rebelling teenager

stacey_w

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Parent
Hello everyone,
I haven't been on here in so long but I really need some support. My son has had diabetes for almost 5 years now and is 14 years old. He is using the omniood system and we love it, but the problem we are having is he is rebelling so much with his testing.

He is testing on average just twice a day which is really stressful for myself. I have been trying to give him more independence as I know the last thing a teenager wants is a parent nagging them all the time. I feel like I have no choice but to nag now though. He is skipping meals so he doesn't need to test and I'm at my wits end. We had a hospital check up a couple of weeks ago and the consultant explained the importance of testing, but it has clearly fallen on deaf ears. I just don't know what to do.

We have spoken about it and he has told me he doesn't like being different. I sympathised and said I would never claim to understand how it feels for him, but I expressed how importsnt it is to take care of himself as thats the best way to make sure he controls his diabetes and it doesn't control him (if that makes sense).
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

helli

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Sorry to read about the problems with your son. I can imagine how hard it is having diabetes at his age.
Is there a chance for him to have Libre?
Checking his phone is less obvious than finger pricking and maybe the tech could be interesting if he pumps it with a Miaomiao.
 

Sally71

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Parent
Libre is a good idea if you can get one. Also, does your son understand the potential damage he is doing to himself if he doesn’t keep a close eye on things? My daughter is also 14 and she always says she wants her feet to stay where they are, on the end of her legs. Depressing perhaps but it reminds her how important it is to look after herself, she isn’t deliberately rebellious but can be a bit lax “i’ll do it in a minute” type attitude, and it’s a useful way to remind her if she’s slipping a bit. She hardly pricks her fingers at all any more but that’s because we now have Dexcom which we are finding so accurate that any finger pricks we do do come out exactly the same.

My daughter has always hated being different, all through primary school she could barely talk about it, used to get very upset if anyone asked her what her pump is even though that is just an innocent question, etc etc, since transferring to secondary school she seems to be able to cope with it better (all though I’m sure still doesn’t really like it). I think she got lucky and found some brilliant friends who think all her diabetes tech is really cool and they really care for her too so always want to help. We used to have Libre and the one friend could always tell if her behaviour was a bit off and would tell her to “use your beeper”, and it would usually be low! Daughter is here with me but unfortunately apart from reminding herself how she could end up if she let her control slide she can’t offer any great words of wisdom, sorry :(. I do feel for you, I’d be going spare!
 

Thebearcametoo

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Parent
I would also push his team to get Libre funding as that will help.

Testing twice a day is... ok...ish. It’s obviously not ideal but it’s better than not testing at all. Try to look at is in a harm minimisation way rather than prefect control and support him in the ways you can. If he has a big breakfast and then dinner he can probably get away with a minimal lunch low carb lunch or just carb free drinks. That may help him get through this blip. I think sometimes as parents we fear that if they start doing something that they will continue to do that forever and actually mostly it’s just a phase and will pass if we give them the space to explore their options. A teen who has been diabetic for a few years knows the rules. It’s not an information gap, it’s an emotional gap. Has he had contact with the team psychologist?
It can also be handy to point to all the ways other kids he knows are different, x has asthma, y has epilepsy, z has ASD. Seeing that everyone has their own challenges can help teens generally but especially with this sort of thing.
 

Pumper_Sue

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
He is testing on average just twice a day which is really stressful for myself. I have been trying to give him more independence as I know the last thing a teenager wants is a parent nagging them all the time. I feel like I have no choice but to nag now though. He is skipping meals so he doesn't need to test and I'm at my wits end. We had a hospital check up a couple of weeks ago and the consultant explained the importance of testing, but it has clearly fallen on deaf ears. I just don't know what to do.
Hello and lovely to see you again.
Even though it doesn't help, your son sounds just like a normal teenager. Have a chat and see if the finger pokes are painful or if it's a case he has eaten something without a bolus thus higher than he should be so doesn't want it on record.

As already mentioned the Libre would be a very good option for him. Point out and show Henry Slade the England rugby player he uses a Dexcom whilst playing.
 

helli

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Point out and show Henry Slade the England rugby player he uses a Dexcom whilst playing.
I did wonder what he uses as I have seen taped wrapped round his upper arm and thought it may be protecting a sensor.
His team did better against Italy today than they did against Scotland, last week. At least the Wales/Scotland match was close which makes last week’s match look a little better for England.
 

Cherrelle DUK

Online Community Coordinator
Staff member
Hi Stacy_W,

This is a tricky one as I can totally understand his concern though his health is top priority. As Pumper_sue said, it's normal for him to have these concerns and I agree with trying to get a Libre sorted for him.

Great mention of Henry Slade, I found this video of him talking about his experience which might be useful viewing for your son
.

It's a lot to come to terms with so maybe having a chat with someone would be helpful? The Mix offer general support for people his age going through any kind of challenge so it's worth having a look at https://www.themix.org.uk/.
 

stacey_w

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Parent
Thank you for all of your responses. Apologies for not responding sooner, but I didn't not get email notifications saying anyone had replied. He's still rebelling which is just really disheartening. I have reached out to his diabetes team for some support. He has had the libre but really didn't like it. He said it just made him feel even more different, I just feel like we shoukd go back to it until he starts pricking regularly again maybe? I am so grateful to hear that he isn't the first teenager to do this. I just feel empty inside.
I have reiterated on numerous occasions the consequences his actions could have for him in in the future.
I don't have anyone to talk to who has children with diabetes and feel really isolated.
Thanks again for all of your replies.
 

Drummer

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Perhaps put it to him that he might be heading for being really different - particularly when it comes to sex.
His mates must surely brag pretty much non stop between themselves. A single warning about what high blood glucose can do to that might be all that is required.
 

Sally71

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Parent
The other thing is, if he wants to learn to drive when he’s old enough he will have to have good control or he won’t be allowed to have a licence, and you can’t have good control without testing. You have to test before you drive and every two hours afterwards if it’s a long journey, and you have to be able to show proof that you have done so. I know driving is a couple of years away yet, but he might be thinking about it and talking to his friends about things like that!
 

Inka

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
The future seems a long way away when you’re a teen. If he’s really not listening, would choosing your points work eg like the driving point above, or whatever might make him think “Oh no! I don’t want that!” ? Sometimes it’s the smaller things that focus people’s minds rather than the big things eg thrush rather than kidney problems, erectile issues rather than neuropathy, having a hypo with no warning because he’s not bothered to test, etc etc.

What helped me was understanding that if I wanted to be normal, I had to put my diabetes right down in its place by controlling it and getting normal blood sugars. That way I was normal. I wasn’t different. My HbA1C was normal, my sugars were/are controlled and I can do all the normal things eg drive, eat what I want without issues. I wasn’t the odd one out because I wasnt having to wee every 20 mins, I wasn’t the odd one out because my mood was stable because I didn’t have big blood sugar swings, etc etc If he takes control and tests, injects, eats and controls his diabetes, he won’t be different. If he ignores it, it will come up when he’s least expecting it and he’ll feel far from normal.

Also, do emphasise that his peers will be thinking about their own issues and interests and not care a fraction as much as he thinks they do about what he’s doing.

P.S - the email notifications sometimes don’t work or work sporadically. It’s always worth checking the actual forum to make sure.
 

everydayupsanddowns

Administrator
Staff member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I think at least in part you should be celebrating how much he is doing to manage his diabetes.

He IS still regiularly checking BG and administering insulin - and there are teens who rebel so profoundly that they cannot manage to keep that up. I'm sure you are doing this already, but some acknowledgement of how hard it is, and an affirmation of how much he is already doing & how proud you are of his coping could go a long way.

I'd be cautious about slathering on the prophecies of doom too - those can be very disheartening and demotivating for some people, and give them the feeling that these unwelcome outcomes are inevitable, so "what's the point".

I imagine the teen years are a very difficult time to live through with diabetes. I count myself very lucky that I was diagnosed at 21 not 12. When all he wants is to fit in and be like his peers, diabetes can feel like a real nuisance, so it's hardly surprising he might want to reduce it's visibility. I really hope he finds a way to turn it into a distinctive and cool aspect of him, to give him an edge. Kinda like a superpower.

I find the 'etiquette' pages from the Behavioural Diabetes Institute very thought provoking in terms of how to have conversations around diabetes. This is their 'Teen Etiquette' page.

 

everydayupsanddowns

Administrator
Staff member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
There's a DUK Vitual Q&A panel session on this Thursday 18th March at 7pm, discussing how to encourage your T1 child to become more independent in their own self management, which might give you some ideas too?

 

Amity Island

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Hello everyone,
I haven't been on here in so long but I really need some support. My son has had diabetes for almost 5 years now and is 14 years old. He is using the omniood system and we love it, but the problem we are having is he is rebelling so much with his testing.

He is testing on average just twice a day which is really stressful for myself. I have been trying to give him more independence as I know the last thing a teenager wants is a parent nagging them all the time. I feel like I have no choice but to nag now though. He is skipping meals so he doesn't need to test and I'm at my wits end. We had a hospital check up a couple of weeks ago and the consultant explained the importance of testing, but it has clearly fallen on deaf ears. I just don't know what to do.

We have spoken about it and he has told me he doesn't like being different. I sympathised and said I would never claim to understand how it feels for him, but I expressed how importsnt it is to take care of himself as thats the best way to make sure he controls his diabetes and it doesn't control him (if that makes sense).
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Hi Stacey_w

A freestyle libre seems to be the way forward. You can test for him, it's only a matter of swiping a sensor worn on the arm. This should be provided free on NHS for Type 1's of such a young age. In the meantime, if affordable, the reader and sensors can be purchased from Abbott online. £50 for a sensor which lasts 2 weeks (provided it doesn't get knocked off the arm). once the little white sensor is on the arm (a painless excercise) is can be scanned as many times as you like, just swipe it. The libre gives a 24hr graph, it's truly brilliant. The new libre 2 even has alarms to tell if the wearer is above or below target range of between say 3.9 and 10mmol.

You can purchase a starter pack here or wait and try and get it on NHS for free.

 
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