From Nashville, Tennessee, USA:
My niece was diagnosed at age 8 and is now 16. Her mom is concerned with her weight gain (approximately 25 pounds). How does this affect her diabetes? I am sorry I don't know the "type" she has - I will find out. I have been asked to talk to her about her weight gain because mom is afraid of the high school problems of "not fitting in" because of her weight and my concern is her diabetes and how it's affecting her.
Your niece has most likely been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes given her age at onset. Since you do not indicate her weight, it is unclear why the 25 pounds gained since age 8 is of concern. The larger issue is why you are intervening? Is the mother embarrassed by her daughter's appearance? Is the mother unable to communicate with her daughter? Why do you find yourself in this position?
My best thoughts are 1) let your niece come to you if she wants to talk and 2) realize that she is at an age when she must begin to "own" her diabetes; and relatives must take a less controlling approach.
I know this is hard but my experience is that teenagers really resist interference from even the most well meaning relatives, particularly around the issue of weight.
Original posting 23 Mar 1998
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