From Texas, USA:
My son was diagnosed with type one diabetes at 18 months. He is now 2 1/2 years. We recently moved from Utah to Texas. He is in pretty good control and we seem to be coping well with the daily routine of diabetes care. My question is about separation anxiety. As his mom, all of his care is up to me. He won't let me out of his sight. He will not stay with neighbors or friends even his dad too long. When he realizes I am gone he panics. He has not had any severe hypoglycemic reactions. Will this improve?
Diabetes can often complicate separation anxiety. The move to a new state, new playmates, new home, etc., would likely make any child somewhat anxious. However, it would be a positive move to begin educating the folks in your child's world. Moms frequently take on the "lion's share" of diabetes management for young children. (especially follwing initial diagnosis); dads occasionally get left out in the cold-feeling that their best contribution is to make a good living. Grandparents feel "unqualified" and sometimes fearful as well.
So that leaves the mom in the unenviable position of being the only one her child views as able to take care of him/her and the diabetes. The main intervention here is education of others along with your own confidence that someone else can carry the ball. In my practice, I have come across kids who have severely limited their young lives due to such heightened separation anxiety.
Let your child get settled in. Then, begin to consciously share the diabetes routines with your husband (finger sticks, meal preparation, snacks, etc.). Remind your child that both of his parents can take care of him. I don't know what your babysitter arrangements may be; but it would be helpful to have a childcare provider who knows the ropes also. Otherwise, you and your husband will feel fear every time you leave to have a normal night out.
Sorry this is so long, but, I do believe that there is safety in numbers. The more persons who really know and demonstrate their ability to care for your son, the less scared he will be to have you "out of his sight."
Original posting 20 Dec 1998
Posted to Behavior
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