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From Rowlett, Texas, USA:

My stepdaughter developed type 1 diabetes about 16 months ago, and my wife and I are trying to help her cope with her disease -- which has been a struggle from day one. Our latest drama we have found out that she has been giving us false readings from her glucose meter, a few of her readings have been above 400 mg/dl [22.2 mmol/L], and there have been more than 20 readings above 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L]. We need help in getting her to realize the danger of not correctly taking care of herself and are scheduling an appointment with her doctors. Any suggestions? Please help.


Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during the teen years poses a real challenge. A teenager's developmental task is to break away from parental control and explore boundaries. However, diabetes is not the area in which to rebel! I have had clients who thought that telling their parents what they thought they "wanted to hear" was better than telling the truth. It must be made clear to your teen that blood sugars are not "good" or "bad"-- they are simply up or down. You cannot win a battle about blood sugars and arguments tend to raise blood sugar levels even higher.

My best advice is to get your teen into some counseling now and involve her diabetes team in the conversation. I wonder if she is acting out with her diabetes due to other resentments. Is she happy to be a stepdaughter? Is she mostly upset because diabetes makes her "different" from her peers? Is she fearful and/or self destructive? These are questions worth investigating, and you will need a trained counselor familiar with diabetes to assist you.


Original posting 7 Jan 2003
Posted to Behavior


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