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From Ramsey, Minnesota, USA:

My son was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 10 months. He is now 20 and is refusing to do regular blood checks before giving himself a shot. He takes Lantus and Humalog.

How do we help him understand the importance of checking his blood sugar? This is getting very frustrating has he has had times when his blood sugar was high and he had to go to the hospital because he was dehydrated. Help me find a way to talk with him without making him upset and discouraged.


Your concern for your 20 year old son is certainly understandable. No parent feels comfortable watching their child, no matter how old, make decisions that are dangerous. You do not mention where your son lives. If he lives at home, perhaps you can check his blood sugars for him and give him his injections for at least a few weeks. He will likely begin to feel better physically, which may improve his mood, and then he may be more ready and willing to engage you in a conversation about his own self-care behaviors.

Another possibility is to help him talk with his diabetes team. Has he transitioned to an adult-oriented program yet? If not, you may be able to help him find a new team with a focus on young adults.

Finally, you do not mention how your son is doing in other parts of his life. If he seems unhappy or unmotivated in other aspects of his life, he may be depressed and need psychological support in order to address not only the typical issues facing young adults, but to address his diabetes as well.


Additional comments from Dr. Jim Lane:

In the big picture, it would be helpful to understand what is causing him to feel this way. Is it anger, acting out for attention, some way of getting back at you because he knows you are concerned, or is he depressed and doesn't care? These are all possibilities. If he would go, seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist might be very helpful. If he has a good relationship with his physician, having he or she see him would be a good idea. Any outside person that can provide a perspective for him to think about would be good. He is still young. Hopefully, he will change his view about this. However, it doesn't make it easier along the way, especially on those who love him.


Original posting 12 Sep 2004
Posted to Behavior and Blood Tests and Insulin Injections


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