Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

How Does Diabetes Affects Children and Teens

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

It is unarguable that there has been a lot of progress in the management of diabetes. However, this doesn’t change the fact that diabetes is still a life-changing condition. For children with diabetes, this condition will affect the way they relate with their parents.


Just like in the case of adults, children with diabetes have constant struggles with their blood sugar levels. The fluctuations lead to a plethora of issues that must be managed properly to ensure positive health outcomes.

So, as a parent with children or teens with diabetes, there are lots of challenges that cannot be avoided. While this can be scary and tiresome, you should understand that your knowledge will play a key role in determining how you deal with the challenges. With proper support and education, you can lower your stress and handle the condition to raise a healthy child without overwhelming yourself.

Parental involvement in managing diabetes in children and teens

It is worthwhile to note that children and teens require some assistance from their parents to manage their conditions. In general, the younger the child with diabetes, the higher the involvement of the parent in the physical management of their diabetes. In other words, if your child with diabetes is quite young, you will have to be greatly involved in taking care of them. Generally, the involvements include drawing up insulin, ensuring the use of medications at the right time, giving shots, etc.

However, for older children, physical involvement will reduce but you still need to focus on verbal prompts. This is to ensure that the older children comply with all needed self-management behaviors. Many studies have shown that parental involvement can go a long way in ensuring that children adhere to blood glucose monitoring.

Matt Schmidt of Diabetes 365 mentioned “many parents of children with diabetes feel they are alone in this battle. That simply is not true. Millions of parents are facing the same challenges as you do. I strongly recommend to turn to online websites and groups such as as you’ll be able to interact with others who can provide advice and tips to you.”

Adherence to management behaviors

Both younger and older children may show some sort of defiance to adhering to diabetes management behaviors. While this can be stressful for you as a parent, you should realize that children and teens are equally overwhelmed by this condition. Therefore, you should be patient whenever you notice any sort of non-adherence.

After noticing non-adherence to management procedures by children and adolescents, most parents may want to use punishment to enforce adherence. However, it has been noticed that punishments hardly work. Even if it works, you can rest assured that it is only for a short period.

Similarly, punishment for poor diabetes management can encourage the children to develop cunny and unhealthy methods to violate all sorts of regulations. Such methods will likely have a long-term effect on the well-being of the children.

In addition, the majority of the children with diabetes already feel unjustly punished by the condition. Therefore, any punishment for not adhering to the management of the condition could lead to anger and resentment. Over time, the punishment from parents could damage any form of relationship between the children and parents.

Miscarried helping

Miscarried helping is a term developed by some researchers as they were studying the relationship between parents and their children with diabetes. In simple terms, miscarried helping happens when the efforts of a parent to take care of a child with diabetes don’t yield a good result but lead to interpersonal issues between the child and parent.

Miscarried helping usually occurs because of the desire and emotional investment of the parents to make sure the child stays healthy. Apart from the poor relationship between parents and their children, miscarried helping can also cause poor health outcomes in children with diabetes.

Melissa Thompson of Diabetes Life Solutions states “It is recommended that health care practitioners should help families to understand what “miscarried helping” means before it occurs. This ensures that parents and older children can prepare adequately for the potential challenges they will encounter. Also, it will help them to prevent this situation in some cases.”

Therefore, you are advised to avoid punishing a child for poor management of diabetes. You should rather encourage your child by letting them see how following the management procedure can help them achieve great health.

Preventing complications

The major concern of parents of children and teens with diabetes should be complications. These complications include eye damage, kidney damage, nerve damage, heart and blood vessel disease, and osteoporosis. However, these complications cannot occur as long as the condition is managed properly.

Apart from maintaining the blood sugar level, you should also teach your child to know the essence of regular exercises and taking healthy diets in managing the condition. Children and teens should know the various complications of poor management of diabetes. This can encourage them to adhere to methods of managing the condition. After the initial diagnosis, regular eye exams should also be done.

In conclusion, you should note that taking care of a child with diabetes is tasking. Nonetheless, if you can learn the right things to do, you can help your child to manage the condition without much hassle.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.