Q: When our 11-year-old has low blood sugar or a sudden fluctuation in blood sugar level, he becomes super cranky. I understand that when his number is out of range he feels horrible, so do I let it go when he slams doors or calls his sister names? The negative behavior is really beginning to escalate.
A: Parents should never punish behavior resulting from blood sugar highs or lows. Don't take it personally, but also don't let it go unaddressed. If your son has been making the transition to taking on more responsibility for his diabetes care, bring his attention to his behavior by gently suggesting that he go check his blood sugar.
Later, feel him out by having an honest conversation about his diabetes and put yourself mainly on the listening end. As kids with type 1 reach adolescence, they may be dealing with bouts of resentment toward their diabetes or feelings of jealously or anger toward a sibling who doesn't have it.
Making an appointment with your diabetes educator or with the social worker on your diabetes care team can help you both develop strategies for making it through this period. What else works? This may be the perfect time to investigate diabetes camp or a support group as a way for your tween to see diabetes in a more positive light. Ask your care team or local chapter of the American Diabetes Association for resources in your area.
--Elizabeth Platt is the mom of a 5-year-old with type 1 diabetes and coauthor of a new book for parents of children with diabetes.
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