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Constant & Complex

Managing diabetes in a child or teen requires constant attention and adjustment of insulin, carbohydrate intake, and activity level. Intensive diabetes management has the potential to improve diabetes outcomes; however, negotiating the many lifestyle accommodations essential to optimal diabetes control can place a significant burden on some children and families. Parenting a child with diabetes also involves a complex process of helping the child to achieve age-appropriate independence while assuring the child’s safety in managing his or her diabetes.

Each developmental stage brings new challenges to achieving the delicate balance between optimal diabetes control and age-appropriate independence in self-care management. Despite the laborious and intensive nature of diabetes treatment, an overarching goal of parenting a child with diabetes is to ensure that the family’s quality of life is maintained and the child is able to participate in all academic and social activities that their peers enjoy. Although many families adapt and thrive, others struggle to make these adjustments.

Psychosocial Issues

Despite many diabetes services best efforts to support the child and parents, some families are unable to cope and adjust. Family problems, childhood depression, eating disorders (EDs), and a variety of contextual factors (including poverty) are among the psychosocial problems that are associated with chronic poor diabetes control. Early identification of a child and family who are struggling is important because of the potential impact on child and family quality of life and diabetes outcomes.

At Diabetes Insight we have access to an in-house psychology service specialising in chronic illness. Techniques used such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness are incorporated into consultations, as well we liaising with Diabetes Insight to offer a multidisciplinary approach. A series of workshops are on offer to help both parents and teenagers cope with life with diabetes.

How We Can Help

At Diabetes Insight we work with families who are overwhelmed, encouraging them to identify and develop networks involving schools, extended family, community, and peer groups can help them to increase available support. Helping families to access treatment when they are struggling can relieve further pain and improve management adherence and diabetes outcomes.

We provide a family-centered care approach where possible by:

  • Recognizing and addressing the barriers that parents of toddlers and infants with diabetes face in developing a supportive network of caregivers.

  • Supporting parents in raising a child with diabetes to provide them with the same opportunities in school and social activities as their peers without diabetes.

  • Advise parents of the need for their continual involvement in their teen’s diabetes care.

  • Ensure that young adults who are transitioning to seeing adult endocrinologists rather than pediatric endocrinologists are knowledgeable about navigating the healthcare system.

  • Recognize and discuss with parents the family dynamics that do not support optimal diabetes control.

  • Teach parents the importance of paying attention to non diabetic siblings and providing them with an opportunity to discuss how diabetes has impacted family life.

  • Be cognizant of the signs and symptoms of disordered eating, depression, and overall family functioning.

  • Help families develop a “village” that involves a supportive network involving schools, extended family, friends, and community resources.

To learn more about Diabetes Insight and how we can help your family, please contact us by filling out the form below