The difficult thing for any parent is letting go. When your teenager has diabetes it can be even more difficult. It’s not easy to let go and encourage independence. However, your concern may be perceived as a lack of trust.
Changes in their diabetes management plan should be talked over with your teenager. Letting go is a scary time, adolescents want independence yet don’t want to feel alone or ignored. Finding that happy medium between enough supervision and letting go is a real challenge for any parent.
This is a great way for your teenager to learn to deal with others. Your concern may be seen as nagging, and cause anger and resentment. However, your teenager may need to be reminded that your questions arise from concern and that it’s part of your responsibility as a parent to talk things through. You may even need to negotiate your negotiations, such as “What can we do so that you don’t feel I’m nagging and I know you’re OK?”
Some rules are flexible but injections or boluses cannot be forgotten. Identification should be worn. Hypo food should be on hand. It is important to set clear limits. Teenagers need consistent rules to feel safe. Parents need to look at each situation on its own merit and decide when rules can be relaxed.
It may be strained at times but maintain the lines of communication. Your teenager needs to learn how to problem solve and subsequently make decisions. Their way of doing things may not be the same as yours and there may be much discussion.
Ask how you can help:
They may ask you for advice to help with some blood glucose recordings for them. Once they see that you are helping and not just interfering they are more likely to respond.
When things are going well, praise your teenager on their management and sense of responsibility. Sometimes things don’t go well despite everyone’s efforts and acknowledgement of this is important. Remind them that the pay-off for being granted more freedom is for them to gradually take on more responsibility.
Recognise the frustrations for your teenager when things are not going so well.
This is a difficult time for all of you. Remember that things will get better.