Your Diabetes: Discussing it with Your Children

Reading Level: Leisurely

Giving some guidance to your children or grandchildren about your diabetes can bring mutual benefit to your family.

I recently came across an article by Martha Funnell about the importance of informing your children or grandchildren about diabetes. Not only does it help to dispel their fears, but it develops a healthy support system within your family.

Here are the main points from Ms. Funnell’s article:

1. Answer their questions honestly. Not knowing answers usually causes more fear. They also may have heard misinformation from friends.

2. Explain diabetes in simple terms, such as your body has trouble handling sugar so you are taking medicine and eating healthy to take care of yourself.

3. Children sometimes fear they will get diabetes. Encourage them to stay physically active and maintain a healthy weight to prevent diabetes.

4. Reassure them that you are doing everything possible to stay healthy.

5. Explain that you may have mood changes due to changes in your glucose levels.

6. Explain that you may not feel as well on some days as on others.

7. Even very young children can learn to dial 911. Teach them to do so if you ever pass out or they cannot wake you.

8. Teenagers can learn to give glucagon if needed.

9. Use the opportunity to teach and develop the concept of support for individuals within the family. Teach by your example of love and support for them. Also teach them how they can be supportive of you.

10. Allow the situation of your diabetes’ affect on your family to be motivational for you. It should motivate you to teach them good health habits so that they can stay healthy. It should also be motivational for you to stay healthy so that you can watch your children and/or grandchildren grow up.

Excerpts from “Talking with Your Children About Diabetes,” by Martha Funnell, MS,RN,CDE, pg. 10, Diabetes and You, Fall 2008

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