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turtle72

Explaining to kids

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turtle72

I'v known that I'm diabetic for approx 6 months now and until recently I was on Metformin and I checked my bs occassionally. Now that I've been put on insulin I'm aware that I need to sit down with my 5 yr old and try to explain what's wrong with mummy. She has seen me test my bs which freaked her out in the beginning (why would anyone want to make themselves bleed?) and yesterday was the first time she saw me inject insulin.

 

I'm concerned because we spend a lot of time alone together (especially mornings) and I want to try to prepare her for if I ever have a hypo and how she can help mummy.

 

She has delayed speech and so finds it hard to pronounce 'diabetes' and I've started to teach her how to use the phone and call emergency services ( I did this before I knew about going on insulin).

 

The thing is I want to explain to her about mummy's condition and signs to look out for but without scaring her. I'm quite worried about having a hypo whilst alone with my daughter.

 

I'd appreciate any help.

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Kubilee

I have 4 kids and I know this part is hard, mine were all old enough to pretty much understand and I don't do shots.

 

However, on any subject that I thought might be a little touchy, I just sat them down and started a conversation with them and let THEM ask the questions. What this does is allow them to ask what they are age appropriate to handle and you can then answer any questions they have.

 

You might start by asking her when she has seen you doing your shots, if she has any questions, or if iti s later, something like "I know you seen me doing this or that and I want to know if you have any questions aboutit". You will be surprised at how many questions she has and how well she will be able to understand, they are far more resiliant and smart than we sometimes give them credit for.

 

For example:

My oldest daughter was playing with her friends one day when she was 9..... NINE, I tell you!! And somehow or another one of them must have brought up sex. She came and asked me what was sex. AT NINE!! I went into a panic and had NO clue what the heck to say or do. SO, I put it as a question and answer thing and we did it like that. THIS way I could see where HER head was at and what was going thru her little mind, but I didn't give her more information than her little mind could handle at that age.

 

That worked so well, she is now 23, that I did this with the other 3 as well, with ANY subject.

 

The key thing, in my opinion is to answer all of their questions but not give them more than they are able to cope with or understand.

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turtle72
I have 4 kids and I know this part is hard, mine were all old enough to pretty much understand and I don't do shots.

 

However, on any subject that I thought might be a little touchy, I just sat them down and started a conversation with them and let THEM ask the questions. What this does is allow them to ask what they are age appropriate to handle and you can then answer any questions they have.

 

You might start by asking her when she has seen you doing your shots, if she has any questions, or if iti s later, something like "I know you seen me doing this or that and I want to know if you have any questions aboutit". You will be surprised at how many questions she has and how well she will be able to understand, they are far more resiliant and smart than we sometimes give them credit for.

 

For example:

My oldest daughter was playing with her friends one day when she was 9..... NINE, I tell you!! And somehow or another one of them must have brought up sex. She came and asked me what was sex. AT NINE!! I went into a panic and had NO clue what the heck to say or do. SO, I put it as a question and answer thing and we did it like that. THIS way I could see where HER head was at and what was going thru her little mind, but I didn't give her more information than her little mind could handle at that age.

 

That worked so well, she is now 23, that I did this with the other 3 as well, with ANY subject.

 

The key thing, in my opinion is to answer all of their questions but not give them more than they are able to cope with or understand.

 

Thanks for that Kubilee, that does sound like great advice. I'll certainly give it a try.

 

BTW, have you ever had a hypo when you've been alone with your kids.....when they were younger that is?

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Cyborg

I tell my kids to eat healthy and exercise or they may end up taking medicine every day to survive, like I do... (Unfortunately this is not quite true, but it is effective)

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turtle72
I tell my kids to eat healthy and exercise or they may end up taking medicine every day to survive, like I do... (Unfortunately this is not quite true, but it is effective)

 

 

I've been working really hard to instill a regular balance of fruit veg and sweets along with lot's of excercise. She currently has 3/4 pieces of fruit a day through the week for her snack and lunch box and veg every evening with her main meal. She goes swimming 3/4 times a week and also goes out on her bike at the weekends and in the holidays. She also has to walk lot as I don't use a car.

 

I'm hoping that if she grows up with this kind of regimen that she'll stick to it throughout adulthood.

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Kubilee

Well since I have a Mitral Valve Prolapse and I sometimes get these racing spells with my heart, it's always been a thing in my home where they know what to do i regards to that. They know how to contact anyone and everyone to get some help.

 

Fortunately my husband and I work from home so it is extremely rare that I am ever totally alone.

 

I don't do shots and have just recently been diagnosed, but they know as much as I know about it. They watch me doing my tests, and they know how to do them, on myself and themselves. They know which numbers are bad and which are ok. Since I have the heart thing and the diabetes thing, they need to be able to tell which problem I am having.

 

My kids know if I go out and their Dad isn't here to call 911 and then to call their dad's cell phone.

 

To me even if we aren't sick, they have to know how to dial 911 and talk to them for emergency reasons. You never know when something may happen, ANYTHING where you can't get to the phone, so teach them how to use 911 and WHEN to use it.

 

I haven't been diagnosed with Diabetes but a couple of months so this hasn't come up. My numbers only went low one time and they were here with me, so they seen what I go thru to SOME degree and what I need to do. We talked about it briefly. But since I don't know what would happen yet if I went too low, I haven't really talked to them about that part just yet. :o I should educate myself on that one today, huh? Yikes!

 

I am still learning this myself, but as I do, they know what I know about it and what to do in certain situations. I guess you could say we are all learning together about this. ;)

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grace girl

I sat down with my kids and we all talked...I answered questions and mostly just made sure i was informing them without scaring them. They aren't that young any more (16, 14 and 12) but I'm planning to sit down with them again in the next week or two to go over it all again (the whole hypo thing) because hubby's job situation is changing and he will be away from home a bit more than he was before.

I've had plenty of hypo's while here alone with them and I tell them what's up and they react very well. I keep small carton's of juice on hand that is used ONLY for hypos, and they bring it to me and put the little straw in for me (i usually can't because my hands shake so much when hypo) they then grab my cell phone and call thier dad so that someone other than just them knows what's going on. They hang out with me and stay calm until everything is normal again. And they know that if I'm totally out of it or unconscious to call dad on one phone and 911 on the other.

 

Though you hate the idea of your kids dealing with this sort of stuff I think it's built a lot of compassion into my crew for people who deal with medical issues.

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Gordonm

My kids saw it from day one. They never even gave it a thought, it was just something I did. I have explained it to them and the yunderstood. They are now 14,16 and their friends are well aware of it. I tried not to inject in front of them because I thought they might not want to see it but now I'm on the pump and most of the kids don't give it a thought. I would be honest and up front with your kid(s). They will adapt and if you show them tha tthis is normal and don't make it a big deal it won't be. They know the risks and are well aware of it.

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Julielouise

My daughter has know since day one. I went to the doctor for a 10 AM pap Smear and asked for a Blood test and was kept there and not able to pick her up at school. So she knew something was up. After her dad got her they came to the doctors and waited for me to see the RN who taught me how to give myself shots and test.

She has been taught the signs to look for a hypo attack and what to do if I have one, luckily never had one. She is also 11 so much more able to handle it all.

Good luck.

Hugs-Julie

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Kubilee

It amazes me still, and my kids are 23,18,13, and 9, how resilliant they are. They (or mine) stay calm in the most insane situations. If one of us are in trouble, as often we are, the whole family jumps and moves in the direction they need to move in.

 

My youngest son has Ashtma, and I have Diabetes and Asthma and a Mitral Valve Prolapse and my husband has Sleep Apnea..... so sometimes we are in a place we need to move and move quickly.

 

They found out about my heart when I did, when my oldest was 4, so this is the norm in my house. Diabetes is just another thing to add to the list, I suppose.

 

I am not totally sure what happens to me if my sugar gets too low, so I am not really sure how to tell them to combat that one yet, but in all situations in our house, the first and foremost thing is to stay calm and call someone if needed.

 

Never let them fool you though, they learn to adapt better than anything I have ever seen in my life and they do it without judgement or aattiude. YOU are their world, they'd do anything to help you, just as we would them. :)

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notme

I got type one diabetes two years after my fifth child was born. The oldest was child was ten years old and my youngest was two. I decided from the begining to tell my children exactly what was wrong and what could happen. I kept it simple, but told them that there could be a day when they might need to help Mommy. Children are smart and I found out early that they want to be informed. I explained to them all that Mommy's pancreas didn't work right. I also told them that their pancreas worked perfectly. I explained to them that their bodies needed sugar for energy like a car needed gas. I told them that my blood carried this sugar for me around my body to give me energy. I explained that sometimes, without medicine, my body have to much sugar (like over filling the car) so I needed medicine to help my body use it up. I also explained that sometimes I didn't have enough sugar to give me my energy and it would make me very tired and not feel well. I needed to eat to get more sugar in my body by eating or drinking something with sugar. I explained that your body acts very funny if it doesn't have the energy it needs and Mom might get so tired that she falls asleep and then I would need help getting energy. They seemed to understand this analogy.

 

Luckily, I never needed help. They understood I needed to check my blood to see how much sugar I had in my blood. I also let my older kids give me shots if they wanted to do it. Of course my middle son harpooned me more than once. This did stop the fear they had of needles.

 

The whole process just became a part of "Mom". The kids were aware that it was dangerous for me if I could not help myself. Today I have four granddaughters. My granddaughters also understand that Mamaw needs sugar sometimes. One day my oldest granddaughter (when she was four) offered me her ice cream cone because "gramma needed sugar". It was so adorable.

 

Don't let it worry you. Make a story that they understand and you will be surprised how they will "get it". Let your daughter help you test or give you shots. They will feel very grown up and want to be helpful.

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tanyatype1

Hi there turtle! My kids were 10, 8 and 5 when I was diagnosed type 1. I didn't try to cushion anything, but I also didn't make it out to be THAT big of a deal. I told them everything (that I knew) right from the beginning and that was that. I didn't want my kids to be scared, but sometimes in life you just have to deal with what gets thrown at you. They all just accepted it because really there's no other choice. Even about sex, like Kubilee said, if they ask me a question, then I give them a straight, honest, (sometimes clinical) answer!:) Good luck with your kids turtle!

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Jeannie

Same here. My son is 8, and I've been a Type 2 diabetic for 12 years..so long before he was born. I have always made our meals and snacks on MY plan, and he's always done fine with it. I sat down with him once he was old enough and explained things to him as best I could for his age. I answered his questions honestly and openly. He has epilepsy and miagrain headaches and asthma. I also have asthma, and my dh has hypoglycemia...so we all have medicines to take and certain things that we must do to stay healthy. We have taught him how to call 911, what to expect should either of us have a 'low' or even a 'high'...just as he knows that WE watch for him with the asthma, epilepsy and miagrains. So, he understands the need for all of us to be aware, but still live a 'normal' life. He's never had to call, thank goodness, but he HAS had to bring me something when I get too low..so he's seen how it starts...and seems to handle things really well.

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TeeJaxx

My son was 6 when I was first diagnosed. (He is 9 now). Eating sugarfree stuff is an everyday part of his life. He doesn't even question why we don't buy certain things. That's not to say that we never allow him treats - he is a kid. But he knows he can't share his treats with me. So for Easter, he bought me sugar free chocolate.

 

Lately, he has asked to help me test. so I taught him how to load the "pricker" (as he calls it) and the test strip. He enjoys playing Dr on me. He reminds me to test 2 hours after a meal. If I'm driving, he sets it up in the back seat, I hold my arm back there, and he tests me. We record it all in a little book, and he has asked to do that too!

 

Personally, I think it's good that he understands it all - the diet, the exercise, the testing, the highs and the lows. In fact, he is aware if the glucose candies I carry, and if my level is in the 4's or 5's he gets a candy for me. I'd rather share the experience with him, than shelter him from it and he be afraid of it.

 

He says that one day he's going to be a doctor/scientist who finds the cure for diabetes. (Oh, and a part time NHL player too!)

TeeJaxx

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cheryl

I have always had diabetes, so I guess the kids never really thought much about what I was doing, I was in total denial for so many years that I was always elevated or high, so if I got my occasional hypo's I never thought about explaining this to the kids, they just knew if mommy was eating junk, it is not because she wants too(yea right), it is because my blood sugar is low and I need it.

 

Well last year when i started to take care of myself, I noticed when you are staying within range, you are more likely to get hypo's. So I finally, and hated doing this because I wanted the kids to see me as strong always, tell them what to do just incase, well I assigned them, the oldest tries to get me to drink some juice of Brent's soda(my husband), and if I won't rub pancake syrup on my gums, while the other child dials 911, I don't think they are ready for a glucogan kit yet, my oldest is nine, so I don't know I have to see, if he is willing to try to inject an orange or something to see if he can handle that....but I have never had an episode, when I told them they looked a little scared and even asked why is it worse now mommy, I said sweety it is actually better now, I was worse back then...

 

Cute story though after these talks we were out, and it was still winter, I got one of those cold chills in the car, omg, I couldn't stop shaking my younger two were like eat some candy mommy your shaking, LOL.....I thought that was too cute, and my oldest is like NO, she is cold not low, if she was low she would be checking her blood sugar LOL....

 

Smart kids they are smart,

 

Cheryl

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gettingby

I've had diabetes since before my daughter was born. I taught her from the get go what to look for and what to do. The main problem now is that she's always bugging me about checking. LOL. :D

So, she's known from a young age what to do. Never a problem.

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Kubilee

So I finally, and hated doing this because I wanted the kids to see me as strong always

 

You know I used to do this too. I wanted my kids to never see me as anything but strong, never let anything touch me or anything. But today, many years later, I think it is good for them to see us vulnerable.... not as crybabies, obviously. But they need to see that we are human and that we cry, we worry and so on. It helps, in MY opinion, to teach them that they will have lows, not BS, but in life. they can and are allowed to have them and not breakdown.

 

I am not saying you are bad, Cheryl, by NO means... I just learned the hard way that it is good for them to see the good, the bad and the ugly. This isn't to say we should just BE bad..... not at ALL, but the world is a cruel ole place and they need to be prepared.

 

My point is, let them see you vulnerable..... it is ok and actually good for them.

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