Equip kids with the right tools
“Here in the clinic, we teach parents of young children and teens with diabetes how to present diabetes in a way that avoids blame and shame,” explains Dr. Commissariat. “The reactions we get from others are often influenced by how we present ourselves. If you explain or react to questions defensively, like diabetes is embarrassing and impossible to deal with, that will affect the way others think about you and your diabetes.” A better approach: Encourage children to speak about diabetes in a calm, confident, matter-of-fact way.
Be there for them
Support can help make the transition to self-care as easy as possible. When young people are shown how to assume initiative and solve problems, they can develop greater self-confidence.
“The behavioral health team is here to help. If we can encourage and guide youth to accept their diabetes, it can help them become more resilient, and resilience has been shown to positively influence health outcomes,” says Dr. Commissariat. “You are already a strong person for living with diabetes, and an even stronger person for being able to accept it as part of who you are.”