Basic Recommendations to Parents With a Diabetic Child

 

Carolina Welin, Psychosynthesis Therapist and Councellor focusing on health and rehab, based in Stockholm, Sweden.  She is there to help you - feel free to contact her via carolina.welin@mow.se.  She will answer your questions within 24 hours.

Her website, in Swedish at the moment, an English version within a couple of weeks - www.mow.se

When your child is diagnosed with diabetes, or was diagnosed with diabetes, here are basic recommendations.

No matter what, the thing in common for both types is the huge amount of stress that comes with the disease that moves into your home and becomes a new (and demanding) family member.

So what can you do and how can you find a way out of the stressful emotions? Let´s begin with making a statement.

These recommendations are about the stress living with a chronic disease in the family. The healthy aspects of a difficult situation. These recommendations aren´t about what to do when your child has symptoms from the disease. That is another stress and question. 

The biggest risk when a child is diagnosed is that the disease comes in the foreground of the perception of the child. Everything around your child is looked upon with regard to the diagnosis. Your thoughts start to live a life of their own ”what have I done wrong?” ”what can I do to help my child get out of this diagnosis”. Or even worse, you have understood but the relatives and family around your child haven´t. 

Chronic diseases often awake the feeling of guilt and immediately when something isn´t the way it´s supposed to be we start to be creative  ”what can I do to fix it”. That´s normal. 

BUT to treat the disease is the job of our doctors and nurses. 

To live a life as normal as you can is the job of the family. Your child isn´t disabled, your child isn´t diabetes. Your child is a loveable and wonderful being, your loved and lovely child.

The chronic diseases are like colors. Your child got a new color. A magic color not visible for everybody around the child. 

You have to educate people around your child. And you have to educate yourself. There is a direct link between stress and lack of knowledge. What happens when we don´t know? We start to speculate. When we speculate we use our minds and give free all of our minds creativity. That´s not a good strategy.

When your thoughts start to spin quickly, going into the future without any direction or map your need to say stop, wait, to yourself.

A good strategy is to ask yourself the important questions is this true, what do I know, what is the root of these worries. What is known, what´s unknown and underneath. 

Start to identify people around your child who need high knowledge about the disease and about your child’s ”color”.  Ask yourself how the color affects your child.  The important people are A-people. Family members, caretakers, significant others. Knowledge is freedom. What people are your A-people, what does your A-team need to know so you can feel supported, also as a parent. 

Everybody doesn´t need to know everything.

Then we have the B-ones. The second circle around the child/the family.

The B-ones are people who don´t need to know so much about the disease, more about what kind of symptoms they should be aware of and how to support your kid if the symptoms appear. The B-ones know that your child has a disease and that some symptoms has to be taken care of if/when they appear.  The right act for a B-person is to know when to call an A-one.

The C-area are close but not close. They are aware that there is a handicap for your child but the handicap doesn´t influence the C-persons’ relation with your child. This area belongs to friends, friends to siblings, neighbors. They know that the chronic disease is a present color in your child’s life but they don´t have to focus on that issue.

The common thing for A-B-C is that they know the difference between Diabetes in general and that everything about Diabetes is not about your child. You and your child might not even be interested in diabetes as a general, only in those parts that could help your child (and your family) live a high quality, close to normal, every day life.

So what is the hidden code in the stress management? I´ve already mentioned knowledge. The second code is communication. How to communicate and inform the surrounding in an accurate way. And how to teach your child to express his/her needs when relating in new situations.

A good idea is to write a basic paper with necessary information about your child’s health and what´s important to know for people coming in contact with your child. So you can feel safe.

Safety – that´s the third aspect. How can you as a parent feel safe in relation to your child? Safety is in this particular case about how you can stay with your child and not become a nurse all the time mirroring the child’s, body, behavior and temper.  I´ll even bring this a step further – how can you as a parent make sure that you can be a safe haven for your diagnosed child? How can you let go of a bad conscience? Feelings of not being a good enough parent?

A diagnosis always brings other crisis to the surface and the paradox is that in relation to a life threatening disease, nothing else matters. This paradox can give the diabetes question in a family a strange position. In relation to the unsolvable, chronic disease, everything else gets less important.

And this is the big challenge, to stay with the details of every day life. The gift in diabetes is that you have to create routines, watch your eating habits, exercising habits and mental habits and that can be the creative use of pain for the whole family. It´s not only the child that benefit from the routines, it will be good for the whole family.

And yes, your reactions are also a choice. You can choose, not the disease, but your reactions and relations with the color of your child. That is definitely a choice. With good mind control and self-awareness training a parent can watch herself to not project all her worries on the diagnosed child all the worries. An aware parent can give the color of one child right proportions. 

The color of diabetes can shift from day to day – one day it´s warm and shining, like the sun. Another day it´s like the dark clouds in the sky. The whole palette moves into your house with the diagnosis.

 

Copyright © Carolina Welin