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Will my child’s diabetes diagnosis affect our family dynamic?

Any kind of change can upset the family dynamic. How you treat your children and how they interact with each other can be influenced by many factors. Having a child diagnosed with diabetes is a big change that is likely to affect the entire family in ways you never thought possible.

At a time when you, your child and other children are probably fearful about what the future holds, you will likely be confronted with feelings of anger, resentment and jealousy upon hearing of a diagnosis of diabetes. While you are trying to gather information and help your child manage his or her diabetes, it is difficult to keep all of the family relationships running smoothly at the same time.

If you have a child with diabetes, your top priority will be to help your child manage the disease while trying to live as normal a life as possible. You will also want to help the rest of the family make a smooth transition into accepting the changes that are inevitable.

The best way to deal with diabetes in the family is to treat it openly and matter-of-factly. Explain what is happening to the other children and other family members, and ask them to be patient as you work things out. Even young children can understand simple information.

Try to schedule special times with your other children who may feel left out, or ask if they want a job in the overall care of your child with diabetes. A sibling could help record blood glucose readings, for example.

Once your child and her siblings come to accept diabetes as a part of your family routine, feelings of anger, jealousy and fear usually begin to subside. However, if you continue to experience family turmoil, you might want to consider family counseling. Talk to your child’s provider and diabetes educator for help finding a family counselor.

Mr. Eliot LeBow, CDE, LCSW
Endocrinologist

If your little one is diagnosed with diabetes, the entire family will be affected, says Eliot LeBow, a psychotherapist who specializes in diabetes. Watch the video to learn ways to help the entire family adjust to a child's diabetes diagnosis.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.