4 Ways to Help your Child Deal with T1D Management
What Is Motivational Interviewing? It is one of the most effective ways to decrease ambivalence in clients suffering from long-term illness and the incredible burden associated with it. Many of these skills focus on simple bite-size steps that will begin building self-esteem and feelings of hope. Actively practicing these skills can greatly increase the level of success your child feels over time.
1. Create achievable, realistic goals.
Why? When you place too much on someone’s plate and pair it with severe negative downside, you have a solid recipe to create indecision and apathy.
How? If your child is struggling with daily tasks, don’t talk about things like the A1C blood test constantly. Instead, focus on the next meal, day, or week to help create the right habits.
2. Empower your child rather than manage your child.
Why? Success does not mean blood sugar within the desirable range; it means helping your child take active steps required to create the right habits. Exclusively trying to manage your child’s outcome based on good blood sugar or other fact-based outcomes can put a lot of uncontrollable elements onto your child’s plate and ultimately create hopelessness or low self-esteem.
How? As you talk to your child, work to identify areas of pride or success and incorporate asking about these items while you check in on insulin levels or carb intake. Additionally, try to elicit ideas from your child on how to manage a certain situation (e.g. how much to eat or how much insulin to take). This will support their confidence in their ideas instead of always looking to you for the answers.
3. Listen to your child.
Why? Your child has a 24/7 job that they did not apply for and they cannot quit. Creating an atmosphere that allows your child to safely explore conflicts and face difficult realities is critical to successfully managing T1D.
How? Show empathy, and then communicate your empathy. As a parent raising a child with T1D, it can be easy to hyper-focus on the next blood sugar reading or meal. Simply saying, “That makes sense. I can see how frustrating that would be.” can go such a long way.
4. Roll with Resistance.
Why? Managing T1D can be extremely discouraging. Your child might do everything right and still have a high blood sugar reading at the next meal. Helping your child understand that managing T1D is a roller coaster and not every blood sugar reading will be in the desirable range will help tremendously.
How? Normalize your child’s experience: “You ate the right amount, took the correct dose of insulin, and you still have high blood sugar. That happens all of the time.” Also, spend your mental energy on controlling what you can control and let everything else run its course.
These tips are helpful and supported by research but can be incredibly hard to implement consistently. If you ever need help or want someone to talk to, give us a call at (612) 223-8898 or schedule an appointment here.