11 tips to help support your teen living with T1D
Dr Adriana Ventura is a nationally registered psychologist who worked as a Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) for six years. You can read part one of her advice for raising a teen living with type 1 diabetes here.
Read on for 11 tips to help support you child – and you – through adolescence and beyond.
- Supporting your teen’s transition into adult care – and as your teen transitions to doing more of their own diabetes management – is important. Knowing that your child is in good hands with their healthcare can lessen some of your worries. The NDSS have some fantastic resources for teenagers transitioning into independence as adult. There are some useful tips for parents too.
- Be aware that your teen may not feel comfortable discussing issues with you. But you should encourage them to discuss any concerns with someone they trust. Respect their wishes if they don’t want to talk to you, but show that you’re open to hearing what they have to say if and when they feel ready.
- Download JDRF’s Teen Toolkit. This resource was developed by experts to help carers assist teens in their growth and development. It includes practical advice on day-to-day life with T1D and the typical circumstances families may find themselves faced with.
- A helpful strategy when engaging with your teen is to use open-ended questions, to get more than a one-word response. It’s important to listen without jumping to give advice or a solution, as they may just want to be heard. Perhaps ask your teen what he or she needs from you. Sometimes problem solving together is necessary, but other times they just need to space to express their feelings.
- Avoid lecturing your teen. This can be difficult, but lecturing is not going to give the best outcome. It can lead to feelings of guilt and failure, and perpetuate a teen’s feelings of not being understood. These feelings can have an impact on their sense of self and even negatively impact on management.
- Try not to focus on the numbers too much, as your teen is not their numbers. Avoid using judgemental words like ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when talking about their blood glucose levels, especially as there won’t always be ‘good’ outcomes. Focus more on your teen displaying healthy behaviours, such as checking their blood glucose levels, and encourage them for their efforts.
- Be mindful of your teen’s relationship with food. Like the above point, refrain from using ‘good’ or ‘bad’ terminology when talking about food.
- The social world is important for your teen’s mental health and it’s necessary for them to do the things they find enjoyable. But boundary setting is important. If you’re finding there is conflict around this, speaking to a professional can help.
- Take care of yourself and your own mental health – you can’t pour from an empty cup. Talk with someone if you need to!
- If you’re interested in speaking to a psychologist, try searching the Australian Psychological Society website, based on your location. You might wish to choose one with ‘diabetes’ listed as an interest area. You can also talk to your teen’s healthcare team for their recommendations.
- Register for JDRF’s free webinars on raising children and teens who live with T1D. The Breathe program offers advice on tweaking your parenting now that T1D is in the mix, while Let’s Talk T1D gives practical tips based on different topics. Our annual Type 1 Summit also has a stream just for parents, packed full of helpful info. See what’s on the calendar here.
- Ask if your teen would be interested in joining our private Facebook group for young people
- Dealing with diabetes burnout
- Get your free guide to parenting a child or teen living with T1D
New research funding may allow those with type 1 diabetes to make insulin again
JDRF has just funded a new Australian islet transplantation research project with the potential to revert type 1 diabetes. The benefits of islet transplantation Pancreatic islet transplantation is a life-saving and life-changing treatment currently available for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) who are unaware of their dangerously low blood glucose levels (known as ‘severe […]
Regenerating damaged beta cells in type 1 diabetes ꟷ new funding announced.
JDRF has funded a new Australian research project which may allow those with type 1 diabetes (T1D) to regenerate lost pancreatic cells During T1D development, the immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. This leads to the loss and destruction of beta cells, meaning that people with T1D are no longer […]
Changes to the Federal Government’s Insulin Pump Program
The Australian Government’s Insulin Pump Program (IPP), administered by JDRF Australia, provides insulin pumps to young Australians up to the age of 21, living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), who meet certain financial and clinical eligibility requirements. The program supplies fully subsidised insulin pumps to people who would otherwise be unable to access insulin pump […]
Research breakthrough shows that antivirals can delay T1D progression
A new study suggests that giving antivirals shortly after a type 1 diabetes (T1D) diagnosis may preserve the body’s ability to produce insulin. Recent results from a clinical trial published in the prestigious Nature journal have suggested that administering the antivirals pleconaril and ribavirin can preserve beta cell function in children and teenagers recently diagnosed […]