Talking to Your Child about Diabetes

Diabetes is a scary diagnosis. When your child has been diagnosed, you may not know what to do; you may feel scared or angry that this is happening.

But you will need to talk to your child so that he or she understands the disease. There are a few ways to make this challenging process a little easier.

Set the Tone of the Conversation

Your child will be looking to you for signs about what his or her diagnosis means. Even though you might be panicking in your head, try to remain outwardly calm and collected. If you radiate a positive attitude about diabetes, your child is much less likely to be anxious and withdrawn regarding the diagnosis.

You may also want to reassure your child that diabetes isn’t his or her fault (this is especially true for younger children). Your son or daughter will need to know that he or she did nothing wrong to bring on this disease.

Content of the Conversation

The content of the conversation about diabetes will change depending on the age of your child. Younger children won’t be able to appreciate the physiological details about the disease, but you can try simple metaphors to help them understand. Fueling up a car is a good metaphor for the ways our body uses food as fuel.

Older children may have a lot of questions, so you may want to consider attending a diabetes information class led by a professional. In any case, do your best to welcome questions and to research the answers together.

Never lie to your child about the disease — let him or her know the truth and the severity of diabetes, but be sure he or she knows that everything will be OK.

Source: Joslin Diabetes Center

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