April 26, 2023

Being a Parent with Diabetes

When you know how to deal with diabetes, you’ll find it easier than ever to live with diabetes and raise your kids along the way. Here, you’ll find US MED’s advice for parents with diabetes. 

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Home / Living with Diabetes / Being a Parent with Diabetes

No matter how much they care about their children’s well-being and how hard they work to give their kids the life they deserve, parents are only human. That’s definitely the case for parents with diabetes, who have to shoulder all the usual responsibilities of parenting while closely monitoring their own health. With that in mind, it’s all too easy for diabetes parents to feel overwhelmed. 

The good news is that type 2 and type 1 diabetes in adults are highly manageable conditions. When you know how to deal with diabetes, you’ll find it easier than ever to live with this disease and raise your kids along the way. Here, you’ll find US MED’s advice for parents with diabetes. 

Explaining diabetes to your kids 

Whether you’ve been living with diabetes for years or you’ve just received a diabetes diagnosis, you should know how to explain this condition to your children at some point in their lives. Since parents of diabetics can talk to their children about this disease, there’s no reason why you can’t tell your kids about the challenges you’re facing. Fortunately, this conversation can be both reassuring and constructive if you follow a few simple steps: 

  • Let them know that everything is okay. Diabetes is a lifelong condition, but it isn’t a death sentence. When explaining diabetes to your kids, your first priority should be letting them know you have this condition under control. 
  • Be honest while talking about diabetes. Your children might already know a thing or two about diabetes, but they could also have some misconceptions about this disease. Be sure to clear up any false ideas they’ve run into without sugar-coating the ways things like low blood sugar can affect your daily life. 
  • Keep things age appropriate. If your children are still young, it’s best to keep your explanations about diabetes as simple as possible. Just let them ask any questions they have – the older they get, the more detailed these questions are likely to be. 
  • Make sure your children understand diabetes safety. Your glucose meter, test strips, CGM, insulin pump, and other diabetes supplies shouldn’t be handled by children. Make sure your kids know these supplies are off-limits (unless you directly ask them to bring them to you). 
  • Create a game plan for emergencies. Diabetes management can get complex, but your children might be able to lend a helping hand. Let them know where you keep your glucose tablets, how to call 911 if you pass out, and the basic diabetes information they should share if they need to talk to someone in an emergency situation. 

Parents’ perspective 

In the past, the intersection of diabetes and parenting wasn’t a common topic of discussion. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. Thanks to social media, it’s never been easier to find parents’ perspectives on how diabetes has affected their own lives and the lives of their children. 

How are families affected by diabetes? 

There are as many stories about how diabetes impacts parenting as there are parents with diabetes, so this question doesn’t have a simple, straightforward answer. Still, it’s safe to say diabetes can be a source of stress in family life. Diabetes management and parenting both require a great deal of effort, and parents can find it harder to take care of their children’s needs when they also have to manage their own symptoms. 

Since genetics is a factor in the development of diabetes, it’s also common for parents to fear that their children will someday develop this condition. Along with the guilt associated with that, many parents feel bad about the possibility that their children will worry about their health. 

However, the challenges tied to parenting with diabetes are by no means insurmountable. If you have (online or real-life) support from other diabetes parents and a good sense of humor, you can overcome these obstacles. 

family combats diabetes through exercise

Tips for being a parent with diabetes  

Parenting is never an easy job, especially if you have to deal with diabetes management at the same time. These common-sense tips can help you know how to deal with diabetes with minimal difficulty, making it that much easier to focus on being a parent. 

Have the right carbs to deal with lows 

Avoiding blood sugar lows in some situations can be tricky. The key is to be prepared for these scenarios by ensuring you always have access to fast-acting carbs. By being ready to treat your low blood sugar at all times, you’ll be able to enjoy spending time with your children without worrying about the possibility of hypoglycemia. 

If your blood sugar level is below 80 mg/dL, you’ll want to get 15 grams of fast-acting carbs in your system as soon as possible. To do so, you could consume: 

  • Five or six jelly beans 
  • A glucose gel dose 
  • Three or four glucose tablets 
  • A half-cup of non-diet soda or juice 
  • A tablespoon of sugar or honey 

Hypoglycemia is a potentially severe condition that could cause seizures, loss of consciousness, or death if left untreated. To learn even more about managing hypoglycemia, read US MED’s blog article on this topic. 

Diabetes resources for parents  

Juggling diabetes management and parenting can be difficult, but you don’t need to deal with this challenge alone. One incredibly valuable resource you can have access to in this situation is outside support. Depending on your needs, that can come in the form of a diabetes educator, a support group for people with diabetes, or both. 

Are you looking for more help with diabetes management? If so, US MED has you covered. Take a look at our collection of diabetes resources for parents, including our diabetic logbook and links to other trustworthy sources of information on diabetes. 

Know where to get your diabetes supplies 

Parenting is highly demanding, and so is managing type 2 and type 1 diabetes in adults. While combining the two may seem all but impossible, that isn’t truly the case. By following the advice included in this article, you’ll be ready to avoid hypoglycemia while being there for your kids. 

If you’re one of the many diabetes parents in America today, you already have a lot to worry about. That means ordering diabetes supplies shouldn’t be an additional source of stress. US MED has been active in the industry for more than 20 years and has been officially recognized by the American Diabetes Association, making us the clear choice for your supply needs. Explore our selection of diabetes supplies today! 

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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