The CDC estimates that nearly 1.6 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. This includes 187,000 children and adolescents. All parents want their children to be happy and healthy, so when a child is diagnosed with diabetes it can be really stressful and overwhelming. But it’s important to remember that with the right medication and nutrition plan, type 1 diabetes is manageable.
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You’ll get through it! As proof to this, Tom Karyla is the father of two children with diabetes, is sharing his experience as a parent of a child with diabetes. He’s been through the ups and downs of this process and come out the other side. He’s sharing what he’s learned along the way, particularly in the beginning, for parents who are currently struggling with their child’s diagnosis. Here are some tips from Tom on ways parents can better cope with a child that has diabetes.
When Newly Diagnosed
The only thing that should matter for the first months after diagnosis is you understanding this disease. Avoid social media as there will be much time in the future to connect with others. Don’t bounce from one conversation to another saying, “perhaps I should try that” or “that sounds like a good idea”; literally you will drive yourself crazy. You will come to find that what you hear from others does not necessarily work in your household. Learn from your medical team. Stay in a dialogue with your spouse. Stay connected to your child.
Once you have a firm grip of the terminologies and the standards that work well with your child, you can seek input. If one sits in a cockpit of an airplane for the first time surrounded by people giving their opinions, the pilot has no idea how to differentiate anything as they don’t even understand the basics of the airplane. Dealing with diabetes is the same thing. All of the things before you are confusing because you just do not know yet what everything is about…….but you will. Avoid people sharing their ‘expertise’ on social media, but first; work with your medical team, spouse, and most importantly; your child.