"At first she wasn't sure she wanted him to know, but after talking about it, she decided it would be easier if he knew. I was so proud of her when she said, 'If he's going to like me, he's got to like me with diabetes!'"
Many parents, wanting their child to be safe at all times, prefer their teen tell every date about diabetes. But teenagers have competing needs, including the need to choose who they want to tell about their diabetes and who they do not.
Remind yourself that there is no right or wrong decision. And the decision is not yours – but your teen's – to make.
Regardless of whether or not your teen decides to share, be cautious of how you say things or ask questions; parents often hover with tone rather than words. Feeling ownership over diabetes will build confidence in your teen's ability to manage diabetes as he matures into self-sufficiency.
Help your teen make this decision by asking:
- How would you react if roles were reversed?
- What do you think your friend's response would be?
- Will it complicate things if you decide not to share?
It's ok if your teen decides to keep it private. Just be sure she wears her diabetes medical ID before she leaves the house. It might also help for him to consider the following questions prior to leaving for the date:
- How will you handle dosing for a meal or snack?
- What snacks will you bring and how will you carry them around?
- Will you be too anxious about how you're going to manage diabetes to have a good time?
- What if you guys want to play tennis? Are you okay with checking your blood glucose (blood sugar) level if you need to?
- How would you handle a serious high or low?
Tips for Sharing
- Suggest making it quick and simple, like, "I have diabetes so I have to plan a little when I eat. I keep track of my blood glucose levels and give myself insulin."
- Reassure your child that most people are very caring and concerned , sometimes curious, too.
- Prepare your child to be ready to answer a lot of questions. In fact, that's a good sign – and it could mean a second date!