“Have you done your test?”, “Have you given your insulin?” “Are you low?”, Should you be eating that?”
Yep it’s the oldies nagging again! The words may be different but nearly every teenager with diabetes deals with questions like these at one time or another.
You might wonder why they keep hassling you and just wish they’d shut up.
So why do parents nag? Parents nag because they worry. Maybe they’re used to being responsible for your diabetes and now they have to hand some or all of it over to you. They know that diabetes isn’t high on your list of priorities but it’s way high on theirs. This may be a recipe for family arguments!
Parents might have other feelings too, like feeling angry or upset about diabetes or even feeling guilty because you’ve got it. Parents don’t want anything to go wrong for you and they worry about your future. This can come over as being over protective, with way too many questions, which can be really annoying!
So how do you react? You might slam the door and storm off, try and ignore them, scream back at them or deliberately not do what you should just to get back at them. All of which can make the whole situation twice as bad and seem never ending. You’ll probably find that none of these things work and they hassle you even more!
Some useful tips:
- Don’t ignore them, answer their question, even if you think it’s annoying.
- Talk to your parents calmly and let them know why their nagging makes you feel so frustrated.
- Show them that you can look after yourself and your diabetes. It shows you’re responsible and may even stop the nagging, if they think you’re doing OK.
- Include them in your diabetes care. Discuss issues with them and maybe even ask them to help you out with stuff (e.g. an overnight test, adjusting insulin doses, sick days) so that they still feel involved, trust you and understand that you’re doing your best.
- Focus on the positives – your parents care about you and want you to be healthy.
- Talk to your parents about picking a “nag time” every other day when it’s OK for them to check in and nag – at least it won’t be all the time!
If you can’t deal with it, sit the oldies down and say something like “When you keep going on about blah, it makes me feel blah”.
But don’t lose your cool.
When you’ve got diabetes you might feel that it makes you different from your friends. But really, you’re just like them, you’ve just got extra stuff to do. You have to plan ahead and fit your diabetes in with your life. It can be hard work, but with the help of your friends it might make it easier.
Who to tell?
At first you might not want anyone to know that you have diabetes. This is understandable but it’s safer if someone knows. Depending on how you feel you might want to explain simply what diabetes is to a few close friends. Make sure that your friends know about hypos and what to do if you have one. This might seem embarrassing, but it could be more embarrassing if your hypo goes untreated.
Being one of the crowd
Sometimes diabetes can get in the way of the stuff you and your friends are doing and it might seem easier to pretend it’s not there or hope it’ll go away. Like when you’re eating out, at a party or just hanging out all day. It might be tempting to not test, skip your injection, run high so you don’t have a hypo or miss meals. This might work in the short term and make you feel like one of the crowd but in the long run, you might get sick and miss hanging out with your friends altogether.
It also might be more embarrassing if you really let things go and you end up in hospital with ketoacidosis – this can be scarier for your friends than seeing you do a test or injection!