Loosening the reins

It is reported, humans have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day. That would mean that we have 2,500 to 3,300 thoughts per hour. Of this number, I estimate that I spend a good majority of my day thinking about Type 1 Diabetes. Kind of scary when we see these T1D thoughts in terms of numbers.

Anna is almost 17 months diagnosed. We seem to have a handle on this most of the time, however I don’t for one second allow myself to think that I know it all. It would be arrogant of me to think otherwise. There is still so much to learn and there are situations we are yet to experience. We only know a small part of how to best manage her condition.

Being 14 (and a half!) is challenging for any child. Having to manage a Type 1 diagnosis on top adds extra complexities. Our daughter is getting her head around pump changes, hypo treatment and her own personal algorithms for insulin to carb ratio and so for us, the next logical step is to start handing over the reins a little.  Not an easy decision to make however with baby steps, we feel this is the right thing for Anna. At the end of the day, we need to prepare her for adulthood and living with Type 1 Diabetes.

We have found that having open and honest discussions with both of our children regarding Anna’s diagnosis to be incredibly valuable (obviously, these talks are age appropriate). A Type 1 Diagnosis is serious and deserves respect and understanding. For me, it is not a condition to shy away from. Having talks with our daughter around respect for her T1D is very important and we feel that when she truly understands what this means for her, only then can she make the best management decisions on her own.

Educating Anna as much as we can on Type 1 and its management is so important. We want to empower our daughter to be on the front foot and live a normal and happy life. We want her to experience life just as any child without T1D would and the only way we feel this can be done, is by loosening the reins gradually and ever so slightly. This may mean giving more detail about complications, having her read books on Type 1, backing off when she asks us to and allowing her to make her own decisions around bolus amounts.

I don’t expect her management of Type 1 to be perfect, that isn’t realistic. Our children are going to make mistakes, that is how they learn. However, not allowing them to make these mistakes or errors in judgement, is not allowing them to grow and mature. I would rather Anna make T1D mistakes now at home where we can talk about what happened and what could be done differently rather than have her make mistakes in later years when she isn’t at home and somewhere she can’t be cared for.

There is no rule book for parenting and letting go is a scary thought – I will be the first to tell you that I like to be in the drivers’ seat. However, in one of my daily 60,000 thoughts recently, I realised that for Anna’s T1D to be managed effectively long term, I need to let go a little now.

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