Having your child diagnosed with diabetes takes you to a completely unknown and frightening place. It immediately transforms your relationship with your child – Mummy is suddenly also a nurse; Daddy gives cuddles, but also injections. The joy of parenting is now tinged with constant anxiety. It goes against all your parenting instincts to inflict pain on your child, a child who may too young to understand why these things must be done every few hours, every day, for the rest of their lives.
This is the stage where you feel the most lost, and you need a clear understanding of your new responsibilities and your child’s needs and capabilities with diabetes at each developmental stage of their life. These must somehow dovetail with the parenting issues and priorities that you expected to face with your child’s normal development in all other areas of their life. As a child psychologist working with families learning to cope with diabetes, I have tried to draw together established wisdom from psychological research, guidelines from specialist diabetes teams and combine it with my own clinical experience to provide a simple parenting ‘toolkit’.
Dr Gudrun Court, Clinical Psychologist, Starship Children’s Health, Diabetes Team