Diabetes Center for Children

Teens and Diabetes

The teen years can be challenging for kids as they go through developmental and emotional changes — they can be especially trying for teens with diabetes. Teens inherently want to "fit in." Being different from peers in any way can be emotionally stressful.

Teens who previously complied very well with their diabetes management plan may now become rebellious and refuse to comply. They may also experience denial of the disease, or display increasingly aggressive behavior in reaction to the stress of managing diabetes.

Blood sugar control is especially hard during adolescence/teen years. Researchers believe the growth hormone produced during adolescence to stimulate bone and muscle growth may also act as an anti-insulin agent. Blood sugar levels become harder to control and can swing from too low to too high. This lack of control over blood sugar levels can be very frustrating for your teenager.

Helping your teen cope

Open communication between you and your teenager with diabetes is important. You should recognize that your teen wants to be treated as an adult, even if that means letting him take charge of his own diabetes management plan. Parents should also recognize that teens need:

Reviewed by: Kathy A. Montgomery, MSN, CRNP, PNP-BC
Date: Dec. 2013

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