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Advice for a diabetic’s mom:

Hi there,

I would like to get some advice on my daughter. She was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic at 9 years old. She is now 11 years old.

She seems to be struggling with emotions and hormones and struggling a lot to control her diet. Right after being diagnosed she was very good and ate well and her HbA1c was great for a while. She is almost like rebelling now, and she doesn’t want to control eating the bad and is despondent saying why do I have to be diabetic and all of that.

Is there a support group for kids in Johannesburg or may be a psychologist/ counsellor that she can talk to that specialises with kids and has experience with diabetes? Her own educator is obviously perceived as the one that is going to shout at me, so I would like to contact someone else.

Are you able to assist?

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  1. Brendan Gough Brendan Gough

    Hi, I have been a T1 Diabetic since i was 8. I went through the same thing when i was between the age of 11 and 17. and I know what you are going through. Please mail me on and I would like to talk to you about this, maybe I can help in some way?

  2. Candice Candice


    Firstly I would like to comment on the educators that always shouts and gets angry. I am diabetic myself and I had to go through all of that. They have no idea how difficult it is and shouting/being cross DOES NOT HELP. It didn’t help me or any of the other diabetics I know.

    The best is to say something along the lines of “I know it’s so difficult, we all want to help and I was so proud when you used to be so good at looking after yourself. I know you can do it” Encouragement is really the best way.

    I would encourage that you educate her friends. Maybe tell the friends’ moms to help out by explaining to them what diabetes is and that they probably shouldn’t have sweets when she visits. It sucks, but it really helps when people around us are understanding and willing to help.

    I don’t know of anyone in Jhb, as I am not from there, but you can go to Diabetes SA website
    (, there is a Pretoria children’s camp and maybe you can look around for a Jhb one. I remember going on one when I was 10 and it was well worth it. There are also contact on there that you can try.

    All the best!

  3. Angela Angela


    this depends if you stay in jhb or ct. If you stay in jhb their is a wonderful diabetes and endocrinlogy centre in houghton they speciliaze in younger diabetics. They have the whole team needed for her and can advise on everything!

    Also have you considered the insulin pump for her? If you have a good doctor they would recommend her for it. It will see that she gets the right amount of insulin throughout the day even though she is not eating right. she needs to find some diabetic friends who she can share with and the centre in houghton has a lot of type 1’s in her age group. As loving as our parents are pre teens / teens already don’t “like” their parents so they need friends who understand and even more so being a diabetic!

    There are soooooooo many awesome sweet / snack recipes these days so try see if you can find those so that it takes away her not wanting to eat all the wrong things.

    Keep up the amazing work that you are doing as her parent!! caring for her and being there no matter what is so important and she needs to know that even though you don’t understand exactly what she is going through you are there for her!!

    All the best!

  4. Lyn Starck Lyn Starck

    Hi there
    I am sorry you are struggling with your daughters glucose control
    She is in puberty now and her hormones are playing havoc with control and emotions
    She also will feel very despondent as she may be trying hard but still is not getting the results.
    She will need much more insulin and also will probably need to inject for lunch as well
    If she understands basic concept of what a carbohydrate is she can eat anything and remember that e.g 2 slices of bread need more insulin than 1 slice of bread
    She is suffering from Diabetes “burnout”.Set some realistic goals with her and try not to police her too much as she will be more resentful and angry
    Sit with her and ask her what she feels she can achieve and trust her to do it and praise her for what she gets right
    Punishment and shouting does not achieve anything in managing Diabetes.Loving support and acknowledgement
    and goal setting is a slower but more effective method
    You can phone a CDE or a your paediatrician who can assist with referral to a psychologist or support group
    A Diabetes camp is also a great source of support for these children
    Good luck
    Lyn Starck
    Diabetes Nurse Specialist (Paediatrics)

  5. Thea van Aarle Thea van Aarle

    Yes I can help, it is Vivienne Marais, (Alberton – Children with Diabetes), her contact no. is 082 679-0036

    Trust you will find this useful

    Thea van Aarle

  6. Janice Janice

    Hey there, I have been a type 1 diabetic for 31 years now, was diagnosed at the age of 6. It is seriously stressful to be diabetic when all the other teens seem to have a rather care-free existence and she would undoubtedly look at her situation as being so much worse! Do not force her to take control of her diabetes during this phase. I know that parents will worry that the diabetes control will get seriously out-of-hand, but believe me, she will still continue to take care of herself. All that you can do is pack lunches that are new and exciting for her to take to school and give her some leeway in terms of her diet. Whatever you do, do not tell her that you understand what she is going through, because as a non-diabetic, you actually don’t. Tell her that you don’t know, but she should guide you as to how you could make her life easier. And finally, if she wants to talk to someone about her feelings right now, choose a counsellor carefully! You do not want someone to focus completely on trying to get her to focus on controlling her diabetes, and ignoring the emotional aspects of dealing with type 1 diabetes. And don’t stress yourself out, it is a phase, she will learn to cope with this multi-faceted disease in good time.

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