It's hard being a first-time parent, even though it's something we (meaning those of us that make the plunge into parenting) must go through. Basically, you have to learn everything on the fly. Sure you have your ideas of how you want to parent, but when you add one little, but very distinct personality to the mix, those plans can go right out the window.
Now, add diabetes on top of it all, and it can be downright impossible. I'm talking about having to discipline your kids.
This may come as a surprise to you, but Elise is not the amazingly sweet, wonderful angel I make her out to be. Oh no, she has way too much of her Momma in her for that. And lately we have noticed that along with a couple of inches, Elise has grown a wee bit of an attitude to match.
People have told us all about the terrible threes, and I'm sure this is what we're dealing with when we hear her yell "no!" at us, or she doesn't listen, or the tantrums, the not sharing, the refusing to do what she's told... man, did my two year old skip a bunch of years and turn into a teenager when I wasn't looking? Should I hide my car keys and lock up the liquor?
The problem, as all you D-parents can attest to, is sometimes it's hard to tell if it's a "typical-toddler" issue, or a "diabetes" issue. Is her bad behavior because of a low or high BG? And how am I supposed to discipline her when I have to test her BG to rule it out? By the time I've done that, we've lost our "teachable moment".
For any other child, discipline would look like this:
-Child acts out.
-Discipline child (for us, the first step is a time out, after a warning of course).
-Explain to child why what they did was wrong, why they were punished, and how they can make a better choice next time.
-Hug it out and go on your merry way.
With Elise, it's more like this:
-Elise acts out
-I wonder if she's just misbehaving, or if it's D-related
-I run around the house, looking for her meter
-Elise continues to misbehave
-I try to get her to wash her hands... she tells me no
-I lose patience and use an alcohol pad
-I tell Elise I need to check her BG
-Elise yells no and runs away
-I finally get her to listen and check her BG... normal
-Now why the hell was I checking her in the first place???
Okay, that may be a little exaggerated, but you get the idea.
Another thing I hate is how Elise has learned to use her diabetes as a stalling tactic, or when she's looking for attention. This usually comes into play at bedtime, when she'll tell us her tummy hurts, or that she's hungry (for her, these are signs of a low). She fully understands that this means we'll need to check her BG, and she'll possibly get a snack. With the introduction of Eileen, we can now show her that she's okay... but it doesn't stop her from trying.
I've tried to explain to her that she shouldn't say these things if they're not true (I've even read The Little Boy who Cried Wolf... she didn't get the parallel), but of course I'm not going to punish her for it. The last thing I want is for her to not tell me something because she's afraid of getting in trouble.
All in all, I'd have to say we are pretty lucky... despite having a strong personality, Elise is pretty quick to listen, and we usually don't have to go past the "warning" stage with her. But I am feeling pretty beaten down trying to figure all this out.
So what do YOU do? How do you handle discipline and diabetes? Come on... help a rookie out and tell me your secrets!
6 days ago