Feelings, Families and Diabetes: Thoughts on the Emotional Aspects of Diabetes
By Wendy Satin Rapaport L.S.C.W., Psy.D.
>> Diabetes involves families whether they are involved or not.
>> Psychological adjustments to diabetes are more arduous than the behavioral changes…and they often have to come first or be revisited.
>> A positive mental attitude is not only good for you because you feel better, but because you do better.
>> Figuring out a way to see diabetes as a challenge rather than a burden (no easy task) goes a long way.
>> Respect, diagnose and treat anxiety or depression for any family members. Consider seeking professional help.
>> Do not lower expectations of yourself or your children to have a full, productive, happy, active life. Do give yourself time to make adjustments to the diagnosis.
>> Find support in the form of: friends and family who understand diabetes, reading and talking, a medical team, or matching yourself with other families who have diabetes.
>> MODEL healthy lifestyle.
>> MODEL healthy lifestyle.
>> No typo…MODEL healthy lifestyle.
>> The strength of the parental relationship must remain on the front burner.
>> Appreciate that family members grieve differently by nature of personality and gender. (Don’t interpret not talking or being busy as not caring.)
>> Make sure that everyone in the family is informed and skillful with diabetes management. Consider sharing tasks to relieve responsibility, make better decisions and keep the communication open by both parents with the child with diabetes and their siblings.
>> Shape children’s behavior by focusing on behavior not character (and rewards and consequences).
>> Try not to react to numbers. Think through patterns and think solutions.
>> Name irritability and understand it rather than judge it.
>> Let go of perfection…
>> Guilt...anger...sadness...fear...empathy. These are important but separate from motivators or decisions.
>> Every child needs respectful supervision and collaboration along with empowerment until they are out of your house…and then some.
>> Change usually happens in small doses.
>> Be aware of what you do well (positive reframing) not just what you want to improve.
>> Become even more skillful with honest, open communication. Keep empathy and firmness as your guide.
>> Appreciate individuality wether it's your own, your spouse, your child with diabetes or your other children without diabetes.
>> Expect resistance to doing well and learn to be resilient and hardy.
>> Respect and positively challenge grief and shame.
>> Think normalcy whenever possible.
>> Don’t let denial linger. Get skills in pushing away procrastination. Cultivate healthy denial after 21 days of getting a good habit started.
>> Use the team (physician, nurse, dietitian, social worker or psychologist, and exercise specialist…Tae Bo tape counts.)
>> Model good lifestyle choices for your family, including food, exercise, and coping skills (assertion, optimism, humor, communication, forgiveness, spirituality, cognitive restructuring and APPRECIATION FOR YOURSELF AND THE CHALLENGES.)