Friday, September 2, 2011

Temper Tantrum - Diabetes vs Emotional Dysregulation

"Rowan and Cadee - In a calm state"
Let me start by clarifying the title.  Is this temper tantrum diabetes related or is it simply my kid throwing a fit?

I have been meaning to write about this for a while now and what prompted this post was a discussion this morning with my non-diabetic kids day-care provider.  The day-care worker told me that Cadee was throwing some extreme tantrums in an attempt to get out of quiet time. We discussed reasons etc....And I left thinking, well she is three and has been testing boundaries at home lately.  This lead me to think about Rowan our youngest type 1.  She was 18 months when Diagnosed. Right before the onset of the "Challenging twos"

It made parenting her tricky, as we knew that fluctuating sugars can result in moodiness.  I am speaking from my own personal Jekyll and Hyde episodes that I exhibited with Highs and lows.

When Rowan had a temper tantrum we would normally chalk it up as your typical toddler exhibiting  dysregulated emotional behavior. We would always, pause, test, and ensure it wasn't diabetes related. Then in the back of my mind I would be thinking; you just wait, if this is just you being a toddler, you're going straight into a time out,  or we'd redirect in an attempt to dissuade her undesirable actions. 

This really sucked for us.  It was one more step in an already emotionally draining parenting situation (that any parent can attest to). One of the hardest parts of parenting is having to discipline your child(ren) who just aren't quite there yet, emotionally, verbally, developmentally. Parenting's hard enough, but throw Diabetes into the mix and it is one more element to consider before handing out the sentence --- 2 minutes no parole...on the naughty bench.

Thought I'd share this conundrum.  Now Rowan is old enough to explain that she is probably highly emotional or upset for more then just the situation at hand, but also because her sugar is high or low. 

My heart goes out to the parents caring for type 1 diabetic kids, it is not for the faint of heart.

Take care.


PS:  How do you handle the above scenarios with you little diabetic?


Heidi / D-Tales said...

We did the same as you. We'd test to make sure it wasn't D-related. We still do. Even though Jack is 8, generally behaves well and and can verbalize what's going on, we still test before disciplining him. It seems only fair. We don't want to discipline diabetes. You hit the nail on the head when you said: "it is not for the faint of heart." Great post!

Lora said...

This is a tough place to be as a parent. I can't tell you how many times I headed for the meter while babbling on about how he "better be low".

A day in the life, right?

Fiona said...

Trev, this is a constant battle for us. Toby was dx at 18m too. We tested to work out how much was D and how much was age/attitude etc. Maybe we test too much, but it helped to balance how much and what discipline he gets. If he's high, he gets a bit of grace, but still explained that even though he might feel horrible, it doesn't excuse his behaviour.

Kristin said...

Great to read your post! We wrestle with the same with a 3 yr old and also check BGs before responding. Over time we're trying to teach him to contain his craziness when high (don't expect him to when low), and he has seemed to learn to self regulate a bit. Sounds like you're doing great!

Anonymous said...

We experience the same types of behavior. Our daughter was dx feb. Of this year at 2 and she turned 3 in july. Shortly before she was dx we noticed a huge change in her moods. As a mother of 4 girls......her being our last.....we had never dealt with such behavior. When her sugars are low its not an issue because she becomes very quiet, sometimes not even speaking at all. However, when her sugar is high she becomes out of control; kicking, screaming, throwing things, rolling around on the floor, talking back, and even saying she hates us. I don't discipline her often because I know her body is in a constant tug of war with itself. My husband on the other hand enforces that type of behavior is unacceptable. I sometimes feel caught in the middle because I don't know what the right thing is. I am definitely open to any suggestions.