What to Do When Your Diabetic Child is Sneaking Food

So, you’ve figured out that your son or daughter is sneaking food – maybe it’s at school, at a friend’s house, or during the night when everyone is sleeping.

But, it’s not the sneaking food that is the problem – it’s that they aren’t taking insulin for it.

First of all, know that it’s normal. (Not good, but normal.)

I, along with all of my other diabetic childhood friends, did this many, many times.

In grade school, I would walk to a friend’s house after school was let out to “play” for a few hours. Which, we did, but I also knew they would have snacks. (Lots of stories like this in my book, The Type 1 Life!)

Lots and lots of snacks.

I would eat cereal, chips, and pop-tarts…. all in one afternoon. Without insulin.

I wouldn’t check my blood sugar when I got home either.

Fast forward to being 28 years old, and I’m still alive and doing well – my A1c has been 6.2% for over a year!

So, why do we do this?

1. We’re tired. We’re tired of shots, tired of checking, tired of counting, tired of NOT BEING NORMAL. You know when you come home on Friday and just want to sit on the couch, eat pizza, and watch TV after a loooooong week at work? That’s how we feel…. everyday. Even when we’re 10 years old.

2. We might be emotionally eating. It’s unfair that a kid has to manage diabetes, on top of trying to figure out life. We feel weird at school. The mean kid in class makes fun of us. We don’t get to eat cupcakes at birthday parties. We’re mad at God for making us diabetic.

3. We’re rebelling. Like I said, we’re mad. We think if we can just ignore it, maybe it will go away. It won’t hurt us to just eat a few snacks one afternoon… and every afternoon after that.

What can you do to help your child?

1. Take them to counseling. There’s a lot to process in the mental and emotional side of being diabetic. Letting them process their feelings out loud with someone (who is not mom or dad) will be very healthy.

2. If you can, get them a pump and/or sensor. The sensor would be best to start with, so you can track their blood sugars and get alerts on your phone about their levels.

3. Don’t nag them. It’s not going to help. It’s going to make you the bad guy. If you can, take them to the doctor more often, so the doctor can be the “bad” guy in this situation.

4. Gently remind them of their future. Do they want to get married? Do they want to go to college and become a ______? They have to be alive and healthy to do these things.