How To: Deal with the Stress of a Newly Diagnosed Child

This section is for any newly diagnosed type one families or anyone who would like to understand more about the emotional issues that arise. Grandparents or family friends may want to help and not know how. Often people under stress close in and don’t ask for help when they need it.

If you are not in this situation please proceed to the How To: Create Emergency Information Pack.

This section is for everyone.

It may help you to know that even in medical families the diagnosis of a child with diabetes can come as a profound shock. Most people know something about diabetes.  But this may not be accurate. Having to have lots of  painful jags, being likely to need a guide dog and amputations before old age are some of the  catastrophic things things that can go through a parent’s mind.

When any life changing event happens what people have been accepting as their likely future changes too. Life is full of pathways where doors open and close to various opportunities. The diagnosis of diabetes can even feel like a death has occurred in the family. The reality is that life has certainly changed for everyone in that family and it usually does take some time to adjust to the different expectations that come with the diagnosis.

The BC (British Columbia) Children’s Hospital in Canada has produced an excellent series of handouts that will benefit not only children and their carers but type one and two diabetics of all ages. This is partly due to effort that has gone into the carb counting and insulin adjusting sections but also the more general sections. They also give addresses of diabetes organisations and sites.

This is how they suggest you help yourself and your family through difficulties that surface at the time of diagnosis.

Join a Support Group

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at has a link to “Life with Diabetes”  and then “One-to-One Support”.

There is a chat room at

If you look in the presentations section there is a very good series of slide shows from diabetes health professionals and parents to help you understand more about managing the condition and the effects on your child in the home and at school.

At Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes Forum at  the Bernies are  there to help people who are considering or who are doing a lower carbohydrate diet to help themselves or their child.

Look After Yourself

You can’t let diabetes rule your life to the point where your own emotional and mental health suffers. How can you help your child as much as you want to if you are in a poor state?

Find babysitters and relatives you trust and teach them all they need to know about diabetes care. Here are links below with advice on this.

Canadian Diabetes Association

American Diabetes Association

If you have a teen with diabetes who you think could be experimenting with alcohol or drugs educate yourself about how these can affect diabetes.

Keep or make a supportive network of friends to help you. These can be in person or you can meet online.

If You are Separated or Divorced

Both parents should educate themselves as much as they can about diabetes management so that your child feels comfortable in either home.

Keep your child’s diabetes separate from any ongoing disputes you may have.

Either both go to the child’s medical appointments together or alternate so that you both are confident about dealing with your child’s diabetes. Communicate freely about any regime or dietary changes that have been agreed.

Keep Optimistic

Focus on what CAN be done about diabetes.  Reading about diabetic people who have enjoyed life to the full and achieved remarkable things in all walks of life can inspire you.

Consider joining a local network for your national diabetes association for company, support, to help educate others, and fundraise.

If you are just not coping or you are nearing the end of your tether see your doctor or social worker or the diabetes teams psychologist for help.

Quick Quiz:
There is no quiz for this section.


Reference Info:
Acknowledgements to the BC Children’s Hospital for this section.

Where to Next?
Proceed to the How To: Create Emergency Information Pack