3. Coping with the diagnosis

Parents and Carers: Your feelings

A diagnosis of diabetes is usually unexpected and can be very stressful for the whole family. Feelings of shock, sadness, anger and guilt are all normal and each member of your family may react differently. The diabetes team are here to support you, your child and family through this difficult time and help you get back to home life and day-to-day routines. You can find more information on Kidshealth.org.nz on emotional and mental wellbeing concerns around a diagnosis of diabetes.

You can read a transcript of the video here.

There are lots of myths about what causes diabetes, such as 'diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar'.  These myths are untrue. We don't yet fully understand what causes type 1 diabetes. It cannot be prevented or cured, but it can be successfully managed with education and support from your diabetes team. 

Education on how to manage diabetes starts in hospital and continues with follow-up appointments after you and your child go home. It is important that as many members of your family as possible become involved in learning how to manage your child's diabetes. It's OK to ask lots of questions and to get people to repeat things to make sure you understand. By the time you and your child go home you should be confident about how to provide the care your child needs to manage their diabetes. You are not expected to know everything however and your diabetes team will be available for telephone advice and support on a daily basis when you first go home. You can also watch any of the videos and read any of the factsheets in this education module.

Tips to help you through the initial stages following diagnosis

You can read a transcript of this video here.

  • Remember that with time you will all learn to adjust to the diabetes

  • Talk about your feelings with your partner, friends and family

  • Discuss the diabetes with your child and your other children. It's OK to tell them if you feel sad or angry but reassure them that with help you will all get through this

Try to get sleep and eat well

  • Ask for help. Friends and family are usually happy to offer practical help with looking after other children, laundry and meals

  • Try to take the week off work to learn about managing the diabetes, and to plan the return home. The diabetes team can supply a work-release letter if required

  • Share the responsibility of managing the diabetes with at least one other adult

  • Meeting other families with children and teens with diabetes may help (see Diabetes Youth NZ website for more information)

Coping with the diagnosis: an overview. Let's go over the main points we've just covered. Ready?