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Parenting under pressure

parent feeding teenagers

Take care of yourself so you can stay strong for your child.

It’s natural to feel stress when you care for a child with type 1 diabetes. New routines, changing information, time demands, and other parts of daily life can sometimes feel like too much.

Even once you’re used to the diabetes diagnosis, fear of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) or other problems can keep going. This fear often comes with anxiety and stress, especially if you’re a parent. 

Your stress and how you feel about caring for a child with type 1 diabetes can affect how well your child is able to manage his or her disease. That’s why it is important for parents and other care partners to take steps to lower their own stress levels. Relieving anxiety or uncertainty about raising a child with type 1 diabetes can have a positive effect on both you and your child.

If you have any questions or concerns about managing stress, you should talk to your doctor. Your child’s diabetes care teamDiabetes care teamYour diabetes care team may include a primary care doctor, a diabetes and hormone doctor (endocrinologist), a registered nurse, a diabetes educator, a dietitian, a heart doctor (cardiologist), a foot doctor (podiatrist), an eye doctor (ophthalmologist/optometrist), a kidney doctor (nephrologist), a dentist, a pharmacist, and a mental health professional. may be able to help, too. 

Here are some tips to quickly lower your stress levels. These may help you stay strong and balanced for your child.

Tips for lowering stress levels

  • Have an upbeat attitude. Children look to their parents for guidance. If a parent has a positive attitude about managing their child’s diabetes, it is more likely that the child will too
  • Talk openly about diabetes. Treat your child’s diabetes in a matter-of-fact manner. Make it part of the family’s routine. Be open and honest with other children and family members
  • Don’t go it alone. Many times, one parent will take the lead in caring for a child with diabetes. But, if possible, it may help to have both parents involved. Studies show that parents who share responsibility and work together in their child’s diabetes care are more effective in managing the disease
  • Rely on a friend or family member. If you’re in a single-parent household, ask for help from a friend or a family member when you need it. It can help to take an hour to do something to relieve stress, like a long walk or exercising
  • Learn more about diabetes and/or problem solving. If you feel stressed or unsure, learning more about diabetes, stress management, and problem solving may boost your confidence
  • Increase your child’s role in self‑care. As your child gets older, he or she can assume more of his or her diabetes self-care. Talk with your diabetes care team about when to increase a child’s or teen’s role in his or her own diabetes care
rolled up yoga mat

Relieve stress by learning to relax:

  • Try deep breathing exercises for 5 to 20 minutes at a time at least once a day
  • Learn progressive relaxation, which consists of tensing then relaxing muscles
  • Exercise regularly, and relax the body with circling, stretching, and shaking movements
  • Replace bad thoughts with good ones. Think of things that make you feel happy or proud
  • Think about something you’re grateful for. This can be hard when you’re feeling overwhelmed. But thinking about something small you’re grateful for, like something that made you and your child smile that day, can work wonders

Having too much stress for too long may lead to depression. That can get in the way of daily life and cause difficulty for the depressed person and those around them. If you think you may be experiencing depression, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

Test your knowledge

You can relieve stress almost anywhere.


Sorry, that's incorrect.

True. Simply stand or sit in a comfortable position.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath in.

Breathe out.

Then pause.

Repeat the steps again.

You’ve just done a mini meditation.

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