Watch Me Whip

Yesterday something I wrote was reposted on the page of a busy diabetes Facebook group, and I was torn a new one.

I thought I’d written the story of a fairly dangerous thing my child did while he was low, and how I wondered if I’d done all I could to prevent it from happening again. I concluded that avoiding dangerous hypo behavior is a skill that develops with experience and age, like walking. (Not via formal instruction, as with the Whip & Nae Nae.)(And A Sweet Life included the video!) The end.

People in the Facebook group were almost uniformly pissed. Some to the Donald Trump level.

Stupidity at its best.

Yeah, that’s it. Punish the kid for something he ABSOLUTELY has no control over.

Seriously SMH.

You can not be punished for diabetes. Period.

I don’t think punishing any child is okay.

You are setting up your child to delve into diabetes burnout, regret, hating their lives, and depression.

Sad that any child has to experience hypoglycemia let alone get punished.

This could be the most idiotic thing I have ever read about T1 parenting. Get a frickin grip. You need some serious counseling.

I’m honestly dumbfounded as to how this is even a topic.

Does she think all lows are the same? Because they are not.

If you think your brain is working when you are hypo, you are delusional. Maybe you had a hypo while writing that?

Punishing a child for their body’s reaction to an abnormal biological experience is WRONG!

Punishing a child for a medical complication is abuse. It reminds me of when police beat hypo drivers when they think they are drunk.

I chimed in, stupidly attempting to clarify. Initially I’d assumed they hadn’t read the piece, only the title and the comments of the other angry people. I thought, these people seem to have tempers. Maybe they think “punishment” means the introduction of something negative: a spanking or washing the mouth out with soap. (Do people still do those things?) The punishment in question here was the kind where you take away something good, like video game time or, in this case, a phone.

But these people were not confused. Some of the (less angry) commenters understood exactly what my situation was: I took my son’s phone away after he’d done a fairly dangerous thing while hypo, and then I wondered if that was fair (or not) or if that would help him remember to not do the fairly dangerous thing again (or not). The answer was a resounding of course not!

This was helpful to me. Before, I honestly thought an equal number of people would say, “He did THAT and all you did was take his PHONE away for a few hours?” as, “You took his PHONE away for doing something dangerous when he was LOW?” Surprisingly (to no one but me), zero people were in the former category.

still think there must be something I can do to help Bubs learn to keep it together during those rare, extreme lows. One commenter said she chants, “sugar, sugar, sugar” to herself until she gets some sugar because otherwise she’ll forget what’s happening. I love that! I can use that. Probably works much better than beating a child with a wooden spoon too!

These commenter’s wishes have come true:

I have often wished that parents of type 1s walked in the shoes just once.

I wish that every parent of a type 1 could experience a few very lows and a few very highs.

Someone who doesn’t have the disease will never understand what it feels like.

I’d like to have her BS drop and see how well she can control her actions!!!

 

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42 responses to “Watch Me Whip

  1. I thought your original post was honest and clear. These aren’t easy issues and no one should pretend they are. If you read the post, your intentions to keep your son safe were obvious. I’m sorry you experienced such knee-jerk backlash, likely from people who never read your words. I don’t hold my son responsible for actions when he’s low, but why wouldn’t we wonder about the best ways to prepare them to react?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Meredith

    Oh, dear. I wish you much peace in your mother heart. We’re all walking the razors edge when we make parenting decisions- trying to do what’s best for our children, trying to keep them alive and grounded amidst all of the craziness. Taking a phone away doesn’t seem like the end of the world or a deal breaker in your relationship with B or with his relationship w/ diabetes to me. Perhaps a bigger dose of kindness and compassion for how difficult this all is under the best circumstances would’ve been more productive commentary. So sorry you got berated by haters while you were trying your best!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I thought you did what you could after being super worried! Those people need a life and to learn “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”! I might substitute helpful!!!! for nice even!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennifer

    Katy-
    I am in that Facebook group where your story was reposted. I actually read your article before there were any comments made, so I never saw what foolishness happened.

    I can, however, say that I totally see and understand that you are torn about what to do in a situation like that. How can you know what the right response is… I honestly don’t think you can. Your kid(s) are doing great with you as their mom, and your worry and desire to keep your kid safe – even if it means a minimal punishment during low behavior – is right and good.

    I can also say that, while there are many in that Facebook group that are informed, intelligent, and helpful, there are also a ton who are none of the above. I don’t find the group helpful to me, but it’s basically a trainwreck that I can’t look away from. Don’t listen to those fools, and keep being awesome, Bigfoot!! 😚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There is a bit of irony with me writing a comment here to suggest that you NEVER read the comments on public posts like that. But really, you shouldn’t.

    I’m not sure parenting advice from strangers on the internet is the best idea anyway.

    If I WAS to jump into the fray on that one, I would have asked about what they suppose will happen if their child does something while hypo once they are in the working world and get fired (ADA will cover a lot but certainly not all circumstances!). Are they going to go to the company and demand their child’s job back?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Sarah.

      A few people mentioned their own hypo-induced sins: smacking away a juice box, speaking sharply to a child. No one mentioned smacking a child while experiencing a bad low. What’s the aftermath of something that? I can’t stop thinking about it.

      Like

  6. So here’s the deal, Katy. And I say this not just to offer comfort, but because you’re a smart woman and someone who I have tremendous respect and admiration for, and because you are so generous with your thoughts and feelings, as well as your recipes.

    You are a parent to a teenage (or almost teenage) boy. You need to draw that line between companion and authority-figure, and that line had better be abundantly clear. Any sign of weakness is sure to be used against you later on. If hypos always lead to unconditional forgiveness, that will become less an unfortunate circumstance and more a strategically-timed tool. Trust me on this one. Keep being the lovng and compassionate mom you are, but don’t cave when it comes to discipline.

    The comments left on that Facebook page all paint a picture of an abstract child-with-diabetes as a victim. They describe the abstract child as unable to control what happens to him, unable to keep track of his own blood sugars, unable to predict and treat lows, and unable to learn from prior experiences. The abstract child that they perceive to be helpless, and who they coddle and cradle well into his 50s, is the who will, in my mind, grow up to feel inadequate and burned out.

    The one who is held accountable for his actions, and grows to believe that he can control his diabetes and help himself, is the one who grows to be a strong adult. Holding someone accountable does not mean withholding forgiveness — the two are nowhere near mutually exclusive. And your son will probably hate having to be accountable for things, especially early on. Mostly all kids hate learning responsibility, because it involves work — but it makes them into better adults.

    During last night’s #dsma chat, there was a question “At what point did you accept that your child’s development of D was not your fault? Adults; when did you accept that diabetes was not your fault?”. My response to the question was as follows: “I never felt it was my fault that I got D. I DO hold myself accountable for every single number that flashes on my meter, though.” I can accept that I had no control over GETTING diabetes, but I absolutely refuse to accept HAVING anything less than total control over my diabetes.

    As a child, I was taught that I had to be responsible for my diabetes. And as an adult, I think I’m doing pretty well.

    You’re doing well too – and I think your decisions are totally just and rational. If I knew what Facebook group this was in reference to, I’d hop in the discussion and defend you vehemently.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. hi Katy!
    I am steaming mad for you. You as a person and a especially as a mom don’t deserve those judgemental remarks. I recently became a step-mom of a 6 year old boy. There are days that I have no idea what I am doing…and I think I have it “rough” and then I will read one of your posts, or your blog about your daily Diabetes-goings-on and think I am the biggest wimp in the universe, and get off my pity-pot…. You are a superwoman…there are many days I wonder how you possibly have the strength to be you and do all that you do…with a smile, humor, grace, and wisdom. I would be a complete worried trainwreck. You offer me humor and also perspective. You are my hero…and I just wanted you to know that 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I know you know this, but those people weren’t talking about you. They were talking about a faceless mom of a kid with diabetes who they thought didn’t get it. The fact that you do get it and you’re trying to raise him the best you can is beside the point.

    They thought of you as a characture- a mom that they disagreed with- and those mean things they said were about that characture. If they knew you, had read your blog, knew about your adorableness and your loud pants and had seen pictures of your dog and had ever read that post about the guy at the checkout who looked like Mr. Bean, they never would have said any of that. Just ignore those words, they weren’t for you.

    Liked by 4 people

    • lifeont1

      I told you how I feel.

      Feel better that your child will not be an entitled asshole.

      You should have told them you’re T1. It would give you cred. Not that you should need it, but sometimes to fight off the assholes, you do.

      Liked by 3 people

    • You are so smart. I did take it very personally, and not even in a “holy shit I wish I hadn’t said that” way, but in a “wahhhhh, why are people being so mean to me?” way. It was ridiculous.

      Like

  9. Mary Margaret

    Sorry for the haters. I learn so much from the DOC, you included. I have to say I wonder how to deal with the lows too. There’s low, like I have to make my will his will and force ingestion of sugar. Then there’s the 65 cranky low. He’s in possession of his faculties, just feeling crappy and takes it out on all around. The former, no way could I punish. The latter, well yes no matter how crappy you feel, please don’t take it out on us.
    Anyway, without sharing our experience, how can we get new ideas, learn, and support each other?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am sorry to hear you had to go through this. What you are going through is so similar to what I am experiencing and it’s something I think about all the time. We want our children to grow into the amazing adults we know they can be and this knife edge we walk on with diabetes adds an interesting little devil into the mix. I don’t know what I’d do without the power of the mighty iPhone! It’s the best carrot ever! Stay strong – you are clearly a good mum who knows what’s best for her own kid! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey! Weird concidence! Just had someone on twitter – slam my tweet (about making my kid brownies ) in a blog post. After reading all the beautiful advice above – I decided to not read past the first few lines. So glad to have had all these wise words above in my head! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Someone wrote a whole post criticizing your brownie tweet?! Can I see it? I’d relish that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It was ‘diabully’ I only read a few lines then blocked them as it seemed a bit nasty. I’m so glad I had read your post or I’d probably have read it all! There are judgemental people everywhere I suppose!

        Like

      • I think “diabully” is trying to find someone to respond to her, to react and get her noticed. She wrote a whole post about a tweet I sent as well! Mine was about numbers as instructions not performance grades. Apparently I am a moron. But I’m no way will I react to that nonsense (and give her more attention).

        Like

  12. Hate Facebook. Had one single “friend,” a diabetes parents group, had to quit because comments incensed. Not just finger-pointing ones but ones like “i don’t even know my son’s insulin to carb ratio; my hubby does all the math.” Die Facebook. Facebook is the Fox News of the internet. (except when it mobilizes world-changing social justice campaigns, etc, etc) Do what you need to do to keep your son healthy. You’re killing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Polina

    Finally at the computer so I can leave a comment.

    1. Haters will hate. Screw them.

    2. I agree that it is our job to teach our T1s how to act responsibly when it’s the hardest thing to do. That includes discipline, maybe even when they are low? I get the conflict and I don’t have a clear answer either. What Scott said in his comment really resonates with me. It stinks that our kids have to deal with diabetes and all it brings but if we can’t get rid of it, we have to figure out how to manage it appropriately. That includes having a better plan to avoid doing stupid and dangerous things when low.

    I remember having to have several talks with V regarding her behavior toward her brother when she is high. She gets really angry and can be outright nasty and mean. We had to talk about how being high changes her feelings and how it is really, really important to not act out on them, to take the time and think things through, and wait until BG is more reasonable. I cannot recall any specifics, but we have talked about and possibly “punished” her for her behaviors when she was high. It’s a really hard lesson to learn but she must learn it. She must learn to recognize when BG is affecting her so much. She cannot unapologetically act like an a-hole to people around her, at home or anywhere else, and expect to get a free pass because of diabetes.

    3. OMG the horrible injustice you committed by taking your son’s cell phone. You’ve traumatized him for life!!! Abuse! Call CPS! 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Polina

    ETA: Also thank you for honestly writing about something that is controversial and gets people all worked up, and being willing to wear a bulls-eye target and take the heat. Really thank you for that. We need to have difficult and honest conversations about this stuff. We could do without haters, but whatever, screw them.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. skchrisman

    I’ve ditched parent groups on facebook for blogs, vlogs and podcasts. Once the big groups started feeling icky, I was out of there. Sometimes I am pulled back in by a random share, but I don’t stay long.

    I think I agree about disclosing your type 1 status because I felt that as I was reading everything! Me screaming, She knows! She gets it! at the computer didn’t help.

    You know how I feel about the other stuff. KEEP BEING YOU.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon <3. I only wish I had some worse diabetes to make me feel legit.

      Like

      • skchrisman

        Oh, but yes, remember that one time when you were walking and Jack came to your rescue? was it after a test? Was there ice cream involved? or you wanted the sidewalk to be ice cream? That was enough of a weird out-of-body experience for you to get it. You’ve felt it more than any of us normie parents, and that’s enough. Yes. That’s enough.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for sharing your story – both how you dealt with your son’s low, and the fallout… I agree with much of what Scott said, that your son is old enough to take responsibility for his actions, even while low. And needs to learn how to become more aware (with CGM if needed) to stay safe.

    But before I read that I was really seeing the other side of this too, that your son didn’t know he was low and what he was doing, (and was so sweet and apologetic) and though dangerous, didn’t deserve punishment. It’s such a fine line – and you, as his parent, are the only one who can ultimately know (or guess best) how to raise her son.

    It’s the hardest job in the world and adding such challenges as type 1 just adds to the impossible mix of doing our best and trying to get it right, to raise the best humans possible. From everything I see, you’re doing an amazing job, with humor, grace and lots of work!

    PS – if you have any FB diabetes groups you like and recommend, would you be wiling to share them with us? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Anonymous

    FINALLY! Some wonderful, thoughtful responses! I continue to be awed by your honesty.

    Hitting nerves is so powerful. It means you’re talking about the real stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. As a child, if I ran away in a forest and had been found later, low blood sugar would’ve been the least of my worries… Just saying. I was thankful for your calm, considerate reaction to the whole event while reading your post. You made the right decision for you and for your son’s safety.

    I’ve thought, “Wow, what an awesome Mom” on more than one occasion while reading your blogs about baking gluten-free masterpieces or just plain being so involved in your kids’ lives overall. Keep doing your thing. Internet trolls are a dime a dozen, but the world needs more parents like you.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Laura_G

    As a longterm Type 1 and a new stepmom I love reading all your thoughts about parenting your future adult with Type 1. I just wanted to chime in (belatedly) and add my support for how well you’re handling this big question.

    It sounds to me like you were appropriately disciplining your sweetheart for how he dropped the ball–he’s a smart guy who is learning to check his Dex frequently while hiking, communicate with his people if he’s dropping, and make himself eat glucose before it’s too late…not punishing your hypo-deluded Pierre. This should make perfect sense to anyone who lives independently with Type 1 in the adult world, where consequences will act on us every time we fail to care for ourselves appropriately. There is no shelter from that reality–there’s no 504 plan in place when someone hires me, and no parent protects me when I’m out biking with my little kids or driving my car on the highway. And if I inconvenience or hurt someone because I screw up and drop too low to think straight, they’ll expect me to apologize and make amends just like anyone else would, and I will do so. Type 1 adults have to live among normal adults with our eye on the Dex or our meter at the ready and our glucose tabs in our pockets. It’s so unfair but so inescapably true. I think you struck a huge nerve–the kids will grow into adults with diabetes? they will leave home and still have Type 1 and we have to teach and prepare them? but I’m so glad you’re getting this out in the open. Please keep writing.

    (By the way, I’m the daughter of your church’s summer pianist. I keep hoping I’ll run into you on the sidewalk sometime so I can tell you I’m a huge fan of your writing :))

    Like

  20. Pingback: Just because….. | mum of type 1

  21. Carrie

    As a type 1 of 35 years, raising my own type 1 who is 9, I agree with what you did. My high and low blood sugars do not allow me to belt out inappropriate things (or just walk out of) my work meetings. It is a fine line to dance, but I don’t believe that accountability or teaching diabetic children appropriate ways to deal with lows will do anything but prepare them for the future. Not only are you a great mom, but a brave advocate. Carry on as our inspiration!

    Like

  22. Honestly Katy… I read the sweet life post which was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and I loved every word of it. I finished the story thinking. Hmmm… seems like a completely normal thing to do.
    Then started the backlash and I’m like.. WHAT is wrong with these people? then I wondered if there was something wrong with me for not thinking there was something wrong with your story. I just didn’t get the overwhelming freak out. What was the big deal? whatever. The way you dealt with it made complete and utter sense to me.

    Like

  23. I’ve read your blog off and on since I was diagnosed LADA (you weren’t LADA at the time I started reading Summer 2013). While I can’t claim to know you through your blog, I’ve enjoyed checking in. So what made me finally comment? A few reasons. 1. I realized since starting my own blog this summer that I really appreciate comments and so I vowed to start commenting more on the blogs I read. 2. I totally and completely understand your reply to one of the above comment about feeling like your LADA isn’t serious. I felt that way often in the first year. Just because you don’t have the crazy swings yet doesn’t mean that you

    Like

  24. Sorry about the above comment (I’m not sure how it posted as I was trying to write and revise and somehow hit post. Here is what I finally came up with :)…

    I totally and completely understand your reply one of the comments above about feeling like your LADA isn’t serious. I felt that way often in the first year. Just because you are able to have an easier time controlling your bg at this point doesn’t mean you don’t understand your son or any of those other nasty things people have said. You’re doing just fine.

    I am so completely grateful that my Mother never had to deal with my T1D (LADA). And especially grateful she didn’t/doesn’t have it herself. Also, having two teenagers and one preteen, the changes that they have to deal with in puberty are tough to parent without D in the mix. You’re doing just fine.

    People always get impassioned about parenting. I have come to realize the longer I parent that my ideas about how other people should parent become less definite. When I put myself in another parents shoes (i.e. yours in this case of your child just walking off), there is always that heart stopping sensation that comes with all of the what if’s. I honestly don’t know if I would have been that calm. Again, you’re doing just fine… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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