Siblings of children with diabetes

Pediatrician Jamie Wood, MD Clinical Diabestes, shares advice for parents with a child who has diabetes on parenting your other children so that your child with diabetes doesn't feel left out
Advice For Parenting Siblings Of A Child With Diabetes
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Siblings of children with diabetes

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The topic of how to raise a family when you have one child with diabetes and one or more children without diabetes is a topic that deserves a lot of attention. The child without diabetes naturally is pushed to the side a little bit. Not intentionally, but it is only natural because a child with diabetes is like a second job. It is a 24/7 job that takes a lot of the attention away from the other family members. We talk a lot about normalizing things for the other child, so they don't feel left out. An example of that would be, there are certain things children with diabetes should avoid eating. We have them explain that to the child by saying, "All children, in order to be healthy, shouldn't have candy and shouldn't have soda, and shouldn't have juice." So that the child with diabetes shouldn't have that, not just because they have diabetes, but because it is not healthy for anybody to have. The child with diabetes doesn't feel isolated and singled out by not being able to have those things and the child without diabetes also can't have those things. I tell parents that all of the children should eat the same way. The child with diabetes should not be given a special diet. They need to carbohydrates, but there shouldn't be an obvious difference between the two that will isolate both of the children. The child without diabetes often feels conflicted. They feel so sorry for their sibling that has diabetes. They don't want their sibling to have diabetes. They see how it makes them upset and makes their parents upset at times. But at the same time, in a way they can feel envious of their sibling who has diabetes because that sibling is getting more attention, especially at first. We talk a lot about normalizing and having parents pay particular attention to that, spend time with the other sibling so they don't feel neglected because all of the focus is on the child with diabetes.

Pediatrician Jamie Wood, MD Clinical Diabestes, shares advice for parents with a child who has diabetes on parenting your other children so that your child with diabetes doesn't feel left out

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Jamie R. Wood, MD

Pediatrician, Clinical Diabetes, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Dr. Jamie Wood was born and raised in Vermont, where she also attended medical school. She completed her pediatric residency at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and her endocrine fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard University. She moved to the Los Angeles area in 2008 and is now the Director of Clinical Diabetes Programs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Wood’s specialty is the care of youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes—a field she fell in love with during a medical student rotation at a summer camp for youth with diabetes.  She also enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, and playing with her husband and two children, Jackson and Olivia.

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