July 27, 2007

Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference Session Notes

Talking to Your Teens - Natalie Bellini & Dr. Joe

It's Not Just a Numbers Game - Joe Solowiejczyk

I think these two sessions at the conference were outstanding. IMHO the whole of both was more than the sum of the individual sessions.

Natalie and Joe roll played the stereotypical fights between parents and teens over diabetes issues. It was like a “Best Of” compilation album sold by Time Life on late night TV. All the classic titles;

  • You Don’t Take This Seriously

  • Your Gonna Die!

  • What IS Your BG?

  • Did You Check

  • and the instrumental classic "Hover Over The Meter While They Check.

…. this and much much more. All your for just for just $19.95 plus shipping and handling…

Now their point, and this was a bit of a shock to me, wasn’t for us to brush up our arguing with our teen techniques. No their point was and is that as parents our stuff is our stuff and their stuff is there stuff. We love them. They love us. As parents we need to lead the family away from the classic fights and into sing another tune of parent teen communication. (can I beat this tune thing (drumb) any harder?)

Let the kids know you love them. Touch them. Tell them your fears as your fears knowing they may not share them. Oh and don’t hover over their shoulder while they test - Apparently it doesn’t make the meter read faster. (Who knew?!?)

…and more! Much Much More!

Joe is brilliant, wild and crazy.

It is worth the price of admission to the whole conference just to hear him explain what you should do if you expect your teen to come in and say, “Father, I have realized I need to step up and be more proactive in my diabetes care… and I will clean my room… and be nice to my kid sister.” The punch line is hysterical but in my book Joe should have a well earned copyright on his material so you will have to go to a conference to hear it, at the very least I am not giving it away. (I do wonder how well that bit translated to the folks from UAE.)

My take away from Joe was about actions, non-negotiable actions, in diabetes care. As parents we need to be consistent about boundaries. We don’t have to like diabetes. Our kids don’t have to like diabetes but just like dating (the dating analogy is also a fantastic piece of Joe’s coaching) or other household issues there are non negotiable actions like be home at midnight that have to happen or there are consequences. We can’t fall into the trap of feeling sorry about the diabetes that allows slack on the care non-negotiables.

Now I don’t mean to make Joe sound like a drill sergeant (but the though of Sgt Joe is a laugh, Sgt Pepper maybe...)He is as far from it as possible and there in lies the key to his message. I make a huge separation between serious and solemn. I think Joe is very serious about diabetes care and I am equally confident his isn’t often accused of being somber or solemn.

Now at first these two sessions seem very different, touch feely non argumentative dealing with teens vs. you don’t have to like it but you gotta do it non-negotiable Joe. The truth is they were both right on and both need to be part of the deal. Keep your junk, your junk, love the kids, be honest and firm on the non negotiable actions.

They are teens – keep in mind your own teen years and put into that the amazing responsibilities type 1 kids are faced with and be impressed.

I need regular reminding of the skills these things require. I think we do OK as a diabetic family but I figure some coaching is a good idea. I look at it this way, Tiger Woods has a swing coach so nobody is too good for some coaching.

Natalie and Joe are Animas team members. I have very high expectations and I can be as tough on Animas as any of Natalie and Dr. Bob’s teen arguments. But I can be taught so I have to say that I am please that Animas appreciates the need for and supports the non technical coaching that these folks do so well.

Yes Audrey you can quote me to me (and how about having them do there bits back here in Philly instead of everyone flying to Orlando? You have a nice meeting room there on the second floor in West Chester. ;))

No comments :

Post a Comment