Editor's Note: This is a response from Ann Bartlett's mother on her decision to go abroad as a teen with diabetes. Read Ann's account on traveling with diabetes.
Yes, my daughter has it just right -- I was scared to death!
I immediately thought of all of the dangers she might face; "throw-ups", forgetting a shot now and then, nasty colds, lack of enough sleep, running out of her insulin, nobody to check on her to remind her of her responsibilities, Lordy! It was scary!
And on top of that she wrote only two or three letters during that year and an occasional telephone call.
I knew, however, without a doubt, that Ann needed to grow into a responsible young woman, even though still only in her late teens. To do that she had to recognize and be willing to accept that she had a heavy responsibility to take care of herself, no one to remind her when and which foods were appropriate, colds that create problems, adequate sleep, and on and on! But I knew that it had to happen. I would be a selfish mother, who was more concerned for my own peace of mind rather than allowing my daughter to risk and to learn.
We both survived and both grew.
Mom learning that letting go of control is the best way to help a child develop confidence in taking on difficult responsibilities and, at the same time, the child gains experience and trust in his/her self.
When Ann finally returned home, she was so proud that she had managed her life on her own. It was then that she knew she wanted to become a massage therapist. She immediately organized herself to follow through and today has more than 20 years of experience in a profession that she loves.
Read more about teens with diabetes.
Published On: February 18, 2008