Monday, February 13, 2012

Risky Teens

The Beautifully Blossoming McFeeley Sisters

GUEST POST: Meet Pat McFeeley, one of the coolest dads with daddybetes and a dear friend. His twins are both Cassie's age and they have all grown up together being able to share their diabetes travails. Now as teenagers, our daughters are hitting us with ever changing challenges. Pat was kind enough to share a little insight that we may find useful.

I am the father of three amazing teenage daughters, including twin 15 year olds who have generally done a wonderful job of managing their Type I Diabetes.   Recently, I have been baffled by their “distractability”, the likelihood of not following through on what I would think would be automatic activities like testing blood sugars and delivering insulin (not a word but hopefully you get the point).  For a T1D the teenage years can be the most challenging,  often times HbA1C numbers become inflated to lifetime highs.  With all of the hormone changes that are taking place and growth spurts, the body can struggle to deal with blood sugars, not to mention the distractions of being a 15 year old year old young lady.  Lets face it sometimes Facebooking , Tweeting  or texting a friend, about the hot boy in their class, takes priority over taking insulin for a meal or a high blood sugar.

The general thought is that teenagers don’t appreciate the consequences of risky choices they make.  A good friend from JDRF, Tom Brobson, recently recommended an article that sheds some light on the teenage brain in regards to risk vs. reward.

Apparently, the teen brain does comprehend the consequences but values the reward much more than the adult mind.   As a teenage T1D, that might mean continuing that important conversation or activity with a friend rather than checking your blood sugar or delivering important insulin. It could also mean driving a car unaware of a low blood sugar.

The article is in the Oct. 2011 issue of National Geographic Magazine.  It is worth a read for any parent trying to figure out the teenage brain and how they make decisions.  It also discusses some interesting facts about the development of the brain during those years.

 Here's the link: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2011/10/teenage-brains/dobbs-text

1 comment:

bleedingfinger said...

Thanks for sharing! I have 2 daughters with Type 1, but they are 4 and 6. I hope to hear more of your stories in the future. Thanks again.

Tim Brand