Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tiger Mother Approach

Have you read the article, Tiger Mother Approach For a Child with Type 1 Diabetes by Elizabeth Snouffer? 

Please click on the above link and take the time to read it before you read my post.  I would love to get your feedback on the article and what you think about being a Tiger Mother.  

No judgment here!  I never judge how any mom or person handles diabetes -- I find it interesting to hear how others handle things and prefer to learn from them rather than judge.   I know that there are others out there that are always fast to criticize so I hope those that choose to do so can at least keep it kind.

I've read the article several times since it was published and think it is a good read but very concerning.  I read a lot of PWD blogs and I see how a lot of them struggle with their eating and most of them admit that their eating issues stem from the way their parents handled their diabetes growing up.  I suppose I am blessed that I am raising Nate with better technology, better insulin and more support than Elizabeth’s parents had in 1975 or even in 1983. 

I do wonder how I would treat Nate’s diabetes if we were still living with the diabetes of 1975.
Would I be a Tiger Mother? – Yes, I think I probably would.

As a mother, I want nothing more than to see my son grow up and be as healthy and strong as possible.  I don’t often think of myself as a lucky when thinking about Nate’s T1 but I know that we are blessed with such better technology today.  I do not restrict Nate’s diet but instead we are working on living a healthy lifestyle and teaching all 3 of our children to eat a well rounded and balanced diet.  That being said my mom made banana cake last night and Nate and the girls all enjoyed a great big piece after a delicious and nutritious meal.   I want him to know that it is ok to enjoy food and I don’t want him to ever feel like he cannot have something.  Making choices is part of life --- making good choices is something I am hoping to instill in all 3 of my children. 

I worry now more about Nate’s mental health than I worry about his physical health with diabetes.  I am learning everyday how to manage his blood sugars, diet and exercise but how do I make him not be resentful of me, Jim, his sisters or his diabetes?  I honestly think that NOT being a Tiger Mother is how I accomplish that right now.  I want him to grow up not being restricted --- no restrictions due to diabetes (not just food)!  It took me a while to realize that I cannot so tightly control his diabetes that we both miss out on living life.  Let him eat cake I say! 

When Nate was diagnosed we took him out of his preschool class due to fear of the unknown.  He’s spent the past year and a half with me but I took the leap last week and signed him up for pre-school starting in the fall.  I am both excited and nervous at the same time.  I've held him so closely to me since his diagnosis that I do believe he has missed out on things that his sisters got to experience.  That stops now.  Ready or not world --- here comes Nate!!   


I am in an unusual situation with my son being on extremely minimal amounts of insulin and I'd like to extend that as long as we can. He is on board with that as well. He also was overweight at time of diagnosis, which is unusual for type 1. With keeping him on a set diet plan, he's been able to lose weight to where he should be and his blood sugars are more stable. If I would have let him eat whatever he wanted and gave him insulin for it, he would be more overweight and on the road to other health issues, including type 2 diabetes on top of type 1. My opinion is that sometimes it is necessary to take charge of our diets and that's not a bad thing. It's not healthy for anyone to eat junk and sugary foods all the time. To me, it's all in moderation. The nutritionist told me that it's ok to allow 3 sweet treats a week. I think that every other day is reasonable. Even last night, Andrew was able to have some cheesecake at his brother's birthday party. We didn't even have to add insulin because his numbers were ok.

It's a very fine line and everyone will raise their diabetic children differently. Is one more right than the other - I can't say since all kids are different physically and emotionally. I want to always be sure to keep open communication with my son so that he'll feel free to come to me at any time.

Cdejulius said...

I am happy to know that Nate will be attending pre-school in the fall. There is nothing that little guy cannot do . . . Am proud of this big step taken for you both!!

I know how nerve-racking the idea of preschool can be! Hope the transition goes well, and that you feel comfortable with his care plan. I'm sure he will have so much fun!

I'm glad he's going to PK, too!

I agree with you... I don't think I'm a Tiger Mother. I don't want Sweets to grow up with the cravings and rebellion that the author mentions - and more importantly - I don't want her to EVER feel that she can't talk to me about the emotional side of D.

I think NOT being a Tiger Mother is how to do it right now - for us. We're open. We talk about food - what's healthy and what is not. Sure - she eats treats. She gets dessert. But she also eats LOTS of fruit and veggies. Balance is the key for us. And being open with how we feel. I'm pretty open - at least on the blog! I think it's important for me to express my emotions and I think it's important for her, too!

It's a work in progress. It scares the HELL out of me... what's to come. But I'll believe that we'll be just fine!

Penny said...

I am so NOT the Tiger Mother. I want to raise a daughter with Type 1 who is emotionally, physically and mentally healthy. I weigh them all the same. What good is this control if it messes up their mind? Everything in moderation, everything. You want to eat that, we will figure out how. You should make god choices and I lead the way in making them myself. This tough approach detailed by the Tiger Mother, that has so much control and you know what kids do with goo much control? Rebel. Lots.

I really try hard not to judge, but I will just put this out there. It's somehow messed up to put this kind of pressure and control on a young child or even a teen, when we want THEM to be able to manage their illness/life eventually. You do that through modeling, guiding, listening, connections, openness, nothing to do with tiger-ness.

That being said, I don't know what it was like to raise a Type 1 kiddo in the 1970s. Maybe I would have been this mother. It's interesting to reflect on this times in which we are raising our kids.

For me, life is too short to be a tiger.

Sarah said...

Good for you! I think this is a mantra of mine "just do it" literally, with everything in regards to parenting both my boys - I find that usually it is my fears that are causing more issues than their abilities regardless of diabetes or not. So...have at it, enjoy life to the fullest, right?!
Thanks for sharing that article, pretty tough to swallow from my perspective as not only a parent of a CWD but also a wife of a PWD.

Sarah said...

You know, rereading the article - I think I may be a "Tiger Mother" but armed with better information, more up to date technology, facts that won't let misinformation run rampant...and a visual reminder in my husband that one high BG will not ruin an amazing future awaiting our children. Diabetes may have struck their little pancreas' but no matter what it will not alter their ability to dream and enjoy life to the fullest.

Pam said...

I' not a Tiger Mother. There are definately times when I say no to a particularly sugary treat - a blood sugar over 250 will do that. But I try to balance it out. "Not now, but how about after dinner, when your numbers are more in line.". As others have said, I too feel that emotional health is just as important as physical health. An emotionally strong person will be much better equipped to take charge of her health.

I agree. I am not a tiger mom either. Moderation, lets make it work or find a healthy and yummy subsitute. Denying him will not help but imo set him up for rebellion in the future.

Yay for Prek Nate!! He and you will do great!! Love u!

Valerie said...

Very interesting article! I think we definitely have to keep readjusting our attitudes and perceptions as time passes and we evolve. As a PWD, I know that it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet (diabetic or not!), but I also don't want to put absolutes or restrictions on it. I'm sure it's scary, but I think you are doing a great thing in signing him up for pre-school!

Unknown said...

WOOT for Nate and PK!!! I think that moderation for EVERYONE...type 1 or not is key. And, I think you did an amazing job in pointing out that you are trying to raise your children to make "healthy" choices. A "Tiger Mother" I am not!!! I think I am a "COW GIRL MOTHER" - WOOT!!!

I'm thankful we have the tools today to allow us to focus on our kids' mental health. I see that as a huge priority. I'm not sure people had that luxury years ago.

Leigh said...

We just signed Aiden up for a Kids Day Out to prepare both of us for him starting pre-k in the fall. It will just be 1 day a week and it scares the crap out me! I have been all over everyone's "school" tabs trying to get everything ready. I guess we will see on Monday!!

I still have a box of stuff for Nate. It has been sitting in my laundry room since before the snow(s) and I just can't seem to get it together (mentally, I mean. The box is literally together. Ha!) enough to get it sent! I will get there though!

Thanks for sharing the article. I need to share with Matt. I think he would totally be a Tiger Dad if it weren't for me saying "here, have a cookie!" Not really, but maybe like a Bear Cub Dad or something close to that. I don't know what is right, but I can see that Aiden is processing all of it and that worries me. Everything that is part of my learning process is having an effect on him and really don't want to screw him up! Ugh!!

:) Tracie said...

Yea for Preschool!

And a big high five for your courage to take that step!!! We may tend to over think and doubt...but going forward with the correct information for whatever it is, is a forward motion in the right direction!

Unknown said...


The interesting thing for me is that our situation is so vastly different than things were in the 70' I think I'm a Tiger Mom in other ways. Testing, for example...and micromanaging pump settings...and advocating for her safety at school...and learning how to manage insulins that peak sooner. I don't bend the rules for those things. Period. I am not flexible as far as that stuff goes.

So, I guess in that sense, I am a Tiger Mom.

But cake?


Meri said...

And the world is lucky to get Nate!! You can't lock up wonderfulness like him forever!

Back in the 70's we would have all been Tiger Mothers...that was the only option...on the carb side of it all...but emotionally, I hope we would have done a better job than shutting it all in. Our children need to talk freely about their emotions. We have to let them know there is an open invitation for discussion. They have a lot to cope with. It would be awful if our children thought they had to cope with all the emotions on their own!

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Just a Mom

I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog.

I AM a wife.
I AM the mom of 3 wonderful children.
I AM my son's pancreas.

The information provided on this blog is from our personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes. Because something works for us does not mean it will work for you.

Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health care options.

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