Diabetes and teens

Photo of asparagus

Teens have special challenges in managing their diabetes. They may feel that having diabetes makes them different from others. Some teens get teased for having diabetes or for being overweight. Don’t let diabetes stop your teen from participating in school activities. Remind them that they can do everything their friends can do.

Encourage your teen to talk with friends and to tell them about diabetes. Help them to choose good friends that help and support them. Learn about camps and support groups for teens with diabetes, where they can meet others who feel the way they do. Ask your doctor for resources to help your teen cope with diabetes. 

It’s important for teens to take charge of their health:

  • Your teen can set goals, starting small and working up. For example: “I will cut down on regular soda and drink water instead.” When that’s going well, add another goal — “I will dance or bike ride a couple of times a week.” Then add a new goal — “I will check my blood glucose levels more consistently” or "I will more accurately dose insulin for my carbohydrate intake." Encourage your teen to choose goals that are not too hard to meet. For example, rather than never eating a candy bar, only eat 1 a week.
  • Join your teen in his or her goals. You can be healthy and active together.
  • Encourage your teen to keep regular doctor’s appointments and to let the doctor know how they are doing.
  • Watch out for signs of depression which can include too little or too much sleep, change in appetite, loss of interest in things your teen normally enjoys, and feelings of hopelessness.  Call your child’s doctor if you are concerned about depression.

Reviewed by: Joshua May, MD, February 2019

© 2019 Kaiser Permanente

Take action

Managing your care

Use our online services to stay connected. E-mail your doctor, view test results, refill prescriptions, and more.