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diabetic bullying | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

Diabetic bullying is a serious threat for many kids and teens who are diabetic. Bullies like to pick on anyone who is visibly different. A diabetic kid is a clear target. Diabetes is a disease that is managed with epipens, CGM, eating proper foods, and missing out on certain class activities. Like all other bullying, diabetic bullying creates serious issues. These include mismanaging diabetes injections, increased anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

No one deserves to be bullied.

In our modern age, cyber bullying is a simple and easy way to hurt anyone who is perceived as different. Different doesn’t mean wrong or bad. Different is actually good, because it refreshes the stale, old mold and hopefully brings the next higher step in improving human nature. But some people see different as a threat to normal. Normal, which by the way, was probably new and threatening to an older generation.

When a child or young adult is diabetic, bullying can become a threat to the child’s health and safety.

Diabetic kids are a visible minority group. They can be overweight. They may have a visible insulin pump or a small CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) that’s worn throughout the day and night. Diabetic kids need shots and are often excused from classroom activities because of diabetes management. Bullies like visible targets because they justify bullying by saying the person is different, and thus is wrong.

A bullied diabetic child will often believe parts of what the bully says. Low self-esteem, health issues, and the search for self-identity already create personal chaos inside the child. Self talk at this point doesn’t need the negative and harmful bully. 

Just like any other person who is bullied, the diabetic child will develop anxiety issues, sleep problems, eating disturbances, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. But a diabetic child will also start mismanaging blood glucose levels. This can create serious health issues.

Diabetes is not contagious, weird, or wrong.

Many kids don’t understand what diabetes is, especially since there are two types. It’s important when dealing with diabetic bullying that one of the first things a parent or adult tries to do is explain diabetes. Teachers can help by explaining what diabetes is, and showing how to use epipens to classmates. 

Make sure your diabetic child understands what diabetes is. Many times a child or teen will say they understand a disease when they don’t. Also, a person can’t absorb everything at once, so information about diabetes may need to be explained again and again. It’s also important the child doesn’t believe it’s somehow their fault to be born diabetic.

Don’t stay silent about bullying.

Silence is the golden tool of a bully. So don’t stay silent when you or someone you know is bullied. Parents should be the hero of their child. Speak to teachers or school admins about the bullying. There are several great resources for parents and teachers to arm students against bullying. If your school doesn’t have these in place, be active in getting one set up.

Monitor your child’s social media accounts. Report any inappropriate language to either the social media site, schools and local law enforcement if needed, and limit your child’s activity on the site. Let parent-teacher groups know your child is being bullied. Gather peer support for your child so he/she doesn’t feel alone and isolated at school. Keep monitoring your child’s emotions, and if you notice anxiety or depression, don’t be afraid to get help.

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