Understanding His Situation
Q. My son was diagnosed with diabetes at age 4 and fairly quickly became self-sufficient in terms of watching his diet and taking his meds. He has always been very responsible, but since he's become a teenager he is more careless about his insulin and what he eats. The behavior is hurting him. Is this just part of adolescent rebellion? What should I do about it?
A. Once children become adolescents, the number of neurons in their brains increases tremendously, allowing them more brain power. With this increased mental ability, they seek to grasp more control of their lives. While the drive to use their increased mental ability is strong, their success is often limited because they lack experience and judgment. They're further jeopardized because they're determined cut ties with parents. They'd rather flounder than depend on Mom and Dad. Typically teens turn to and lean on peers and respected adults in order to gain wisdom and skills to operate independently from their parents.
Peers & Fears
In this situation with your son, he, like all teens, is pushing to take more control of his life. Yet because he's diabetic, he's doing so in a way that could jeopardize his health.
Your son is unfortunately using his diabetes to undermine your authority. Plus because his immediate peer group is likely not diabetic, he feels odd and alone as he faces this health issue that requires him to monitor his body 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He may not have a trusted adult separate from his parents who can guide him toward healthy care of his diabetic condition.