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Parenting Style affects Type 1 Diabetes Control in Children

A study revealed that parenting style plays an important role in improving glycemic control in children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes.

According to researchers from Diabetes Center of Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, there is a link between fathers who parent authoritatively and improved glycemic control in the children. Sense of helplessness in both par-ents on the other hand, was associ-ated with worse glycemic control and worse adherence to treatment among the children.

Researchers included parents and children/adolescents aged 11 to 18 years who had been living with Type 1 diabetes for at least 1 year. They examined the children’s glycemic control (based on their A1C values), their adherence to their diabetes treatment plan, their parents’ parenting style and sense of helplessness, and the demo-graphic information. Parenting styles were classified as authorita-tive, permissive and authoritarian.

Better treatment adherence and improved glycemic control in children were linked to higher authoritativeness of fathers, but not mothers. Researchers furthered that among mothers, a higher level of permissiveness was associated with poorer treatment adherence.

Meanwhile, authoritarian parenting style was not associated with either glycemic control or treatment adherence, but when the analysis was limited to boys, a higher level of maternal authoritarianism was associated with poorer treatment adherence. A sense of helplessness in both parents, on the other hand, was associated with worse glycemic control and worse adherence to the kids’ treatment.

Lead researcher Dr. Joseph Meyerovitch, of the Jesse Z and Sara Lea Shafer Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes, National Center for Childhood Diabetes, Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, said that “the findings may help health care providers and parents in determining appropriate parental involvement in the daily management of the kids’ diabetes needs.”

He added that “the association between paternal level of au-thoritativeness and diabetes control measures highlights the importance of fathers’ involvement in the kids’ diabetes management.” He noted, however, that their clinical experi-ence along with empirical evidence suggests that when compared to mothers, fathers tend to take too small a role in their children’s diabetes.

A book designed to help parents deal with additional complexities was published by the American Diabetes Association, as they recognize the challenges of raising children with diabetes. The guide addresses the emotional side of raising a child with diabetes, how to help a child maintain a busy schedule while remaining healthy and strong, negotiate with the twists and turns of being “different,”and accept both the physical and emotional challenges that life with diabetes has.

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