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Tips for co-parenting a child with diabetes

Jan 8, 2021 | Child Custody & Support

When a child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, parents/guardians play a significant role in the management of this disease. Tasks like checking blood sugar, keeping records, administering medication and so on take a great deal of coordination, especially when parents do not live together. Lack of attention or communication can create a dangerous environment for a diabetic child, or indeed for any child with a medical condition requiring ongoing care and attention. Here are some co-parenting tips for West Virginia parents who are raising a child diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes together.

In most co-parenting relationships, each parent carries the full responsibility for a child’s care when he or she is in their custody. However, when a child has diabetes, the “team roles” may have some added complexity. For example, parents may need to coordinate when the CGM graphs get updated, or who is responsible for doing so. A plan should also be in place with regard to keeping extended family updated on the management protocols; should the parent who attended the appointment share details with only their own parents, or with both sets of grandparents? Establishing roles and responsibilities can help to keep everyone on the same page, without having “too many cooks in the kitchen.”

Doctors who deal with juvenile diabetes are often very careful to understand a child’s “care team” and ensure all guardians are informed. While parental divorce or co-parenting plans might seem strange to mention to a doctor, it can be very helpful for them to know. Doctors may have helpful advice or systems that have been used by other co-parents managing diabetes, or they may simply be able to give more clear direction with a full understanding of the child’s day-to-day routine. Communication with every person involved in the child’s health, including between both parents, grandparents, and medical personnel, is critical.

It can be difficult for former partners to work together, especially on something as emotionally charged and serious as a child’s health. However, coming together in these moments is possible, especially with a clear legal framework and co-parenting agreement in place. Those who feel their child’s medical needs are not being met by the other parent, or who have other concerns about how the child custody and support situation may impact their child, should speak with a West Virginia family lawyer.