Family members are a potential resource to support DM self-management, but how children are involved in their parents’ T1DM has not been well explored. The purpose of this study was to examine parents’ perceptions of the role children play in their DM care. Young, middle-age, and older adults with T1DM (n=85) and their romantic partners (n=55) participated in interviews during which they described their children’s knowledge and involvement in DM care. Interviews were transcribed and responses coded. All parents reported that children knew of their DM, which they learned about progressively from a young age, first being aware of blood glucose (BG) checks and devices. Some parents felt that children, particularly younger ones, detracted from DM management on occasion (e.g., nursing infant, caring for busy toddler), but this was usually expected and considered transient. Conversely, parents reported children to be accepting and understanding of the ways that DM affected their family experiences (e.g., pause to check and/or treat low BG), while also taking on a level of responsibility or concern (e.g., carrying a snack for treatment, worry about driving). Regardless of child age, many parents did not want DM to burden children and limited their involvement in DM care. When asked about DM-related behaviors, parents rated “making parent feel better about DM” as the most frequently occurring behavior. Only 3% of parents who used continuous glucose monitors and/or insulin pumps (n=60) said that children received notifications. Almost 40% of parents (n=33) expressed concern that children would develop DM. Parents, and more so partners, requested resources to enhance child awareness and preparedness to support parents with DM as well as ways to learn how to better communicate as a family and share perspectives on how DM affects individual family members. Diabetes educators should consider developmentally and relationally appropriate ways to engage children of parents with T1DM in education and self-management.
J. Krall: None. V. Helgeson: None. M. Van Vleet: None. E. Lee: None. M. Simms: None. M.T. Korytkowski: Advisory Panel; Self; Novo Nordisk Inc.. Other Relationship; Self; JAEB Center For Health Research. C. Berg: None.