The 48 Hour Rule
Parenting a Type 1 Diabetic Teen

Raising two teens has taught me a little secret rule. It’s simple. 48 hours! The 48 Hour Rule can be a very useful tool when parenting a Type 1 Diabetic teen. How do I know this? Because I have implemented this rule for both my teens, including the one without diabetes.

Parenting a child with diabetes is challenging. Add in teen hormones, independence seeking behavior and self-management trials and any chance of remaining sane is over. You will constantly be asking yourself “Do I parent the teen?” OR “Do I parent the teen with diabetes?”

Tristan Edgar is living now with Type 1 Diabetes


Tristan & Bella Edgar.

has been
living with
Type 1 Diabetes
since age 12.


Working alongside Brandon Green, I get to hear his “Coach’s Perspective” often. If you have a child athlete, you have probably heard this by now. “Don’t complain to the coach for 48 hours following a game.. blah blah blah…” Obviously, it’s meant to allow for a cooling off period and 48 hours can give you a completely different perspective.


Anne Imber & Brandon Green. 

Anne speaks on parenting 
issues with Type 1 Diabetes. 

As a Type 1, Brandon shares
his experience playing football 
in the NFL. He speaks on 
playing sports with Type 1 Diabetes.

The 48 Hour Rule can apply to
coaching & parenting. 

Anne Imber & Brandon Green from Type 1 To Go

The “Coach’s 48 Hour Rule” can translate effectively for parenting too.  I had a couple of goals raising a son with T1D 1) Keep him alive 2) Coach him towards independence 3) Maintain a “loving” relationship. Goals #1 & #2 could be quite daunting at times but #3 was important to me too!

Why? Because we still needed to be not only a team, but a family even after our son became an adult at 18. He is 500 miles away at college now, and we are still very much a part of his care team. The coaching continues with him just with a lot more independence.

How does the 48 hour rule work when parenting a T1D teen? A good example is when those very emotional high and low BG levels hit. Waiting for 48 hours to discuss the “Why’s?” and “How to prevent it next time”  allows for a more rational and beneficial discussion, away from the emotion and blame period. And that’s what helps you accomplish #3 – Maintaining a loving relationship.

“Safety should always be a priority!”

Of course, it is imperative to resolve immediate issues regarding BG levels. Safety is always the first priority. It’s just better to manage the “coaching” side of things at a later date. My biggest regret looking back on Tristan’s teen years was not recognizing how totally wiped out he would be after an incident. These BG battles would totally exhaust him for a full day after.

The 48 hour rule prevented me from parenting from a “fear perspective” and meant the discussion happened when he felt better too. We both were in a better place to start a dialogue -what we learned to call T1D Teachable moments. After all, our #2 goal was to coach him to independence. Although you don’t wish for this, a DKA or hypoglycemic episode could provide some great teaching moments. You can read more about T1D Teachable moments here.

So there are actually many similarities between parenting a person with diabetes and coaching. Some of the same rules can apply. And they work on non-T1Ds too. Especially if it’s your teen daughter. Yes, I have a boy AND a girl.  

My daughter is the happiest child on earth except when she is 1) hungry 2) tired 3) hormonal.

I can help her fix being hungry and tired but that hormone thing?!

Well the 48 hour rule comes in handy there too. On the surface she may appear to be upset about some inconsequential issue.

If I dive right in, I may inadvertently become part of the “issue”…

Anne Imber blogs about raising teens with Type 1 Diabetes

I actually have this “stoic MOM face” that I use with her when she gets hormonal. She hates it… she tries to engage me…but I hold firm with my 48 hour rule. I smile timidly and back away quietly.

Usually 48 hours later I discover I have saved myself a lot of wasted energy and possibly some hurt feelings. Mission accomplished – maintained the “loving” relationship (and my sanity)!

The 48 hour rule is worth a try with or without diabetes. It just happens to work really well whether you are coaching a teen with diabetes to independence OR raising a teenage daughter!

My older sister always reminds me if we don’t kill our kids when they are teenagers then God gives us grandchildren…who hopefully act just like their parents did!

Written by Anne Imber
published on 10/24/2017 on 

Anne Imber is the mom to a Type 1 Diabetic son diagnosed in 2009. As the Founder of Type 1 To Go Teen, Anne shares her experiences with other Type 1 families regarding many of the non-medical issues that Type 1 Diabetic Teens face. The website provides support materials from her presentations. Anne is also the Co-Founder of Cy Fair Type One Connection, a T1 School Advocacy & Support Group for one of the largest school districts in Texas.

Tristan Edgar has agreed to let his mom share their stories about raising a Type 1 Diabetic Teen. The family hopes their experiences can benefit other families living with diabetes.

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