Teens, college, drinking and diabetes

I would be very impressed if by you and your children if you’re able to get them to wake up throughout nights in college to manage their sugars. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but may or may not be realistic. Speaking from experience, teenage/early college years are a time of really actually being independent in diabetes management; and when confronted with this independence, caring about diabetes can fall to the backburner… Of course, every kid and every family is different, but I wish I had had a conversation before going into high school/going off to college with 1. my endo and 2. my parents to establish expectations/common goals that were realistic and also establish who responsibility would fall on for what. I was left wishing I’d had these conversations retrospectively because we were on very different pages, leading to frustration and anxiety on all ends that could have been partially avoided.

This may be unorthodox…my parents practiced diabetes management while drinking with me while I was in high school. I’m happy to speak about that more but it made drinking less taboo and I was prepared going into those experiences when I was on my own, and this helped my parents fears, knowing that they’d prepared me to the best of their abilities.


and I say both endo and parents becuase during teenage years, some teenagers may really want freedom from parents. so maybe that can be found with conversations with endos

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I’m unorthodox and can see us doing this with Liam in a controlled environment as a way of “testing” things before him hitting reality.


My son will have to demonstrate an ability to manage himself and his sugar while consuming three drinks on more than one occasion prior to leaving for college. This is also applicable for my non-diabetic son. No way the first time you take multiple drinks should it be in an unfriendly situation where consequences are possible. I say three drinks because it is enough to understand what multiple drinks do to your perception but not so much that it really puts you in danger.

If they were under 120 lbs I would probably reduce that to 2.

Also, if you want to help them really understand things, start with a shot and a beer for drink one and two, then the booze really hits them and they understand that as well.

I should mention that this is a Senior in HS activity in my book.


Larissa, we drink wine with dinner every day, and we let our T1D son have small amounts of wine and beer with us as well. We figure the same thing as your parents: if it’s forbidden it’s attractive.


And I don’t mean to scare any parents by saying this, but drinking (and heavy drinking) can start before college too. That’s dependent on the kid, the area you live in, and the kid’s friends they run with. But just something to have on the radar IMO


That is really a great idea. I should have thought of that when my first son went to college. I am keeping it in my back pocket until my T1D son is in his senior year!

I hope I am invited.


For you it will be more than three drinks.

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Agree x100! I learned on my own on my 21st. Not a good or safe experience.

I have since been the one to have a “what you need to know about alcohol” conversation with all of my younger cousins. My whole family is pretty much dry aside from a few exceptions. Once they found out how my 21st went, they were more onboard with those conversations taking place.

A lot of kids I knew started drinking in middle school, just FYI.


Ooo this is such an exciting thread for me!!!

On this topic (I’m sure someone has shared before), but I found this site/network AFTER graduating from college and really really wished I had found it BEFORE going to college/applying:

It has meetups at some campuses, I think different guidance on living with a roommate as a T1d, having a significant other as a T1D, drinking as a T1D, scholarships, ect


Larissa, what a GREAT link!

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I ended up in the hospital on my 21st from DKA. Not a joking matter but I laugh now because it was unrelated to drinking and related to my site pulling out and me not having supplies to replace it


@Michel I totally agree and I think parents should read it to to get some framework and perspective! You all sound like cool enough parents though

Probably not what my sons would say :slight_smile:


Since the topic has been brought up, what ideas for “learning criteria” would you partake in during these sessions with your child? What lessons or things would you want to take out of drinking with your child…just drinking with them isn’t going to be much help without specific goals or lessons you have in mind to take out of the test.

@ClaudnDaye, specific to T1D or in general?

Just in general, but also specific for D-drinkers

For general drinking, a basic understanding of tolerance, hydration, eating to help absorb it, mixing different kinds of drinks in your system, designated drivers, buddy for keeping an eye on the super drunk overnight, not drinking every drink people buy for you on your 21st, not drinking anything handed to you where you didn’t see the source.

That’s what I cover with my cousins. I give them my horrible example of drinking every drink bought for me on my 21st bc I didn’t know any better. I was dropped off at my apartment alone afterward. I’m lucky to be alive (vomiting in my sleep on my back).

Horrible example is a powerful educator. I wasn’t T1D yet.


We have a pretty reasonable curriculum while drinking, i.e. in our house this is the time for talks to understand my kids perceptions around drugs and alcohol. It helps that the fluid being consumed lubricates the discussions, but that is just a fortunate side effect.

Drinking to excess, why control is important
If you want to drink to excess things to do to make that activity safer
Why consent for sexual activity needs to be given prior to any drinking occurring
Play a driving video game at the height of the booze hitting to show how much worse your motor skills are.

Others will come to mind.