Authoritative parenting styles may promote optimal diabetes management in kids with type 1 diabetes

Parents may be as overwhelmed as their children when their offspring are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

However, despite concerns over their children's health, adults may be able to promote proper diabetes management by practicing certain styles of parenting.

A recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care indicated that children with type 1 diabetes who have authoritative parents are more likely to have good control of their blood sugar levels, compared to those with authoritarian or permissive parents.

The researchers explained that authoritative adults use coercion or harsh punishments to guide their children's behavior, while those who are authoritarian set clear limits, but do not utilize coercion to enforce rules. Parents who are permissive typically do not make significant efforts to control kids' actions.

Investigators evaluated a group of adolescents between the ages of 11 and 18 based on their HbA1c scores, which account for their average blood glucose levels over the previous three months. Additionally, both mothers and fathers were classified based on their parenting styles.

The study's results showed that kids with authoritative fathers were the most likely to have optimal control of their blood sugar levels, and these children also had better adherence to their diabetes treatment regimen. Furthermore, having authoritarian or permissive mothers was associated with poor diabetes management in the youngsters.

"The findings may help healthcare providers and parents in determining appropriate parental involvement in the daily management of children and adolescents' diabetes needs," said lead researcher Joseph Meyerovitch, MD.

Although fathers tend to be less involved in diabetes management than mothers, the study's results indicate that their role may be key to helping kids maintain healthy blood sugar levels and stick to their diabetes medications, the investigators added.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that instead of focusing on the complications that can occur when children do not take care of their type 1 diabetes, parents can encourage healthy behaviors by explaining that proper diabetes management will allow kids to engage in all of their favorite activities.