Bedwetting Support for Children and Their Parents
Dr. Wolffe Nadoolman, Pediatrician
When kids are toddlers, bedwetting is an expected part of growing up. However post-toddler age, there are a large number of children who still wet the bed; and I'm guessing your child falls in the category. School-age children often feel isolated and have lower self-esteem because of their bedwetting. Not only is it embarrassing for them, but there's much less talk among parents when it comes to bedwetting as children grow older.
But, just like parenting toddlers, it's natural for you to seek out advice and guidance. Help and advice is available everywhere. Parenting books, friends, relatives, and your parents will all have experiences to share and below are a few points of advice to consider:
- Your child comes first – Since most kids eventually outgrow their bedwetting, the single most helpful thing you can do for them is to be supportive. Help them understand that it's not their fault. As your child gets old, they may feel embarrassed about their bedwetting, so it's important to offer love and unconditional care.
- Respect their privacy – When the child is very young, it's natural to chat about her toilet-training or bedwetting with your friends and relatives. For your 11-year-old, however, it is crucial to show him that your discretion can be trusted. Refrain from bringing it up to a parent of one of the child's classmates or friends. Even if they are close to their siblings, serious discussions about bedwetting should take place without siblings participating or listening. Older kids and teenagers will appreciate it if you speak to them about it privately.
- Use the internet as a resource (but don't trust everything you read) – As your child gets older, it's less likely that your friends will have had this experience with their children. At the same time, it's more socially difficult and isolating for the child. The internet has a very wide reach, and there are a lot of parents dealing with bedwetting so it's a good way of connecting with others who face the same issues. Anonymity is an advantage of the internet, but know that bedwetting is nothing to be ashamed of. And of course, I offer this advice with a caveat. It won't come as much of a surprise that information on the internet can vary enormously in credibility. Make sure you're using resources with credible sources like doctors and experts.
- Involve your child – It's important to involve your child in any decisions made regarding bedwetting. If you decide to start waking him or her up at night, talk through that decision so they understand how it can help. Ask if they'd be willing to a new technique or product. If you child is older, I have found it helpful and empowering for them to seek out advice and bring it to you. Offer them the choice of nighttime protection, be it absorbent underwear or new GoodNites Bed Mats. Send them to the GoodNites website, and let them research and come back to you with ideas.