Talking About Bedwetting: What Every Parent Should Know
Dawn Meehan, Mother and Blogger
Remember playing games as a kid? Sometimes you wouldn’t do so well – you’d insist that you simply weren’t ready and ask for a do-over. As a parent, I’ve often wished I could have a do-over. This parenting gig can be tough! There aren’t classes on how to act nonchalant when your teenager is learning to drive and nearly takes out a mailbox. There is no manual on how to deal with your toddler writing, “I Love Mama” on the wall in permanent marker. And how to best handle bedwetting is probably not something that crosses your mind when you see that pink line on the pregnancy test.
I’ve dealt with my share of children’s bedwetting – six pink lines later. And, over the years, I’ve learned the best (and worst) ways to handle these nighttime accidents. In sharing these tips, I hope that you will feel much better prepared for this sensitive issue.
First, though, I’ll share my mistakes. I remember getting upset with my oldest child about his bedwetting accidents because I thought he was doing it on purpose. Or maybe not so much doing it on purpose, but I definitely believed it was the result of laziness on his part and he could stop if he really wanted to. But, of course, I was wrong. Several years went by with me getting upset at him, him feeling ashamed, and the bedwetting became a huge frustration for both of us, and it certainly wasn’t easy to talk about.
Luckily, I had many chances to correct my mistakes with my other five children. Here’s what I learned:
- Let your child know that he or she didn’t do anything wrong: The most important thing to know about bedwetting is that it isn’t your child’s fault, and your child needs to know that you’re not disappointed in him or her. Bedwetting is almost always rooted by physical causes, like an immature bladder or deep sleeping. For many kids, it just takes their bodies a little longer to mature.
- Gently tell your child that it’s just a matter of growing up: Be patient and know that this too shall pass. Bedwetting is a temporary situation that your child will grow out of when his or her body is ready. Ninety-nine percent of all children stop wetting the bed by the age of 15 (and most stop well before then).
- Make sure your child knows that it’s not a big deal: The more upset you are, the more upset your child will become when he or she has a bedwetting accident. Stay calm and try experimenting with some different solutions like offering absorbent, disposable underwear like GoodNites for bedtime or offering to wake your child up before you go to bed for a bathroom break. Try using a calendar as a visual to show how many more nights your child is dry than wet, this will shift the focus to dry nights.
The most important thing you can do as a parent is to make sure your children know you love them and that you’ll work together to solve their nighttime accidents. In this parenting game, there aren’t many chances for do-overs – being as informed as possible will help your child stay strong and happy throughout these sensitive situations.
For more ideas, check out this article about strategies to maintaining self-esteem that parents can share with their child.