Lessen the Burden That Nighttime Wetting Places on Your FamilyBethany Kandel
Oops, he did it again! Wetting the bed, that is. It’s nothing to feel embarrassed about – some children simply have nocturnal enuresis (the medical term for bedwetting) and have a hard time staying dry at night. In fact, it affects about 5 million children in the United States. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Bedwetting can disrupt the sleep of everyone in the household and even affect your child’s self-esteem.
But do not fear; experts say most children grow out of it. “I have been a pediatrician for 30 years and I hear it all the time -- parents feel like their child is the only one still wetting the bed,” says Dr. Howard Bennett, pediatrician and author of “Waking Up Dry” and “The Case of the Wet Bed.”
“The fact is, as many as one in six kids ages 4-12 experience bedwetting. It happens because the bladder and brain just aren’t communicating properly yet, and in most children it will resolve itself naturally.” In the meantime, he says, there are ways to deal with the condition so children don’t feel they are doing something wrong.
Dr. Bennett suggests that parents offer support and clean up without any blame to avoid further embarrassment. “It’s important to offer your children compassion and let them know it’s not their fault. Children shouldn’t feel they are being punished for wetting the bed. They need support, rest and time. When parents put pressure on themselves and their children, it just amplifies a stressful situation.” Remind your child that lots of kids have the same problem, and it can run in families. Seventy-five percent of children who wet the bed have at least one parent or close relative who experienced nighttime wetting as a child. If you were a bedwetter, talk to your child about it. Explain how you felt and how you got over it so your child will feel less self-conscious.
Here are some tips to help children feel more comfortable:
- Encourage open conversations among your family about bedwetting. Bringing it out in the open can make it less of a big deal with his or her siblings since secrets can foster shameful feelings. Of course, make sure you talk to bedwetting children about this first so they don’t feel embarrassed.
- Know the facts about bedwetting, and share them with the rest of the family. Explain that children do not wet the bed on purpose and that it is not something they can control. Help your other kids understand – this is a physical issue, and their sibling is not being lazy or babyish.
- If there is a family history of bedwetting, talk about it. By finding out other family members wet the bed, children often feel less embarrassed.
- It’s true that 5 million kids wet the bed, but this is such a large number that it can be tough for kids to understand. Explain it a different way – if you lined up 5 million elephants end to end, they would stretch all the way around the world! That’s how many children wet their beds.
- Maintain a low-key attitude when the bed is wet and make cleaning up a matter-of-fact routine. Avoid showing anger and frustration. Your children will pick up on your tone, so make sure there is no blame or bad feelings about the situation.
- Do what you can to help children feel empowered and in control. Ask them to get ready for bed themselves, put on their GoodNites, and help clean up in the morning.
- Make a family rule that there will be no taunting or teasing about bedwetting. Discourage your other children from announcing, “Billy wet the bed again.”
For more information and helpful solutions and support, check out: https://www.goodnites.com/bedwetting.