How to talk to your child about bedwetting
Your child is struggling with bedwetting. You can tell he’s feeling awkward and embarrassed about the situation and you’re eager to do anything you can to help. According to Washington, DC, pediatrician Dr. Howard Bennett, one powerful thing you can do as the parent of a child who is experiencing bedwetting is to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with your child. Here’s his best advice on what to say and why.Bedwetting is a very common experience
Your child might feel like he’s the only kid his age who’s still wetting the bed, but that’s definitely not the case. He needs to know that a lot of kids his age are struggling with the very same problem. In fact, according to Bennett, roughly five million American kids over the age of six wet the bed on a regular basis. That’s a lot of kids—enough kids to fill 100 baseball stadiums, in fact!Bedwetting is not your fault
Your child needs to understand that bedwetting is not his fault—that he shouldn’t blame himself for wetting the bed and that you don’t blame him either. He also needs to hear that he doesn’t have to worry about being punished for wetting the bed—that you understand that bedwetting is a problem that’s beyond his control. He may find it reassuring to learn some basic facts about bedwetting—a simple explanation that might sound something like this:
"We’re not quite sure exactly why bedwetting happens, but we know one thing for sure: it’s not your fault. It could be that your brain needs a bit more practice communicating with your bladder in the middle of the night. Or, it could be the fact that bedwetting tends to run in families. Three out of four kids who wet the bed have a parent or other relative who had the same problem when they were a kid!"
TIP: If you and/or your child’s other parent struggled with bedwetting when you were growing up, be sure to let your child know. According to Bennett, your child will be relieved to know that you understand just how discouraging and embarrassing bedwetting can be because you’ve experienced it, tooMost kids outgrow it
Your child also needs to know that bedwetting is a problem that most kids outgrow. While bedwetting is a problem for 12 percent of six-year olds, just 1 percent of 15 year-olds continue to struggle with bedwetting.
The good news, according to Bennett, is that there’s plenty you can do to help him manage the problem in the meantime: by using GoodNites to help him to feel confident and protected through the night and by talking to his pediatrician about other strategies for managing bedwetting.
"Bedwetting can be stressful on parents and children, but it doesn't need to be," says Bennett. "Bedwetting isn't anybody's fault. No one wets the bed on purpose."