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Advice for Parents

Social Acceptance as It Relates to Bedwetting

Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg

Last night, I was thrilled to find out my 7-year-old daughter was anxiously awaiting bedtime, so the tooth fairy could come and replace the tooth under her pillow with a small token gift. She was even a bit concerned that it was Mother's Day and that the tooth fairy may be on vacation. I assured her wholeheartedly that there were substitute fairies just like substitute teachers at school.

To the chagrin of most parents, (including me) our kids grow up rather quickly. In a blink of an eye, they are entering the mid-childhood years, where they begin to compare themselves to their peers and become much more self-critical. Social acceptance plays a major role in developing and maintaining self-esteem — kids just want to fit in.

To them, that may mean wearing the same clothes, having the same toys or even participating in the same after school activities as their friends. But as parents, it's our role to support our children when they feel "different" and to teach them to embrace their individuality. In my daughter's case, nighttime anxiety over the tooth fairy was easily remedied. However, other nighttime issues, such as night terrors or bedwetting (also known as nighttime wetting), may be a bit more challenging to tackle.

It's important to be compassionate when talking with your child about nighttime wetting because they probably feel like they're the only child at school who still wets the bed. To help them feel less self-conscious, make sure they have the facts. Let them know they're not alone — 5 to 7 million children in the U.S. age 6 and over still sometimes wet the bed. Relate to them by sharing your experience as a kid — it's more common in heavy sleepers, and if a parent wet the bed as a child, it is more likely that their child will have nighttime accidents too.

Remember effective communication is a two-way street, so listen closely to what your child tells you and validate their concerns and feelings. It's important to let kids know that most children outgrow nighttime wetting over time. Assure your child that you are not angry, disappointed or embarrassed by their nighttime wetting and implement strategies to help them cope until they outgrow it. Most importantly, let them know that nighttime wetting doesn't have to get in the way of their social life; they can still have fun at sleepovers, overnight camp and on family vacations. Make sure that your child uses the bathroom before bedtime and use underwear that offers discreet protection, such as GoodNites® NightTime Underwear or GoodNites* TRU-FIT*.

These simple gestures, in addition to your support, will help improve your child's self-esteem and build confidence by giving them a sense of control over an unpreventable situation.



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