Bedwetting is the involuntary excretion of urine during sleep. Though the act is unconsciously done, the consciousness of its effect and aftermath which could be in form of shaming, punishment, cleaning and remedial efforts could spike a psychological and emotional stress in the child. From age 6 and above, children’s mental, emotional and social development is becoming more advanced. Those who bedwet may exhibit such behavioral traits as lying and other cover up tactics, anxiety, social withdrawal and reduction in self esteem. This would not only worsen the existing condition but could ultimately result in social and academic setbacks.
In lieu of this, it may not be enough that parents understand what bedwetting is, children too should have a proper understanding. The basic ideas to be understood by them includes;
Understanding its commonness
Children should be made to understand that they are not the only one who soil their beds before daybreak. In fact, it is better to explain bedwetting in terms of normal growing up. Everyone has his growing up to do and some children really grow some abilities faster than others even as this does not mean they’re better in all aspects of development. This revelation would help children ease up and suffer less from self guilt.
Understanding the factors
Many parents would not be so realistic as letting their children know that genetics could be playing a major role in their bedwetting experience. Also, bedwetting caused by existing medical conditions like diabetes or structural defects of a urinary organ should not be kept as a secret. These factors are often beyond the children’s control and keeping them ignorant of them would be unfair. An understanding of these factors could build a sense of trust, support and understanding between children and parents.
Understanding between siblings
A child may understand his bedwetting issues while striving to maintain control but his siblings’ jeers and shaming can do more psychological harm and thwart his efforts at self control. Parents should endeavor to show with their reactions to the bedwetting child and with explanations to the child who doesn’t wet his bed that his/her sibling is not lazy, dirty and that staying dry through the night does not mean being smarter, cleaner or better.
Let them know that bedwetting is not intentional. Showing love and support to children irrespective of their bedwetting issues encourages their siblings to act likewise.
Triggers and Causes
It is important that children understand that bedwetting doesn’t occur for no reason. Engaging kids in causative inquiries into lifestyle and habits that could be responsible for wet nights is a good way of offering help and inspiring their self determination at control.
It is not enough to warn them to stay away from caffeinated drinks, ban fluid intake close to bedtime or to beware of constipation. Helping them through explanations, to realize the effects and role of these in their wet night episodes go a long way in making them heeding and willing to cooperate.
Usually, except for bedwetting caused by medical problems, behavioral interventions like bladder training, limiting fluid intake at nights, wetness alarm and others should be the first course of treatment. Children who wet the bed should be informed about these solutions and their impacts. Being informed ensures children’s active participation in the course of treatment. More importantly, it makes them understand them as solutions and not punishments. It is easier to misunderstand fluid intake restriction as deprivation especially when a sibling is not treated likewise.
Clean up is vital
Younger children who can’t bath or clean themselves should not be forced to clean up. For children who are capable, it is not ideal to force them to clean up their mess every time, it is not also advised to always help them do the washing and cleaning. Don’t make them realize that they must bear the brunt of their acts or that you are always at hand to help. Instead, let them realize that clean up is the difference between messy and intact. Certain things to be understood as per clean up after a wet night includes;
- The necessity to change wet beddings and pajamas to prevent getting cold before dawn.
- Clothes soaked in urine should be washed ASAP. They should neither be joined with other dirty clothes in the laundry or be postponed for later washing.
- The importance of ventilation in sanitizing the stink of urine.
- Baths or shower at daybreak to wash off the reek of urine.
Understanding of Parental love and support.
Bedwetting, clean up and seeking solution is an added task to parenting routines. But, whatever the case, parents should maintain the love, care and understanding they have for the child. Feeling loved goes a long way in their psychological and emotional well-being.
Understanding that sickness can be cured
Everything has a solution; even sickness- induced bedwetting. It is a relieve to know this. Help them to understand the treatment options and the course. Before you realize it, the children would have outgrown the stage or conquered the sickness. Be with them throughout the process.