Coping with Bedwetting

Coping with Bedwetting

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Updated on Sep 4, 2013

Any parent who has struggled through the challenge of reassuring a sobbing six-year-old after a nighttime accident can attest to the shame and sadness felt by a child in the throes of bedwetting. A child’s self-esteem takes a beating during this time, as they struggle with the experience of feeling powerless over their own body. How you talk with your child about bedwetting and how you react to nighttime accidents will greatly influence your child’s well-being over the situation. Here are some simple tips for keeping the tone positive and inspiring your child’s sense of control:

Get in a Positive Frame of Mind

It is important for your child to know that you are not disappointed angry, or embarrassed by their bedwetting. In order to communicate a compassionate and understanding vibe, you will have to get comfortable with your child’s bedwetting first. If you are embarrassed and ashamed by your child’s nighttime accidents, they will be affected by the incidents, too. Seek out support from your spouse, talk with your child’s teacher, or visit online community forums for advice. Once you feel comfortable with the topic, you will be much better able to help your child in a productive way, stay calm and matter-of-fact, and respond in a supportive manner when they have accidents.

Normalize Bedwetting for Your Child

About the time that most children begin mastering nighttime dryness, they also become increasingly more in tune to what their peers are up to. Social comparison becomes more and more important (peaking in the adolescent years) and the experience of wetting the bed at a later age can be devastating to a child’s self-esteem. Your child will most likely be comforted to know that an estimated five million children over the age of 5 struggle with bedwetting. It is a huge relief to know that they are not alone.

Share Your Own Experiences

If you or your partner have a history of bedwetting (wetting the bed tends to run in families), share your story and experiences with your child. How did you feel about wetting the bed as a child? Did you tell anyone? What did your parents do? And, how did you finally overcome nighttime wetness? Children are generally enthralled with stories about their parents as children, and this is a tale that will be particularly intriguing given that your experience serves as a reminder that their problem is not uncommon and it can be overcome.  

Start Scheming with Your Child

Children who are able to take control of an emotionally distressing problem tend to cope better than children who don’t have an opportunity to take action. Wetting the bed can cause children to feel out of control, so help them manage the situation by sitting down together and coming up with a plan. Do your research in advance on common bedwetting treatments and present the menu of options to your child. Make sure that your spouse is in synch with the plan and that the strategies developed with your child are reinforced by everyone in the household.

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