When a child wets the bed they worry. Children tend to become dry during the day more easily than at night. During the day they are awake and aware of their feelings and can go to the toilet normally.
However, at night, when they are asleep, the usual feelings of a full bladder aren’t sufficiently strong to wake them. The result is a wet bed. Or, young children have to continue wearing diapers at night.
Fairly soon they realise this is not normal. They wonder why they don’t need a diaper during the day, but do need one at night. They might also talk to siblings or friends and discover that they don’t need a night-time diaper. This will only compound their worries.
Throughout childhood, your son or daughter is trying to establish their identity; they are trying to find out who they are. They also want to make sure they ‘fit in’, that they are just like everyone else and that they are not abnormal. As soon as they discover that wetting the bed is not usual, they worry.
Your child might not say they are worried, but they will be. What this means is that you need to do everything you can to reduce the potential for concern. That means treating the bed wetting occasions as normal, no trouble.
Don’t make a big thing out of them. The more you make a fuss, the more the child thinks they are unusual, out of the ordinary. And when that happens, they are more likely to continue wetting the bed.
Also, it’s important not to punish the child. One survey found that 21% of all children who wet the bed are punished for doing so. But the child has no idea why the punishment is taking place.
They are doing something natural – urinating – and they can’t connect the punishment to any crime. This can lead to all sorts of difficulties for the child, including social ones. Punishment is also counterproductive, lengthening the time it takes to achieve night time dryness.
Instead of punishment, children who wet the bed need support, guidance and encouragement. Positive reinforcement of the good times – when they have a dry night – is much more likely to succeed in the long term.
The problem for most parents is that the best methods of dealing with bed wetting also take a long time. The child also gets frustrated at the delay in achieving a dry night. That’s whey encouragement and a positive home and attitude are essential in helping children come to terms with the difficulties they face.
The more you talk about bed wetting and make them feel abnormal, the worse the situation will become. The more you treat each bed wetting incident as a normal everyday occurrence, the quicker the dry nights will arrive.
Written by Graham Jones.