Bedwetting simply refers to the uncontrollable passing of urine during sleep. It is unintentional, common in children and manageable. If your child is wetting the bed, it’s likely he is experiencing a minor developmental delay that affects his ability to hold in urine at night. Even though it can be annoying to deal with the aftermath of bedwetting, it’s important to remember that bedwetting is stressful, embarrassing and inconvenient for your child, too.
Dr Michael Mol, brand ambassador for DryNites Pyjama Pants says the following are seven common mistakes parents make when dealing with a bedwetting child.
Waking your child in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit
It is common practice for parents to wake their children in the middle of the night and encourage them to use the bathroom in an effort to prevent bedwetting. This is often referred to as “lifting” and can seem like a good strategy if it helps keep the sheets dry.
The reality is that this will not improve your child’s bladder control and could frustrate him, especially if he doesn’t need to urinate when you wake him. If your child is over five years of age, it may also cause him to feel that he has little control over the situation.
Punishing your child
Remember that your child has no control over the situation and probably feels bad enough about it as it is. Being punished for something he can’t help will only cause a decrease in self-esteem and an increase in stress.
Limiting fluids before bedtime
A child who doesn’t wet the bed will not suddenly start wetting the bed if they’ve had too much to drink – they’ll simply wake up and use the toilet. Limiting your child’s intake of sugary or caffeinated drinks a couple of hours before bed is recommended. However, always allow water, as being dehydrated can actually make things worse.
Thinking that your child is not properly toilet trained
If your child wets the bed, it doesn’t mean that he hasn’tt been properly toilet trained. Urine control during the day is completely different from what goes on when your child is sleeping. In most cases, it will right itself in time and is nothing to worry about.
Never blame yourself or think that you didn’t finish the job properly when you were taking your child through the toilet training phase. Your child could be going to the toilet perfectly during his waking hours, but it’s nobody’s fault if he wets the bed while he’s asleep.
Blaming your child for being lazy
Blaming your child will only exacerbate the problem. There are a number of reasons why your child may be wetting the bed.
Ignoring the problem
Some parents completely ignore the issue, hoping it will just go away. The problem with this technique is that parents are ignoring the amount of stress or embarrassment this puts on the child. This could lead to extra months, or even years, of fear of having a slumber party with friends or not being able to go to sleep-away camp because he doesn’t want anyone to know he wets the bed. A child that experiences bedwetting needs support and understanding from his parents. When parents ignore the problem, the child will only feel that there is no one to turn to.
Sometimes, a younger sibling is already dry. Obviously, an older child suffering from bedwetting feels embarrassed, jealous and even shameful about the situation. Don’t compare siblings. Parents assume that if the five-year-old younger sibling has already outgrown bedwetting, it means that the eight-year-old is wetting the bed on purpose. The older child is accused of being lazy or apathetic. This attitude adds a great deal of pressure and will aggravate the problem.
Bedwetting is not linked to the way in which parents have raised their child and, more importantly, it is not the child’s fault. Children are not conscious when bedwetting occurs, which means that they are naturally unaware and not in control of their bladders at this time. The best thing a parent can do for a child that experiences bedwetting is to not make this too big of a deal when it happens and reassure the child that it was just an accident.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.