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Bedwetting and Your Child's Self Esteem

Wondering what you can do to prevent bedwetting from affecting your child's self-esteem? Here are some practical ways to provide your child with comfort, support, and reassurance on the journey to dryness:

Ensure that sure your child understands that bedwetting is not something they should feel embarrassed or ashamed about. Bedwetting is about biology, not behaviour. Tell your child you know it's not their fault and let them know that many children go through the same thing.  It’s important to be supportive and to let your child know that they are not alone.

Explain bedwetting to your child in a way that they can understand. You might use an analogy like this one to explain why bedwetting happens and why most kids eventually grow out of it:
Your bladder is like a water balloon. When the balloon is full of pee and ready to be emptied, it sends a message to your brain telling you to go to the bathroom.  At that point, your brain has to make an important decision: either to tell the muscles to hold your bladder closed until morning or to wake you up so that you can get out of bed and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Sometimes the message doesn’t get delivered and that’s how your bed gets wet. 
Let your child know that it isn’t a problem and that it will sort itself out in time.

Respect your child's privacy when it comes to the bedwetting issue. Try to avoid discussing wet laundry and related issues in front of siblings and other relatives; and insist that other family members treat the bedwetting issue with similar sensitivity and discretion.

Avoid techniques that attempt to reward or punish a child for dry or wet nights. Such techniques are hugely unfair and since bedwetting is about biology and not behaviour, they are likely to backfire by stressing out your child. It is difficult to convince a child that a wet night is nothing to be ashamed of when dry nights are rewarded. The failure to achieve rewards for dry nights can contribute to poor self-esteem. The goal should be to reduce frustration and conflict and to treat bedwetting as being no big deal.

Ensure that your child is getting adequate rest. An overly tired child is more likely to wet the bed because their sleep patterns differ from those of a reasonably well-rested child.  Furthermore, an exhausted child sleeps more heavily and is less likely to awaken to use the toilet.

Protect your child's mattress by covering the mattress with a breathable, waterproof, cotton fitted sheet. Protecting your child’s mattress with a breathable, waterproof, cotton fitted sheet is ideal as it keeps your child’s night-time sleep experience similar to those of your child’s peers.  Furthermore, when friends come over to play, they are unaware there is a specially formulated sheet on the child’s bed.  Avoid plastic sheets as they give themselves away the moment one of your child’s friends sits on your child’s bed. 

Consider purchasing a few breathable, waterproof, cotton fitted sheets. If your child wets the bed regularly, you may want to get in the habit of making up the bed in layers (waterproof layer plus sheet plus waterproof layer plus sheet) so that your child can simply strip off one layer if they wet the bed in the night. This helps your child to regain a little sense of control over a frustrating situation that they really can't help, and it will minimize middle-of-the-night sleep disruptions for parents.

Troubleshoot potential obstacles in the night. Plug a night light in the hall or the bathroom so your child can easily find their way in the night. Don't overdo it with the lights in your child's bedroom, however. You don't want to interfere with your child's sleep cycle.

Leave out a towel and a change of clothes (something your child can slip on easily, without help) in case your child wets the bed repeatedly. Helping everyone get as much sleep as possible while minimizing the fuss associated with the bedwetting episode is the number one priority.

Help your child wash up in the morning, to eliminate any lingering odour of urine. Older children may want to take a quick shower before heading off to school.

Don't allow bedwetting to become the focus of your interactions with your child. Zero in on all the other things that make your child the unique and wonderful person they are. This will encourage them to focus on issues other than the bedwetting, giving their confidence an important boost.

Want more bedwetting help? Learn more at www.oopsSheet.com/Articles/Bedwetting-and-Kids.htm