Parent Advice for Bed Wetting Issues
(from our panel of staff contributors)
If the child has been reliably dry for a couple of years and is now wetting the bed, I’d rule out medical issues first (those urinary tract infections are a headache, especially for girls), then look to emotional upsets. (I’m sure you’d know if there’s a new sibling in the house, but there may be something at school.) And don’t overreact to an occasional accident, which is easy for me to say, since my kids are grown and not using my bedding anymore.
— Maureen Hart
“Bed wetters of all ages suffer more than their parents or pediatrician may know,” says clinical psychologist Lyle Danuloff. “Children as young as 5 often live with feelings of fear of discovery, shame, low self-esteem and feeling different.”
So address the issue, by all means. But address it with care and patience.
“Bed wetting is not your child or teenagers anyone’s fault,” says Danuloff, who works as a consultant with the Enuresis Treatment Center, a clinic that helps patients overcome chronic bed wetting. “Our findings point to a deep sleep that prevents the brain from responding to the bladder’s signal.”
Danuloff and pediatrician Jennifer Trachtenberg recommend these steps:
Call your doctor. “I always recommend visiting a physician for evaluation,” says Trachtenberg. “Medical issues including urinary tract infection, diabetes and constipation may be the cause.”
Understand the brain’s role. “In 99 percent of all bed wetting cases — based upon our research of tens of thousands of documented cases — the root cause is sleeping so deeply,” says Danuloff. “The bladder sends the signal to the brain that it wants to empty but the brain fails to either wake you up or send the signal to the bladder to stay closed. The signal gets sent, but it doesn’t get received.”
Root out possible causes. If the bed-wetting is happening after months or years of nighttime dryness, the deep sleep could be brought on by life stressors — trouble at school, a new sibling, an illness, says Danuloff. You may not be able to eliminate the source of stress, but knowing what’s triggering the change in sleep patterns can give you some idea whether the bed-wetting needs medical attention.
Comfort your child. “When a bed wetting incident occurs, this is a time when the child will most likely feel embarrassed and down,” says Trachtenberg. “It’s important for parents to keep up a positive attitude, as this will help keep their child’s self-confidence and self-esteem up.”
Skip the lectures. “All you need to say to your child is ‘Let’s get you up and change the sheets. ” says Danuloff. “Don’t criticize your child. Don’t shame your child. They are waiting for you to solve this problem. ”
Seek treatment … If the problem persists and no underlying medical issue, such as a urinary tract infection, is identified, you may want to enlist the help of a bedwetting treatment clinic, such as Danuloff’s (www.nobedwetting.com), which offers a unique treatment approach and works with patients all over the world.
Contact The Enuresis Treatment Center today for a consultation.