When parents contact our clinic to discuss help for bedwetting, they usually share their concern about the fear of discovery. They are worried their child’s friends will learn about the bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis), and make fun of, bully, and/or exclude them. This is a valid cause for concern.
One dad of a 14 year old said, “His friends will use this like a weapon to shoot him down.”
One mom from Virginia called regarding her 12 year-old son who was threatened by his father if he did not stop his “stupid behavior”. He was going to take the wet sheets to the football field and hang them on the bleachers.
We have worked with thousands of children, teenagers, as also with adults who have experienced a lack of caring and kindness when it comes to wetting the bed. Perhaps it is a parent who thinks their child is lazy, or a pediatrician who dismisses the problem as common. We find it is often relatives who unknowingly suggest the wetting is due to parental mistakes. Sometimes parents blame themselves when the supposed “quick-fix” books or alarms don’t work.
Bedwetting is an issue that affects the entire family, and, unfortunately, it is a misunderstood condition that leads to endless frustration. We know that educating EVERYONE about the real cause of bedwetting will bring an understanding as to why this is no one’s fault, and to trust that this education will render compassion.
According to Amy Joyce, an editor and writer for On Parenting, empathy is better taught. The idea behind teaching empathy and caring is from Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist with the Graduate School of Education. Dr. Weissbourd runs the Making Caring Common project, which is aimed to help teach kids to be kind.
During a conversation with Dr. Weissbourd, Amy Joyce discussed a new study released by the project. “About 80 percent of the youth in the study said their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others. The interviewees were also three times more likely to agree with the study’s test statement of “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.
“Children are not born simply good or bad, and we should never give up on them. They need adults who will help them become caring, respectful, and responsible for their communities at every stage of their childhood,” the researchers write.
83% of parents, who reached out the Enuresis Treatment Center for help, state the siblings of the child or teen experiencing bedwetting are supported, not made to feel different. 68% stated some form of discovery from a friend resulted in keeping the secret, yet 95% of parents, regardless of their child’s age, continued to worry about a lack of kindness that might occur if bedwetting was discovered.