Stop Punishing A Child Who Wets The Bed

Punishing a child for wetting the bed demonstrates the mis-understanding regarding the problem. No child, teenager or adult wets the bed on purpose. This untimely death of a ten year old boy from Dallas, Texas, prompted me to write a reply and help parents understand what is causing bed-wetting.


Bed-wetting is an often misunderstood and miss diagnosed symptom of a sleep disorder. The only way to end bedwetting successfully is to recognize that the problem is a SYMPTOM resulting from a genetically determined and transferred deep sleep disorder. Until the underlying sleep disorder is addressed, a child will continue to wet the bed, frequently have daytime “accidents” and suffer from the psychological distress that the disorder can cause. “


Those misunderstandings often lead to failed attempts to treat it and escalated frustration for the entire family.


– Bedwetting is not the result of a child’s failure to empty his/her bladder before bedtime.
– Limiting fluids before bedtime is not a treatment for the disorder
– Bedwetting is not the result of obstructive sleep apnea


Bedwetting IS the result of an inherited deep sleep disorder that interferes with the brain bladder connection during sleep. The bedwetters brain sleeps so deeply that it cannot be aroused sufficiently so that it sends the “stay closed” message to the bladder’s sphincter in response to the bladder signaling it is full. Absent that signal, the bladder sphincter opens and bedwetting occurs.


Individuals who wet the bed almost always feel the shame of being “different” in that they cannot do what it seems everyone else can – keep their beds dry. They can suffer from near debilitating fear of discovery, especially if they experienced daytime control problems due to the weak bladder muscle control that results from the disorder and is not the cause of it. Bedwetters experience the low self-esteem and anxiety that accompanies going to bed EACH night. An enuretic child, teenager or adult does not see his/her bed as a place to rest; instead it is a place they will fail”.


The Enuresis Treatment Center has treated bedwetting successfully for over 37 years. We know that appropriate treatment for bedwetting is based upon our proven non-medical biofeedback method aimed at treating the underlying cause of the problem.


Our method has a 97% success rate and we have successfully treated thousands of children, teens and adult all over the world. Our patients no longer suffer from bedwetting or the underlying deep sleep disorder. They are also free from the enormous psychological distress that bedwetting creates.


Below is the story reported by a Dallas Newspaper.

Boy who died of dehydration was punished for wetting bed
By JON NIELSEN Staff Writer
Published 26 August 2011 11:05 PM

A 10-year-old boy who died of dehydration after his parents deprived him of water last month was being disciplined for wetting the bed, authorities said Friday.
Documents obtained a day after Jonathan James’ father and stepmother were arrested in his death show how the boy suffered while he was denied drinking water for five days in July. And in an interview Friday, Jonathan’s grandmother said that he had called her in late June to say he was afraid to live with his father and stepmother for a month-long, court-ordered custody visit.
Jonathan died July 25 after he collapsed at the Red Bird home of his father and stepmother, and rescuers were unable to revive him.
Michael Ray James and Tina Alberson, both 42, remained in the Dallas County Jail on Friday, charged with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. Jonathan’s twin brother, Joseph, was also staying at the home but was not injured.
Jonathan “called me and said, ‘Can I come to your house instead? I know I’m going to be in trouble while I’m there because I always am,’” said Jonathan’s grandmother Sue Shotwell of Duncanville. “That’s the first time we ever heard that from him.”
According to Joseph, his parents put Jonathan in a room without air conditioning and told him to stand by the window with the sun beating down on him.
Joseph said that on the day Jonathan died he had peanut butter stuck in his throat but his parents wouldn’t let him wash it down.
“They still wouldn’t let him have water,” Joseph said.
Joseph regularly looked out for his brother. He’d find him during recess at school and they’d play together. But Joseph could only watch as his brother slowly died. Joseph said he didn’t want to risk facing similar punishment.
“I wanted to do something, but I couldn’t,” Joseph said. “I couldn’t do nothing because I would get in trouble.”
Shotwell later told Joseph not to feel guilty. There was nothing he could do.
She did question why Michael James chose to watch his son die.
“He could’ve stopped it,” Shotwell said. “What person in their right mind deprives anyone of water?”
Police documents show that the boy suffered until he collapsed and hit his head on the floor the night he died.
“A child of his age would exhibit progressive symptoms of his dehydration, including complaining of thirst, progressively becoming lethargic, appearing dry (cracked lips, sunken eyes), mental status changes, decreased urine output and eventually shock/cardiac arrest,” the documents said.
Rescuers took Jonathan to Methodist Charlton Medical Center. Alberson told authorities there that Jonathan was sick. But the medical staff called investigators even while they were trying to revive the boy.
Jonathan seemingly never stopped enjoying life, Shotwell said. He rode his bike, swam and participated with his brother in Cub Scouts.
“He was very tan from being outside,” Shotwell said. “He would run out the door, and I’d hand him a bottle of water like he was running a marathon.”
He was an easy-going boy who made friends easily, she said, and he never held a grudge.
“This kid, if you know Jonathan, he could forgive you for no matter what you did,” Shotwell said. “You could ground him, and he would say ‘I love you, Mimi.’”
Shotwell, who is an administrator at Methodist Charlton Medical Center, rushed to the hospital to be beside Jonathan on the night he died.
When she got there, she knew something bad had happened to her grandson, who had always been a strong, healthy boy. His breathing had slowed and he was unconscious.
Shotwell was alone with Jonathan and whispered in his ear.
“I told him I loved him,” she said. “He was precious, and I told him where he was going.”
WFAA-TV (Channel 8) contributed to this report.
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