Goodnights are expensive. But mattresses cost more.

We’ve all had that cousin that we didn’t want to sleep with because we knew that cousin was going to wet the bed.  No matter how much you protested, your mother would force you to share your bed in which she had conveniently placed trash bags under the fitted sheet.  OK, perhaps this is just my memory of ultimate betrayal as her mattress was saved, and my Rainbow Bright pajamas became a casualty of war.  And believe you and me, it was war.  During the day, all the other cousins and I included, would get up and tease that one cousin.  But oh when the sun would set, being that we were one large family living in one small house, revenge was inevitable.  I’m not sure if we thought that teasing this particular family member would “fix” the problem, but I vividly remember our parent’s reactions from time to time.  It was a cycle of sorts.  First they would try and be understanding, then as age set in, they would become frustrated and begin to make threats.  I am extremely remorseful for how I treated my cousin about the situation now that I have had time to sit back and reflect with a child of my own whom also has a bed wetting problem.  When I awoke this morning, I discovered that for the second day in a row she has refused to put on her overnight pants and for the second night in a row, has had an accident in my guest bed that does not have a mattress protector.  So as I was calming down, taking a break, away from all children, breathing, counting to ten, I started thinking.  How can I tackle this problem, and not make the same mistakes as my parents.  In anger, I wanted to punish her.  But as I counted and I breathed (and I encourage all parents to try this) I realized that it wasn’t her fault.  She wants to stay dry through the night and not have to wear a diaper.  Her developmental stage tells her that diapers are for babies, and that she’s a big girl.  However her body is just not there yet.

There have been several cases in the last few years about children being beaten or killed because they soiled themselves and I can’t help but wonder how many children were awaken this morning with a belt all because they have no control over their bladder while they sleep?  How many woke up with a racing heart attempting to hide sheets and pajamas at the bottom of a hamper?  And how many woke up to being called names like PeesALot, you know, the Care Bear who pees a lot.  Again just me (I am so sorry dear cousin).  So, if you are the parent of child who did not have a dry night last night allow me to encourage you to remain calm.  Whereas there is no quick solution, there is help.  There’s even a medical name for it.   Enuresis.  Of course that just means bed wetting in layman terms, but giving it an official medical diagnosis might be what we need to keep us from abusing our children.  Our parents did not have access to world of knowledge at their fingertips, but we do, and it’s time we use it in a positive way.  There are many reasons your child may wet the bed and Family Doctor.org lists the following:

  • Genetic factors (it tends to run in families)
  • Difficulties waking up from sleep
  • Stress
  • Slower than normal development of the central nervous system (which reduces the child’s ability to stop the bladder from emptying at night)
  • Hormonal factors (not enough antidiuretic hormone is produced, which is the hormone that slows urine production at night)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys
  • Abnormalities in the spinal cord
  • A small bladder

Keep in mind that your child is more embarrassed by the bed wetting than you are even bothered by it all.  Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development explains this well in my opinion.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikson’s_stages_of_psychosocial_development).  Last but not least, if your child is over the age of 5 and still wetting the bed, first consider his or her surroundings and ask yourself if things need to change.  If the environment you have your child in is not conducive for your child to grow in, then learn how to put that baby first before you end up on the news.  If yours child’s environment is normal and healthy, then prepare yourself for tedious process, and possible loss of sleep. After age 6 a child’s bed wetting is considered unusual and most likely will require additional help. There are many options out there.  While medication is one, I personally don’t feel that it should be the first option you chose.  There are several other options for example, Moisture Therapy works off of Pavlov’s theory by waking the child when it senses moisture to condition the brain to awaken when the urination process begins.  This may take extra effort on your part, but it’s proving to be more successful than medication.  When we understand that our reactions as parents can make or break a situation, we become better parents.  This is one of those situations.  You can either help your child through it, or scar them for life.

 
 
Sources:

Bedwetting – Solutions that Work for Child Bedwetting – A Guide for Parents. (2012). Retrieved Aug 26, 2012, from Child Development Institute : http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-psychology/bedwetting.shtml

familydoctor.org editorial staff. (1999, 03). Enuresis-bed-wetting. Retrieved 08 26, 2012, from FamilyDoctor.org : http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/toileting/enuresis-bed-wetting.html

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/toileting/enuresis-bed-wetting.html

http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-psychology/bedwetting.shtml

 

 

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