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Here are a few facts
- · More boys wet their beds than girls· Bedwetting affects:
- 20% of children over 5
- 5% of children over 10
- 1% of children over 15
- Bedwetting often runs in families· Usually it stops by puberty· It does not necessarily mean the child has kidney problems
Bedwetting otherwise known as enuresis is a common problem in children and for many is a normal of growing up. It is normal for a child to develop control over their bladder by about the age of 3 to 4. However, not all children do. The fact that they don’t have full control doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem. Enuresis is probably more of an inconvenience that does not just affect the child. It is common for some kids to have lapses until they’re 7 or 8 if they’re ill or get stressed.
In common with lots of problems the more pressure they’re under to be a big boy, or girl and stop wetting the bed, the more likely they are to fail, thus a cycle, or spiral of failure is developed. The unfortunate thing is that such a small thing can develop into a belief that they will fail in whatever they try to do because after all and they have been told and told that gaining control over their bladder is a really small thing to master…. And they will try really hard.
OK so for some families bedwetting is a way of life. In order to look forward to a solution it’s useful to look back through the histories of both families. Has bedwetting been a problem for either family?
A lot of children who bed wet are heavy sleepers and they simply don’t wake up. Some children actually dream that they’re in the loo and realise too late. For those children pee alarms can help. The alarms simply have a moisture sensor and have an alarm to wake the child. They retrain the child to wake up when they need to empty their bladder.
Practical actions to take if your child is a bed wetter.
- Limit (eliminate if possible) fluid intake for 2 hours before bedtime.
- Pot the child if it is small when you go to bed – that means lifting the child whilst it is still asleep and putting it on the potty or toilet what goes in must come out. Once you get the hang of it the child will usually pee automatically and s/he won’t wake up and will settle back down to sleep. It potentially teaches that it is not necessary to be fully awake for an older child to take itself to the loo. The other thing that this eliminates is the child waking up mid pee to a wet bed and pj’s. If s/he is to big to lift take them to the loo when you go to bed.
- Rewarding the child when s/he wakes in a dry bed.· Never ever punish the child for a wet bed. All this achieves is reinforcing the behaviour. The child is likely to be insecure, ashamed, embarrassed, upset and angry with themselves. Punishing them will only exacerbate your child's feelings of failure. Changing the bed without any fuss outside their presence is far more productive. Even though it is really difficult for you, the parent.
Other things to consider:
- Has your child ever been regularly dry at night? If so what has changed?
- Does s/he feel insecure? Why?
- Have there been any changes in family circumstances? new arrivals, or departures?
- Suffered from an emotional problem lately – during the day?
- does s/he have nightmares/bad dreams
- Does the child have bladder problems – does s/he ever spot pee? If so , when, where and why, often fear is a problem.
- Is there a pet in the house? –they may make the child jump in the night? I once had a problem with a ‘ghost’ when my child was small! It turned out to be a stray cat that found a nice warm bed! The child was affected for weeks.
You should be able to determine whether there is a problem, and if so, whether it is emotional, or physical and let common sense prevail. If you feel that the problem is physical, see a doctor for a check up. If you think it may be emotional either discuss with a doctor, or an emotional specialist. Alternative therapies such as hypnosis can also work wonders and can help develop a positive framework to measure improvement. Why not contact me for a chat? I provide free advice on a range of problems.
© Copyright 2013 by Christine Hargan, therapist in Huercal-Overa, Spain. All rights reserved.