The Emotional Side of Bedwetting

Bed wetting can be very traumatic for a child. Your child’s feelings of guilt and shame over something that is not his fault are often compounded when you get angry or annoyed over another nighttime accident. It is important to show sensitivity when dealing with this delicate issue with your child.

Your Child’s Feelings
Going through a phase of bed wetting can be devastating for your child. She is likely embarrassed by the issue at home and upset that she can’t partake in any activities away from home, like a sleep-over or an overnight camp. Many children believe that they wet the bed because something is wrong with them. Yet, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, five to seven million American children between the ages of three and six wet the bed every night! There is nothing at all abnormal about this behavior.

Because a child’s self-esteem can take such a beating from regularly wetting the bed, it is important to offer lots of praise and encouragement to your child about other things in his life. And don’t be fooled if he acts as though wetting his bed doesn’t bother him. Many children use a nonchalant attitude towards the issue as a defensive mechanism.

Your Own Feelings
Just as many children blame themselves for their bed wetting issues, many parents feel that it is their fault that the child can’t control his bladder through the night. Bed wetting is not the result of bad parenting nor is there any cause for blame. It happens simply because your child has not yet learned the skill of bladder control, a skill that you too had to once learn many years ago.

To help your child feel better about the issue, you may want to share any bedwetting stories that you might have from your childhood. Hearing that someone else close to her once went through the same thing can help your daughter realize that she is not the only one going through this.

And remember, you don’t want to punish your child for wetting the bed. Making your son feel ashamed about the problem is not going to help the situation. In fact, it is much more likely to exacerbate the situation and cause your child to feel even more distress. So provide positive support for your child to help him overcome one of life’s difficulties. You may also find it helpful to read some tips from other parents who have had ‘bedwetters’ in the family.