Bed wetting is very common in children and is often a condition that children do eventually grow out of without the need for treatment. According to research done on the subject, how a parent reacts to the bed episodes can often help diffuse the situation on the positive side, or on the negative side, can make it much worse. It is important to realize that a child who experiences bed wetting on a regular basis already feels plenty of stress and anxiety about the whole situation. The worst thing a parent or caregiver can do is blame a child for bed wetting or call the child a “bad child” because of it. Parents must educate themselves first before laying blame on an innocent party.
Bed wetting is not within a child’s realm of control and since it is not an enviable state, it is not something that a child deliberately does to upset his parents or make more work for them in regard to laundry. A child does not enjoy waking up wet and cold with the smell of urine permeating their bedroom. A child does not look forward to the stern look of disapproval that will cross their parent’s face when they find out that it has been another wet night for the child.
A child’s self-esteem is in its beginning stages in childhood and it can be damaged very easily by harsh words, criticism and looks of displeasure. Remember that a parent plays an extremely significant role in a child’s early development and all children want to make their parents happy as opposed to unhappy. Every child craves approval and acceptance and not scorn and rejection. By heaping more stress on an already stressful situation, a child is likely to get into a vicious cycle that keeps going round and round and appears to have no end.
So then what is the best way to react to a bed wetting episode? Doctors agree that being empathetic, supportive and understanding is key. Tell your child that you understand that he or she is upset, embarrassed and uncomfortable about the bed wetting. Assure your child that you love him no matter what and that together you will work through the problem. Tell him that plenty of children all over the world wet their beds and that they feel exactly the same as your son does. Children feel less alone when they know that others can relate to their discomfort.
Reassure your child every time he wets his bed that he is perfectly normal and that with time the bed wetting will come to an end. Tell him that if he doesn’t naturally outgrow it that he might need to visit the doctor for some suggestions about treatment but in the end everything will turn out okay and he should not worry himself too much.
If your child wants to help you change the wet bed sheets let him do so but don’t make a huge deal about it. If he doesn’t want to then don’t make him as changing sheets should never be viewed as a form of punishment. This would only be detrimental to his development.