Secondary Enuresis and the Arrival of a New Baby

When a new baby comes home it is a blessed occasion but for another child in the household it can bring on a bout of stress and anxiety that can result in a case of secondary enuresis. Older children fear that their parents will love them less or have less time for them because of the new baby. They also fear that the status quo will change in their family. Change is often a scary prospect, as they cannot see the bigger picture so they fear the worst. However many children also are very happy that they have acquired a new brother or sister but this still brings with it a measure of stress. The arrival of a new baby can cause an older child to begin wetting the bed after having been dry for a period of six months or longer or it can cause bed wetting to start all of the sudden. When bed wetting is the result of a stressful situation it is referred to as secondary enuresis.

Older children may very well love their new baby brother or sister but they still may have reservations about sharing their parents with another human being. This is especially the case for children who have been “the one and only child” for a long period of time. Not all children react the same to the arrival of a new sibling. Some are anxious and frustrated at the turn of events that they begin withdrawing or becoming passive-aggressive in their behavior and begin “acting out” in inappropriate ways. These children may become less reliable, more likely to forget things and also lazy and sloppy in their habits, thereby making it imperative for their parents to pay more attention to them and their newly acquired problems. Secondary nocturnal enuresis is a very common outlet for this stress and frustration.

According to experts, this is a stressful time for both parents of a newborn baby as well as the older sibling who fears he will lose a portion of his parents’ love and time to the new addition to the family. It is important to not scold or get angry with your child for wetting the bed at night. Pay close attention to the tone you use when addressing your child. Refrain from accusing or blaming your child and realize that he feels embarrassed and upset enough about the situation. Don’t compound the problem by making him feel ten times worse. Instead try to come up with suitable ways to rectify the problem.

Take the time to talk with your older sibling to get to the root of the problem. Explain to your child that he or she is loved no less just because a new person has entered the family. Make sure you reassure your child as many times as you need to until he or she begins to feel secure again. Tell him that he is the big brother and that he should be proud of that. Allow him to help you out with the care of the newborn as often as possible. Make him feel a part of the larger whole of the family and spend as much time with him as you possibly can.