Over the past few days I’ve asked around if my friends and colleagues kids wet the bed. There seems to be a huge stigma around it. I felt the sense that parents felt guilty that their kids wet the bed. One person questioned if something is happening in their child’s life that may be causing this. The truth is that bedwetting is something your child might go through and that’s ok, you have not failed as a parent. 10% of South African children between the age of 4-15 years experience bed wetting. That is a massive amount and it needs to be discussed openly so that the stigma and embarrassment can be put to rest.
When I was a child I struggled with this, I used to dream I was going to the bathroom. I also struggled with sleep walking. It was eventually something I outgrew. I was so embarrassed and never wanted to let me parents know what had happened. I believe the stress I put on myself made the problem worse. When Jayme was 4, he started wetting the bed as well. For him, I suspect a delay in his physiological development. He struggled to recognize a full bladder. It was something we as a family needed to work on and he eventually overcome it. Luckily for our family Jayme is not easily embarrassed. We believe in encouragement over condemnation and growing up in this environment of praise he has developed a great self image. He will openly speak about the bedwetting and explain it to someone if they find it funny. It’s amazing to witness.
What is bedwetting?
The medical term for bedwetting is Nocturnal Enuresis, which is in essence the involuntary urination that happens at night while sleeping, after the age when a child should be able to control his or her bladder.
Why is my child wetting the bed?
There can be numerous reasons for bedwetting. In most cases, it’s linked to delays in physiological development – a small bladder, the inability to recognize a full one, deep sleepers, constipation or even hormones. Children are unique and each child develops at a different pace. Bedwetting could also be caused by psychological stressors that have resulted from issues at school or a change in family dynamics.
Am I doing something wrong as a parent?
Bedwetting is nobody’s fault; it is not linked to the way in which parents have raised their child, nor how they potty trained them and more importantly, it is not the child’s fault. Children are not conscious when bedwetting occurs which means that they are naturally unaware and not in control of their bladders at thetime. The best thing a parent can do for a child that experiences bedwetting is to reassure the child that it was just an accident and not make this too big of a deal when it happens.
How can I stop my child from wetting the bed?
You cannot stop your child from wetting the bed, it is something that they will likely grow out of. You can however reduce the impact it may have on their self-esteem by helping them get through this season as discreetly and comfortably as possible.
The good news is that these days there is a product called DryNights available for older kids that struggle with bedwetting. I wish I had know about it when Jayme was younger. It would have saved me many nights of changing bedding in the middle of the night.
DryNites® Pyjama Pants are available for boys and girls and come in two different sizes; 4-7 years and 8-15 years. These age appropriate disposable pyjama pants are super absorbent and comfortable like real underwear. They are thin enough so that children can discreetly wear them underneath their pyjamas, which will make your child feel more comfortable when going to bed. This in turn will also build their confidence and self-esteem.
Dry nights kindly sent us a pack of their pajama pants and even tho Jayme doesn’t need them anymore, he insisted on trying them on. He told his dad now he doesn’t need to get up for the bathroom anymore. They have a Spider-Man print on which he adores and they don’t bulge under his pants so you would never say he has anything different on. I love that he sees the bright side and doesn’t give two thoughts to the negative stigma. I hope all kids can reach this level of self worth.
If your child struggles I encourage you to contact me so we can chat and break the stigma. It’s unnecessary and our kids need all the positivity to help them overcome this. If you would like to give DryNites a try you can get in touch with them here.