the bed--beyond the age deemed reasonable by
society--can be a traumatic experience for a child who
doesn’t understand why. Did you know that most children
who experience enuresis (the clinical term for
bed-wetting) have at least one parent who had the same
problem? A parent could de-stress the child, and maybe
the situation, by confiding that in their child.
Enuresis affects %20
of children at five years old, five percent at age ten,
and two percent at 15. One out of 100 children with
enuresis may continue wetting the bed into adulthood. It
is over twice as common in boys as it is in girls. While
it is common for children five and under to occasionally
wet the bed, the child who has repeated episodes at six
or beyond should be taken to a professional.
Enuresis does not
necessarily mean that a child has emotional or physical
problems. Sometimes the cause is as simple as having a
delay in the development of the bladder. The smaller
bladder cannot possibly hold a large amount of urine.
Some researchers believe that it could be related to
toilet training. The training was either too early or
too strongly enforced. It could also be caused by an
adjustment problem, parents who are too critical, a
reaction to a new situation—perhaps a new sibling in the
house—or a regression of some kind.
other than the slow development of the bladder are rare,
but may include lesions in the lower spinal cord,
diabetes, or urinary tract infection. A physical and a
urinalysis could rule out physical causes and infection
Be prepared to
answer several questions if you decide to seek
professional help. It would probably behoove you to keep
a journal documenting the following information. Of
course, journal entries should be made in private—not in
front of the child. It might make he or she feel too
self-conscious. Here are the questions:
When did this
How often does it
Are there any “dry”
periods? If so, how long?
Is control while
awake a problem?
Is there any daytime
urination? How often?
Does enuresis cause
the child to awaken?
Is the child shamed
by his bed-wetting?
Does the rest of the
family know about the problem?
Is there any
How does the family
treat the problem?
Are there any
beverages given containing caffeine or alcohol?
Does stress increase
the incidents? Does anything in particular make the
improve the situation?
Are there any
Are there other
symptoms such as pain in the back or abdomen, or a
Is there a family
history of the problem?
Are any methods of
prevention such as diapers, alarms, rewards, or
restricting fluids used?
Just as important as
seeking professional help is treating the problem
correctly at home. Yelling at or punishing a child may
only make the situation worse. Not only that, it could
create feelings of low self-worth and poor self-esteem.
The best thing to do is talk about it openly (if the
child is so inclined) keeping in mind that expressing
confidence, reassurance and encouragement to a child
could be the best medicine of all.