If your child wets the bed, it’s not enough to convince yourself that bedwetting is not a big deal. You need to convince your child that it isn’t a big deal.
If someone you love wets the bed, it’s not enough to convince yourself that bedwetting is not a big deal. You need to convince your love that it isn’t a big deal.
The first time I wet the bed as a teenager, Mom quickly got me cleaned up and back in a dry bed. It was wonderfully warm and cozy, and I was right back to sleep.
But the next day, I was scared and confused and humiliated. I was 14! I hadn’t wet the bed since I was an infant! I was in high school, a grownup!
After school the next day, Mom sat me down for a private chat. I was just 14, but she talked with me as if I were an adult and her equal. She was calm and confident.
I shouldn’t worry, it was probably a fluke. Even if it wasn’t a fluke, it was a minor distraction, easy to deal with.
It wasn’t going to be a big deal for her. It shouldn’t be one for me. It didn’t make me a baby or a child or reduce me in her eyes.
I was immensely reassured and back to my usual confident self, until I wet again a few days later. And then wet again and again.
When it became clear that it wasn’t a fluke, we had a more serious conversation, about seeing a doctor, about how to manage it and about what it meant. It was a symptom of something, which might or might not be serious. But in itself it wasn’t serious.
My siblings were all chronic bedwetters. Mom had regular conversations with them, too. Their conversations were a little different from mine, because the cause (and cure) of their bedwetting was clear. You’re not producing enough of a hormone or your bladder is just too small. You will grow out of it, sooner or later. You will start producing enough of the hormone and your bladder will grow. Some kids just develop some parts later than others.
For all of us, the rest of the message was the same: It doesn’t reflect on mental or emotional maturity. It’s just a symptom. It won’t interfere with anything you want to do, including sleepovers and camp. Wear protection for yourself and your bed. A good night’s sleep is more important than what you wear to bed. What you wear to bed doesn’t reflect on maturity or worth, either. It’s just a sensible solution to a minor medical issue.
She had that conversation with each of us several times a year, until the topic seemed ordinary. If something changed, she asked. If she thought one of us was unhappy or anxious, she had a chat. She would reassure us when we got an invitation to a sleepover, or wanted to invite a friend to sleep over, or went away to camp or our relatives.
Something Mom didn’t know, but I tell my kids: Bedwetting is genetic. You inherit it from your parents. I haven’t told my kids which parent, or that I still wet the bed, but I think it helps them to know that it’s not their fault.