When your child thinks, “I’m ashamed.”
Many children are shamed by bedwetting – usually by the remarks made by a parent or another child. In general, a child is made to feel ashamed because those around him or her seem to make bedwetting a big deal or a sign of failure.
Saying something as simple as “Oh, John is doing much better with that now. We’re all very proud of him” right to an adult who is making your child feel ashamed will make your child feel better. Positive reinforcement of any kind, in fact, will help your child. One of the best antidotes to shame is showing your child that you love and are proud of them.
When your child thinks, “This means I’m lazy.”
It is one of the myths about bedwetting that it is caused by laziness. Your child may hear this myth from another child or from an adult. It can make your child feel as though he or she is not “good enough.”
Explain to your child how urination works and why some children cannot control their bladder until they are older. Point out all the things that your child does (chores, help, activities, school play) that prove that he or she is not lazy. Discuss what a myth is and explain why some people believe them.
Try saying something like, “Before, doctors didn’t know why some kids wet the bed and some didn’t, and someone thought that maybe it was because some kids were lazy. Now, doctors know that it’s not true. Kids wet the bed because their bodies still need to grow in some ways, but some people haven’t heard of this, and so they still believe the old idea.”
This should help convince your child that the myth is not true.
When your child thinks, “This means I’m stupid.”
Sadly, many people try to look for explanations in illnesses or conditions, trying to find out the “cause” behind something or trying to find out what something supposedly “means” rather than focusing on care or treatment. Your child may also be under the impression that the lack of bladder control “means something.” Your child may assume that there is something wrong with his or her mind, as other kids have “learned” to stay dry.
When your child hears that the body does not wake the mind up to go to the bathroom – a common way Enuresis is explained to children – the child may assume that there is something wrong with their mind that is causing the bedwetting.
Praising your child’s intellectual ability (putting good grades on the fridge or rewarding well done assignments) can help convince your child that he or she is intelligent. You can also take care to explain that children who wet the bed do not have anything wrong with their minds at all – they are just waiting for some body parts to grow up. This can hep reassure them that they are bright, that they just need to wait a bit longer to control their bladder.
When your child thinks, “I’m dirty.”
Children who wet the bed may be teased by other children about the urine odor which may linger about their clothes and rooms. Even if this is not the case, many children associate urine with something “gross” or “dirty” and may feel disgust with their own bodies. If skin irritation develops, children may feel even dirtier, seeing marks of their bedwetting on their skin.
You will also want to speak frankly with your child about urine and body waste. Explaining where it comes from and what it is can help your child overcome some of his or her disgust. Be sure that you do not encourage any of these negative feelings by wrinkling your nose or expressing distaste when cleaning after your child. Any other person in charge of cleaning up after your child should be taught the same.