Don’t Punish Your Toddler for Bedwetting

Bayo Ajibola

Don’t Punish Your Toddler for Bedwetting

It is a known fact that children wet their beds. The younger ones do it because they have not learnt how to control their bladders yet and the older ones may do it for that and various other reasons. For parents with an older child it can be very frustrating to deal with that ammonia smell every single morning.

I remember when my boy was still wetting the bed. I had to place a mackintosh coverover his mattress so that it would not get ruined. The smell was also easier to deal with since I only had to wash the sheets and not find a way to get the mattress to dry out every day. I wondered whether I was not doing a good job of parenting because most of the other children I knew had alreadystopped wetting their beds.

I would remind my son to go to the toilet every night before he went to bed, liquids were reduced just before supper time and I sometimes woke him up to pee at night, especially if he slept really early but I would still find a wet bed in the morning. I was very tempted to punish him since it was a little difficult not to think of it as intentional. I made good on that and it didn’t quite give the results I was expecting. If anything, it seemed to get worse.

Poorer quality of life

I noticed my son becoming a little moodier than usual. He played less and smiled much less. Out of the blues he had become a little sad boy and I could not place a finger on the cause. Now my life became miserable as well since my little boy was practically my happiness. I didn’t have the ‘energy’ to punish him anymore so I stopped and would play with him more and gave him my attention. The bedwetting stopped a few months later and I was surprised and relieved.

A recent study found that children who were punished for wetting their beds at night had a higher likelihood of being depressed and generally led a poorer quality life as compared to those who were not punished for it. It also stated that nocturnal enuresis or nighttime bedwetting affects around 15 per cent of children and is thrice more common in boys than in girls. The study also states that about a third of parents punish their children for it.

Bedwetting in itself causes the child to have a lower self-esteem and the problem becomes worse if they get constantly chastised or even physically punished for it. This can carry on into their adult life and will definitely not allow them to reach their full potential if it is not dealt with.

Possible remedies

The main reason why bedwetting occurs is a slow coordination between brain signals that alert the bladder to wake you up to empty it and deep sleep that keeps these signals from being actualized. If this is the cause improving your child’s awareness of the signals will help.

You can start by getting your child early to bed, before they get too sleepy. They can then practice going to the bathroom straight from bed. Changing temperature and scenery could help as well. Cold tends to set off bedwetting so get your child’s bed away from the cold wall.

Foods that irritate the bladder like caffeinated items, citrus, carbonated drinks and melons should be avoided as you work through the wetting problem. Constipation may also be putting pressure on the bladder so try any natural laxatives like apple juice to evacuate your child’s bowel.

Bayo Ajibola

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