News

Don't punish kids for wetting the bed

Kids Kare

Dr Michelle Williams

Sunday, July 27, 2014    

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BED-WETTING can be embarrassing for kids, especially if they want to stay over at a friend's house or go camping. They also feel guilty and parents might feel frustrated and helpless.

Children usually achieve bladder control by age five in girls and age six in boys. However, there is no specific age for dryness and most children will achieve this by 15 years of age. One of the theories for children bed-wetting suggests that the nerves that control the bladder are not fully developed. There is also said to be a genetic component and some children will have a parent or both parents that wet the bed as a child.

Infrequently, bed-wetting is associated with medical conditions and emotional issues. This may include urinary tract infection, constipation, diabetes, bladder issues, and emotional stress.

Parents should be aware that children who wet the bed are not lazy, disobedient and they are not doing it on purpose. So punishing children is not appropriate.

Parents need to reassure their children and encourage them to achieve dryness. They can share a similar experience of another family member, as this will provide moral support. Limit drinking fluids two hours before going to bed. Allow the child to urinate before going to sleep. Also make a goal to wake the child at a particular time to urinate.

Positive reinforcement is always good. Giving rewards for dry days will be very appealing to the child. It is also good for them to be involved in the cleaning process. Be patient and supportive at all times.

It is very important that we reassure, motivate and refrain from punishing children for bed-wetting.

Dr Michelle Williams is a paediatrician. She may be contacted at dr.michelle.williams2014 @gmail.com.

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