Children and Bed Wetting

Bedwetting is sometimes called "nocturnal enuresis" for children normally occurs between the ages of 5 and 15 years of age. The majority of children normally decrease by 12- years old but there are a number of children who may take a little longer.

The claim is made that bed wetting(enuresis) is a physical or hormonal issue in the body, but the truth of it is many are unsure why kids wet the bed.

There is anecdotal evidence to demonstrate children who do wet the bed have suffered some form of trauma in their earlier formative years.

This trauma could be anything from parent child separation, marital separation from an earlier time in the child’s life, witness to traumatic events involving themselves or others in domestic violence events or even just heated arguments.

Children often have difficulty waking up to go to the toilet in the night, but it may also be primal fear of getting out of bed at that hourwhich is further enhanced by the experienceds of daytime trauma. The brain  may bury trauma events during the day ,but at night they resurface and manifest as actual fears or even nightmares either in a concious or subconcious state .

In the child’s subconscious may lie deep concerns and insecurities about events of the past, events that may not visibly or consciously traumatise the child during the day, but may reappear while the child sleeps.

The subconscious ‘kicks in at night’ and thoughts and experiences manifest while we sleep even if the are imagined or real,but could possibly be linked to some degree of trauma at an earlier time.

There is evidence bedwetting children have difficulty waking up to go to the toilet when their bladder is full and in many circumstances that may be the case, but trauma affects a child much more profoundly than we as adults appreciate.

Adults are often too busy to notice the effects of their interactions with others in front of children, believing children do not appreciate the significance of what is happening around them, but a child’s brain is like a sponge absorbing everything it sees, senses, experiences and observes and preserving those events for later processing be they positive or negative.

Yet the child may not manifest any outward signs immediately other than a cry, but if those messages the child’s brain is getting, are of a violent or stressful nature, what happens to this message that is now absorbed into this developing mind?

Does is it simply disappear for good?

Some will say – “Well, why is not every family child bedwetting if they witness some untoward event in their formative years”?

First of all the other children may or may not have seen the triggering event and secondly the answer may possibly be because we are all unique with different ranges of sensitivities, fears and insecurities and as a result each one of us is affected and may respond in a unique way.

Some may show no manifestation of these events , but those affected could be like a lottery draw similar to why some get a cold and others don’t.

Not enough research has been done to ascertain the emotional effects on children in relation to bedwetting.

Let there be no doubt that many of the most notorious crimes committed by felons against others had its genesis in those early years of life.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that bedwetting children will end up being criminals, but to make a point of the profound impact those formative 'imprinting' years have in each of our lives.We all are victims of our childhood whether we like it or not.

They form the architecture and framework around our perceptions, behaviours and our interactions with others for the rest of our lives.

Therefore it has to be a genuine consideration that children who do wet the bed may have experienced a degree of trauma in their formative years which could contribute to nocturnal enuresis unbeknown to their caregiver at the time.

Admittedly it can be a frustrating, troubling and inconvenient event for a parent to clean up a wet bed,but understanding why its happening is more important.

If a child is continuously wetting the bed, the response may be to punish or chastise even make fun of them for wetting the bed, but probably these are the worst things one can do and certainly is unhelpful and possible cruel and damaging long term.

Why is that?

· The child already feels bad enough about wetting the bed.

· He has slept in his own urine all night-hardly comfortable.

· He knows mum and dad will be annoyed with him in the morning and everyone else in the family will know as well raising his own fears and insecurities even more so.

· The idea of his school mates learning of his behaviour because his older sibling mentions it to their school mates can have consequences .Soon the gossip gets round and the victims own classmates know, which as a child is stressful enough to deal with.

· He is already experiencing loss of self- confidence.

· Nicknames are given to children at school, but who wants a label because word got out at school you wet the bed? How long do children and even adults have to put up with the stigma and loss of dignity of wetting the bed?

What should you do?

If no anatomical or medical reason exists why a child is wetting the bed, treating the child with compassion, kindness, without judgement, and a heart to heart talk in private with him/her will go a long way in improving things for the child and for recovery.

Reassurance and love and security is what these children need and if there are other members in the family it need not be discussed with them. They need not know and if they do know they should be advised to keep it to themselves. It is kept as a secret between ‘mum and dad and me’.

If the child feels confident, trust and most importantly a sense of security getting up in the middle of the night will eventually become easier. It may mean mum or dad get up at least once a night to take the child to the toilet and even leaving a hall light on may also help when the child feels able to go on his own.

There are now a good range of disposable and absorbent night-time panties for girls and boys and reusable bed pads to minimise the damage.

Reducing the amount of fluids before bedtime will also help,but a good wee right before bedtime will go a long well to helping.

There are bedwetting alarms which may assist and if they work for you fine, but the tendency to stress or frighten the child even more could work against this.

Drugs and Medications

Most children with bedwetting do not need to take medication, but in the instance where there are extreme cases they may help.Consult the consequences of medication before dispensing it to the child.

By all means avoid medication if possible they treat the symptom not the cause.

The opinions expressed are the writer’s observations from personal experience and encounters with many others people who have similar experiences. They are not yet medically proven, but anecdotal evidence suggests a strong link in trauma to children and incontinence.

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