I often consult with children between the ages of 6 and 14 years who frequently wet the bed. The problem occurs in both girls and boys with the latter being the most prevalent.
Most wet the bed every night while others do it occasionally.
This creates a real problem for their mother (who has to clean the bed every morning and check for a wet mattress) and for themselves (stops them from sleeping over at friend’s homes and going on school excursions where they have to stay away for a night).
To deal with this, it is important to have the child’s waterworks checked by a doctor to ensure it is not a physical problem. Second, it is important to understand how that part of the body functions.
The Urinary System
The two kidneys filter the blood and the resultant waste is transported via the ureters to the bladder where it is stored. The bladder, along with the urethra (a small tube going from the bladder to the outside), expels urine from the body.
When the bladder is full, a message is sent to the brain alerting it of the fact. The brain then makes the person aware the bladder is full and needs to empty. When the person is ready, a message is sent to the bladder to relax the sphincter at the base of the bladder and the person then releases urine.
When a person is asleep, it is important the brain wakes the person to inform them their bladder is full and needs to empty. For most, this occurs and the person staggers to the toilet. The next step for men is to get the aim right while in a sleepy state!
Why People Wet The Bed
When a person wets the bed, assuming there is nothing wrong physically, the message from the brain is not waking the person to alert them to take action.
If the person is not being woken, the question to ask is “Why?”
Most parents say their child goes into a very deep sleep and it’s very difficult to wake them.
Therefore, the person gains a bigger benefit from sleeping than they do from waking.
Now, you may be thinking “That’s not right”.
I ask you to rethink it. Think about the benefit the child receives from not waking in the middle of the night. Why would they want to go into a deep sleep?
Some of the reasons include:
Fear of the dark – they fear something is going to happen to them if they wake up or get out of bed. One boy had seen a very scary movie when young so staying asleep alleviated the fear.
Attention seeking – can occur where the parents have separated. When one boy was asked by his mother whether he really wanted to stop wetting the bed, he said “No”. Got to give him points for being honest!
Fear of a parent or a person who is usually a friend or relative.
“Too cold to get out of bed”.
“If I wake up, I won’t get back to sleep”.
A problem is only a problem until you identify the cause. Once you do this, a solution becomes clearer.
The following are some of the solutions available to you:
1. Seek Medical Help
A doctor will clear your child of any physical problems. They can also recommend other ways of dealing with this problem.It may also pay to speak with a pharmacist who can recommend things like alarms that go off when moisture is detected.
2. Deal With the Problem
If you want to work on it yourself, see if you can identify the benefit they receive and deal with that benefit.
While some parents try and punish the child for wetting, it may make the problem worse.
In the above examples, a quick talk with the child and with the help from the parents, the problem can be quickly overcome. One of the worst cases was a 13 year old boy who wet every night and had done so since being in nappies. After identifying the cause and dealing with it so he was happy, he began having dry nights and 14 months on, is still doing so.
Sleep Talk for Children
A useful aid to help the child is “Sleep Talk Therapy” – devised by Joane Goulding. I use this with nearly all my adolescent clients with great results.
It involves placing positive thoughts into the child’s mind while he/she is asleep. This helps re-program their subconscious and develops a bond between them and their parents.
Now, before you try this yourself, if you get it wrong it can have an adverse effect. To ensure you get it right, go to http://www.sleeptalkchildren.com for all the information. Joane has written a book on this which is essential reading for all parents.
Sleep Talk is one of the best and safest ways of helping children.
If you are unable to deal with the bedwetting problem, seek professional help. The above information is given with the aim of helping you. If you have had success in this area, I am keen to hear what you have done so I can make that available to others.
Like to Know More?
If you would like to know more on how to deal with bedwetting, an option is to make an appointment. You can consult with Clive in person or have a telephone/skype consultation. To consult with him in person, you can either phone Julie on 02 6921 6373 (International +61 2 6921 6373) to secure a time or e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 02 6921 6373 Email: email@example.com Address: P.O. Box 2421, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650 Australia