Effects of Bedwetting on Children

Sometimes as parents you might think of the effects of bedwetting are limited to your doing laundry and your frustrations with your son or daughter and their wetting the bed at night.  While you are correct in feeling your child’s bedwetting affects the entire family, but please don’t forget that the main person bedwetting effects is the one who is wetting the bed at night.

Social limitations due to bedwetting

A big part of the effect bedwetting has on a child is through their social interactions with other children, or people they may not even know.  Going on vacation with the family is supposed to be a fun time to spend away from home with those who are closest to you.  The fear of wetting the bed while on vacation could frighten a child so much they don’t want to go, or they are afraid to go to sleep.  In addition, if your child does wet the bed at a hotel, the embarrassment of telling the hotel front desk looms like a dark cloud every night.

Similarly, going on sleep-overs at friend’s houses or even summer camp can lead to anxiety. Every new house he sleeps over at means one new adult (parent) that will know about their bedwetting.  Scout camp or other summer camp can also be a challenge.  Oftentimes a child may even quit a youth program entirely just to avoid the sleep-over aspect because they are afraid of wetting their sleeping bag and being known for wetting the bed by their peers.

Psychological effects of wetting the bed

The most common psychological effects bedwetting has on a child are feelings of shame and guilt, as well as a feeling of failure for not reaching a certain level of maturity they think their friends their age are at.  Even though they have no (or little) control over their bedwetting at this age,  children internalize it as a failure on their part.  This can be amplified if the child has a younger sibling who is already dry at night. Every single time they wet the bed, they are reminded of their failure.

Many parents continue to use pull-ups or baby diapers beyond the time they are designed for children wetting the bed.  Even though size 6 or even 7 diapers may fit a seven-year-old, wearing a baby Pampers diaper at an older age can be devastating to a child.  Children this age should be entrusted with their own night-time routine, and if necessary use a disposable pant such as Goodnites
or Underjams= rather than a baby diaper – even if it still fits.

The whole family is effected by bed-wetting

Let’s look at how a family is affected by bed-wetting.  Cody is nine-years old and has never been dry at night.  In the morning, he wakes up wet and while he takes a shower, his mom finds his dirty sheets, sighs deeply, gathers up the sheets, blankets and pillow cases and puts them in the washer.  She walks back upstairs, grabs the pajamas, and throws them in as well.  Cody’s little brother who was dry years earlier teases him as he comes out of the shower, and then is scolded by his mom.  Cody gets dressed for school and goes to breakfast, when his father comes in and teases Cody that he will be wetting the bed until he gets married.  As Cody gets ready for school, his parents argue and his mom opens his bedroom windows so the room can air out before they have company over for the night.

Everybody starts the day off on a bad note, and Cody feels completely responsible.  If only he didn’t wet the bed.  That is a lot of pressure for a child, so your understanding and compassion is key to letting him feel good about himself.

The best thing Cody’s parents could do is to get started on a complete bed-wetting treatment program as soon as possible.  Even if the bedwetting alarm system they choose is $100, it will more than pay for itself once the results are seen.