Most children will wet the bed at some point, especially when they are just getting used to sleeping without a nappy. However, sometimes children can keep wetting the bed for longer than usual or start bedwetting again at a later age. When this happens, it can be very distressing, so it’s important to provide as much emotional support as you can.
Mental Effects of Bedwetting
Wetting the bed can have a huge emotional impact on a child, especially when it is not handled well by their parents or caregivers. Some of the potential mental effects of bedwetting include:
- Loss of self-esteem and confidence
- Fear of sleeping away from home or having other children to visit
- Sleep problems
- Guilt or blaming themselves
- Being withdrawn
- Acting out at home or school
- Anger or aggression
The mental effects can be especially bad if friends, siblings, or even parents aren’t sensitive enough about bedwetting. It can be embarrassing just to know that other people are aware of the problem and children who are teased can feel even worse about themselves. However, with the right support it is possible to prevent or overcome these negative effects.
Can Emotional Issues Cause Bedwetting?
Bedwetting usually has a physical cause, especially when it happens over a long time. In fact, about 75% of children who wet the bed have a parent or sibling who experienced the same problem, which shows that there are often genetic causes. However, it’s important to realise that emotional issues such as stress and anxiety can in rare cases be the causes of bedwetting rather than the effects. Worrying about bedwetting can also make the problem worse, even when there is another cause. It’s important to consider whether there could be an emotional cause as you may need to tackle this in order to stop the bedwetting.
What Can You Do?
If bedwetting is affecting your child or you think that there might be an emotional cause, there are some steps you can take to support them:
- Talk to your child about how they are feeling, making sure to listen more than you speak.
- If your child suddenly starts wetting the bed, ask if there is something worrying them. Take steps to solve the problem if you can and talk to your child about it.
- Try to stay calm and avoid blaming or punishing your child for bedwetting as it can make them feel worse.
- Reassure your child that bedwetting is very common and that it won’t last forever. Tell them if you or another family member had the same problem at their age.
- Avoid telling other people about the bedwetting when possible, especially when your child is present. However, you should talk to any siblings about the problem so that they will be sensitive about it.
Since bedwetting often has a physical cause, you should also seek medical advice if the problem lasts for a long time or happens at an older age. Stopping the bedwetting is an important part of boosting your child’s confidence and helping them to feel better.