Before we have children, we often harbour ideals of who that child will be, what they will accomplish and what parenting will look like. These ideals however, are often completely uninformed. I had to learn this the hard way when my daughter Ella was born. You see, Ella, who is now 6, was born with Down Syndrome and we discovered very quickly that she does not subscribe to the deadlines and milestones that we’re told are “normal” and neither should we. She taught us that each child is unique and each one progresses at his or her own rate. Ella taught us that the sooner we let go of how we think a child ought to be and we learn to support them appropriately, can she truly blossom in her own way and her own time.
Toileting, specifically bedwetting, has been one area of frustration that we have had to completely let go. There is an unhealthy stigma around bedwetting, otherwise known as nocturnal enuresis, and not just for children with special needs. Did you know that almost 1 in 4 children between the ages of 4-11 struggle to stay dry through the night? It can be a source of teasing and self-esteem issues for the child and it can result in frustration and feelings of guilt for the parent. But none of these feelings are necessary; enuresis is neither the fault of the child nor the parent – it is an actual medical condition. It is not wrong, just different and can be managed easily using these helpful tips.
Let it go
As a parent, it is so easy to become frustrated with bedwetting. We can be frustrated that our child is not operating on the timeline that we think that they should or simply because we are tired of being woken up at 3 am, yet again, to change the sheets. First of all, please, let go of the timeline. Children develop at different rates and it’s okay. You have not failed as a parent, nor has your child failed. Simply accept this new paradigm. Frustration and anger communicate to your child that they have done something wrong and can deeply affect their self-esteem. Work instead to assure your child, encourage them in their successes and facilitate confident nights and happy mornings.
Stop the teasing
Perhaps there are other children in your household that also need to be educated around the issue of bedwetting. If this is the issue, take time to explain to the other child that bedwetting is okay and often can’t be helped. Likewise, if your child goes for a sleepover at a friend’s house, let the other parent know about your child’s situation and that it is not something to be mocked. Help that parent know that while it is a private matter there are ways to create a positive experience. Our son Jakob, learned early to accept Ella for who she is and now, he is so much more accepting of not just her but other children that he meets who are a little bit different or have different abilities and skills. He does not see it as wrong that Ella still wears a GoodNites Bedtime Underwear and rather encourages her when she has success.
Accept a little help
Nobody likes being woken up at 3 am to change wet sheets (which usually also means having an extra little body in your own bed). First of all, start with an absorbent undergarment, specifically designed to handle enuresis, such as GoodNites Bedtime Underwear. I know some parents might feel like this is a gesture of defeat, but trust me, as a mom who has been there, nights go much smoother and everyone wakes up much happier when we have all gotten a good night’s sleep.
Secondly, consult your physician. Enuresis is a medical condition that needs to be managed. It cannot be “trained out” – your pediatrician or GP can provide the support you need. And finally, talk to other parents. It’s easy to think you are the only one going through this, especially if your only gauge is social media, where people more readily publicize their victories as oppose to their challenges. But you aren’t alone. Find other moms going through the same thing. Visit the Better Nights Network page on GoodNites.com to be connected with forums, education on bed-wetting and a panel of medical professionals as well as a closed Facebook group where you can connect with other moms going through the same thing. You’re not alone…and remember, this too shall pass.
Wishing you all happy nights!
This post is sponsored by GoodNites®. Thoughts and opinions are my own