Bedwetting can be more than just a little embarrassing. Bedwetting that cannot be attributed to any sort of physical cause (e.g., such as urinary tract infection) usually doesn't pose any long-term health risks. However, it can have a real impact on a child's self-esteem, relationships with friends, and school performance.
In a study comparing the stress of significant life events in a child's life, the distress a bedwetting child feels is comparable to that of trying to get good grades and being teased by others. Only divorce and parental fights ranked higher in terms of stress levels in a child's life.
Bedwetting can lead to behaviour problems because your child feels guilty and embarrassed. Children who wet the bed may be withdrawn the next morning or feel they have no control over the problem.
In school, they may have lower social skills and performance than other children. A child suffering from bedwetting may exhibit more aggressive behaviour, trouble paying attention in class, and poor self-image.
Bedwetting children are in constant fear of being found out and teased. They dread situations when they must sleep away from home, such as family vacations or sleepovers. Out of fear of being discovered, many bedwetters are anxious about staying away from home or having friends stay over. In one study, children who wet the bed were asked what the best thing would be about staying dry all night. Many answered that the best thing would be being able to have friends stay over at their house or being able to stay over at their friends' house.
Bedwetting children should grow up having as normal a childhood as possible and not have to suffer from the shame, guilt, and embarrassment that can lead to low self-esteem. As a parent, your first step in helping your child is to realize what he or she is going through. Remember that bedwetting is not your child's fault.
Make informed decisions regarding your child's health by learning about what you can do for your bedwetting child to help them manage bedwetting and avoid the negative impact it may have on their life. You may also want to check out "Treatment options for bedwetting," where you can learn about available treatment options for your bedwetting child and how you can help them return to normal childhood activities, like sleepovers and summer camp.
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