Waking up in the middle of the night to the cries of a ‘I had a little accident’ is probably the most common nocturnal occurrence for any parent with young kids. Although not spoken about publicly as with other common issues, bedwetting amongst children is often the norm, and twice as common among boys than girls.
Bedwetting is all part of growing up and is nothing for the child or the parent to be ashamed about. Although it is frustrating, there are plenty of ways of dealing with it without causing distress to the child or too much hair pulling for the parent.
There are a number of reasons why kids wet the bed, from genetic, medical to psychological. (However, doctors tend not to diagnosis a child with nocturnal enuresis or bedwetting, under seven years old, as it is so common under that age.)
Some of the reasons kids wet the bed is because of the physiological development of their bodies. Sometimes this development is slower in some children than it is in others i.e brain to bladder communication has not fully developed.
The reason for this slow development can be linked genetically to one of the parents. (If a father wet the bed in his childhood years then his child is very likely too!) Other physiological causes stem from some children being very deep sleepers and simply their brain not receiving the message to wake up when their bladder is full.
There are other medical issues associated with children’s bedwetting. If your child is over seven and experiences painful urination or constant bed wetting (no dry nights) this could mean that the child is suffering from Vesicoureteric Reflux and will mean a trip to GP to investigate further.
One of the symptoms of this common problem in kids is pain with urination and subsequent bedwetting. The child’s urinary tract becomes infected because of a faulty valve connected to the bladder. The bacteria that grows in the urinary tract can be treated with antibiotics most of the time. If this does not solve the problem, a small surgical procedure called the STING procedure is done to strengthen the valve cap between the urethra and bladder. This weakened valve which controls the flow of urine to the urethra can cause involuntary bladder control. Although it is a common problem amongst children, it can be rectified easily with minor surgery. If you have any concerns please visit your GP.
Bedwetting isn't great for anyone involved; the parents are exasperated with constant linen changes and your child will feel ashamed by all the trouble. Parents must remember that punishing the child will not help the situation, and will most likely make it worse, so they should deal with their own frustrations in a constructive way.
Dramatic or upsetting changes in a child’s life ( such as divorce or moving house) can lead to periods of bedwetting. But with the right approach these periods can be overcome with positive communication and support.
Here are a few steps to dealing with night time accidents: