Do children wet their beds or clothes for psychological reasons?
It was previously believed that bedwetting in children, teenage bedwetting and adult bed wetting was for psychological reasons – due to deficient upbringing, frightening experiences or mental immaturity. We now know that these beliefs are false. Incontinence in children was not on purpose, they have just as competent parents as other children and there is no clear link between wetting and traumatic experiences. Furthermore, psychotherapy and similar treatments do not help against the incontinence. These misconceptions have actually been quite harmful, since they have made many children and parents feel guilty.
On the other hand, to claim that psychological mechanisms have no role at all is to go too far in the other direction. The body and the mind are connected and influence each other in all kinds of medical conditions, including incontinence and other bladder problems. Many families have for instance noticed that children who are periodically incontinent may enter a wet period when a sibling is born or something else happens in the family. And children who wet their beds sporadically are usually dry when they sleep away from home?
Bladder problems of hyperactive children
Children with neuropsychiatric disturbances, such as ADHD, probably have bladder problems more often than other children. Why this is so is not clear, but it not surprising that children who find it difficult to focus on the world around them may have trouble focusing on their bodily functions as well. This does not affect the treatment: the incontinence of children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses is treated in the same way as in other children.
Psychological consequences of wetting
Incontinence can be a heavy burden on the mind of a growing person. Children who are have incontinence during daytime may feel a constant anxiety about the risk of public embarrassment, and bedwetting children may not dare to sleep over or join school camps etc. These children often believe that there is something wrong with them, they feel that they are not like other children and may even hear that they are immature or dirty. Many children also believe that they are the only ones suffering from these problems and they do not even dare to tell their closest friends. It is not surprising that this may lead to psychological problems; but it is the incontinence that causes the psychological problems, not the other way around.
How should these problems be handled?
The incontinent child should be treated so that he/she becomes dry. Most of the psychological problems will then disappear and the child’s self-esteem will rise tremendously. But much can be done while waiting for dryness: the parents must explain to the child that the wetting is not his or her own fault, that they are not the only ones with these problems and that help is available. Use a bedwetting alarm to help children stop bedwetting in few weeks. Alarms build brain and bladder connection so the child slowly earns to wakes up before they start wetting. A collection of the best bedwetting alarm include Chummie Bedwetting Alarm, Smart Bedwetting Alarm, Shield Bedwetting Alarm, Guardian Bedwetting Alarm, NewU Bedwetting Alarm and Zest Bedwetting Alarm.
In some cases, it may actually be a good idea if the child tells his/her closest sibling about the problem, but this is of course up to the child to decide. It is also important to help the child live like other children of the same age: the bladder should not decide what the child can or cannot do!