I had a call from a father in Canada the other day. He said he had purchased our wireless alarm last year and his son had subsequently lost the Urosensor™ so he purchased a replacement and now his son had ‘lost’ the whole alarm. He wanted to know whether this happened a lot with children who use bedwetting alarms.
My answer was no, but I was curious about what he meant by ‘lost’.
He sighed and said: “I don’t think my son wants to use the alarm because it wakes him up, so he has thrown it out.” I hadn’t heard of child doing this before but it raised a really important point: a child must be ready and want to stop their bedwetting before successful treatment can begin.
When I asked him how old his son was and how often the bedwetting occurred, he told me his son was nine years old and he wet the bed 2-3 times a night, 365 days a year! My heart went out to him. Over the years he and his wife had gone through thousands of dollars in disposable diapers and nightly changes of bed linen daily. Their son had started using the alarm last year, at their suggestion, and it was working…but in the end he wasn’t motivated enough to continue the treatment and cure his bedwetting.
In this case, the boy has no siblings - so there is no incentive for him to be like a brother or sister who don’t wet the bed. I asked the father whether his son went on school camp or sleepovers. He said he didn’t and his son wasn’t bothered about this. These parents are very supportive and do not attribute any blame for their son’s condition. But they are exhausted and desperate for him to stop bedwetting, for their and his sake.
So, what to do??
The first thing is, at 9 years of age, a child is definitely old enough to take responsibility for the consequences of his or her condition. This does not mean they should be punished, because they can’t help it. But if they are given the task of changing their bed linen on a daily basis, as part of sharing the household chores, then they gain an awareness of the workload that can be reduced if they are able to stop bedwetting. This may act as an incentive to undertake treatment.
Alternatively, if a child still wears disposable diapers at night which are paid for by the parents and if the child gets an allowance or pocket money, it may be reasonable to ask them to make a contribution towards this expense. If they are able to stop their bedwetting with an alarm treatment programme, then they have the inducement of extra pocket money.
Another motivation is the freedom to be able to go on camp or sleepovers without the embarrassment or worry of bedwetting when they are away from home. In this case, however, the child was not perturbed by missing out on such opportunities.
In this instance it may be helpful for parents to paint a picture of how much fun it is to share the company of friends and schoolmates outside of home, based on their own childhood experiences. Another thing that parents can discuss with their bedwetting child is the sense of achievement and confidence he or she will get when they set themselves the goal of curing their bedwetting, do the work with an alarm, and achieve their goal. It will give them the confidence that they can work hard and achieve other things they may want in life.
The first step towards successful bedwetting treatment is to sit down with your child when they’re in a receptive mood. Talk about the bedwetting issue, and emphasise the social and personal rewards they’ll get by treating it.
Letting them know that they will always have your support, no matter what the outcome, will make the journey easier.