Bedwetting and parent guilt: How to overcome feelings of failure and provide positive reinforcement
Bedwetting is a really common issue that affects a lot of children, with research showing that up to 20% of five-year-olds still have trouble staying dry at night. But even though it's so common, bedwetting can be a major source of stress and embarrassment, both for your child and you!
When bedwetting happens, it's easy to feel like you're not doing a good enough job, but remember that your child's bedwetting isn't anybody's fault and that there are ways to deal with it to reduce those guilty feelings.
My child is 8 years old and I can't tell you how many times I doubted and questioned myself over and over again... What am I doing wrong? Why is this affecting my child? I felt (and still do!) like I'm not doing enough and am failing my child... In theory I understand that this isn't mine or his fault but it really is hard at times...
We've tried many things and one strategy that helped us with my son's bedwetting is positive reinforcement. We, as a whole family, have been acknowledging and rewarding my son's progress as he works towards achieving dry nights. I found that positive reinforcement is a very powerful tool for encouragement and promoting positive behaviour. It also helped me accept the situation and reduced my feeling of guilt!
Here are some tips you could try to implement positive reinforcement to help your child overcome bedwetting:
Celebrate success. When your child manages to have a dry night, make sure to celebrate their achievement! This can be as simple as giving them a high-five or a hug, or you could start a chart or sticker system to help them track their progress.
Focus on effort. Rather than just focusing on whether your child is wetting the bed or not, try to pay attention to the effort they're putting into managing the issue. Praise them for trying to use the bathroom before bed or for waking up to use the bathroom during the night. You can use a sticker chart to track the quantity of water drank throughout the day and celebrate when they come back from school with an empty water bottle.
No punishment. It's really important to avoid punishing your child when they wet the bed. Punishment can make them feel ashamed or guilty and that can actually make the bedwetting worse. Instead, try to be calm and supportive and focus on finding solutions together.
Small rewards. Offering small rewards can be a great way to motivate your child to work towards having dry nights. It doesn't have to be anything big - a sticker, a small toy or a treat can go a long way! Just make sure the reward is something that's meaningful to your child.
Be consistent. Consistency is key when it comes to positive reinforcement. Make sure you're consistently praising your child's efforts and progress and that you're following through with any rewards you've promised.
Make bedwetting accidents easy to clean up. The easier the cleaning process is, the calmer you will be. One of the products that make bedwetting easier is 100% waterproof PeapodMat. It stays on top of the bedsheet without straps or flaps, making cleaning easy and simple. Older children can take the wet PeapodMat off and replace it with a clean one. It's that easy and promotes independence. PeapodMats are also soft and cosy so you don't feel guilty that your child is laying on some uncomfortable disposable plastic sheet!
Remember, bedwetting is a really common issue that lots of children (and their parents) deal with. However you feel at times, remember that you are not alone and many parents share your struggles and emotions. You are doing enough!
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