A child who wets the bed may feel self-conscious about it, so it’s important to handle it sensitively with siblings. Talk openly in a calm, matter-of-fact way and explain that, like lots of kids, their sibling wets the bed. It’s normal to wet the bed, not her fault, and nothing to be ashamed of; however, bed-wetting is private. Knowing more about what she’s going through may help them be more understanding and help her feel more at ease.
My child’s siblings tease her about bed-wetting. What can I do?
Tell them that teasing isn’t acceptable. Remind them that their sibling can’t control wetting the bed. It happens when he’s fast asleep.
Ask them to remember a time when they were blamed for something they couldn’t control. How did it feel? Encourage them to put themselves in their sibling’s shoes. Depending on their age, you could even get them draw a picture or write a story in which they imagine how their sibling feels.
Explain that staying dry at night happens at different times for everyone. If there is a milestone their sibling reached early, you could talk about that.
Tell your kids that although bed-wetting isn’t a secret, it is private. It’s important to stress this to all members of the family, so that your child who wets the bed feels secure that his privacy won’t be violated. Make it clear that it isn’t appropriate to talk to people outside the family about it.
Your children probably don’t intend to be hurtful. Their teasing may be a way of saying “I don’t know how to handle this situation.”
Ask your child’s siblings how they feel
Try to find a quiet time to talk about how they feel about their sibling’s bed-wetting. They may:
- Feel that their sibling gets more attention because she wets the bed
- Worry that their friends will find out and tease them for it
- Resent their sibling for disturbing their sleep if the bed-wetting wakes them up
- See that their sibling feels upset and anxious, and feel powerless to help
Any of these feelings can come out in the form of teasing. Remind your children that it’s okay to feel angry, worried, resentful, or jealous. But it’s not okay to act on these feelings in a way that hurts others.
If your child’s bed-wetting takes up a lot of your time and energy, try to set aside separate, uninterrupted time for your other children.
My child gets embarrassed when I bring up bed-wetting. How can I talk about it sensitively?
Don’t force him to talk openly about it if he isn’t comfortable. But let him know that although bed-wetting is private, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Remind him that bed-wetting is very common. About 5 million kids in the United States wet their bed, including 20 percent of 5-year-olds, 10 percent of 7-year-olds, and 5 percent of 10-year-olds, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
There are lots of children’s books about bed-wetting, from simple picture books to chapter books. Many explain bed-wetting in a gentle, easy-to-understand way and may help your child feel less self-conscious. They may also help her siblings understand what she’s going through. You could try reading some to your child and his siblings and use them to start a conversation about bed-wetting.