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Bedwetting is still a taboo PDF Print Email

A new survey released today by Kimberly Clark reveals that mums whose children wet the bed fear judgement and embarrassment from other parents.


75% of the 1,513 mums polled agreed that bedwetting was viewed as an embarrassing condition, despite it being almost as common as asthma or eczema . Almost 4 out of 10 of parents polled, whose children wet the bed, admitted not discussing their situation with other parents for fear of being judged as a bad parent of having their child labelled because of it.

Jenni Trent-Hughes is a family counsellor and mum who has been through this herself: "It's interesting that mums, despite communicating through everything from Twitter, to Facebook and blogs, can't talk to each other about something like bedwetting, where sharing their experience can actually help. Having been there myself I know how one can feel embarrassed and unwilling to discuss the issue or seek help. Choosing that course doesn't help the situation, in some cases can even make it worse. Often by delaying reaching out you can miss receiving advice that could improve the quality of life for all involved."

Many parents stay silent as they fear their child might be bullied or teased as a result. Aimie Turner, a 36 year old mum from St Albans, has been through the experience with her two sons 7 and 9. "Although I don't mind discussing the subject openly, I don't because I know my sons will be embarrassed and possibly teased. Rather then being seen as a normal part of growing up, it's considered an embarrassing problem. I don't think parents realise how many other families are experiencing the same thing so it has become a negative cycle of shame and fear of sharing, resulting in little support or understanding for families and especially children.'

66% of parents surveyed believed a child should ideally be dry at night by the age of 4, but in reality this is often not the case. Penny Dobson, a bedwetting expert, explains; "About one in five 4½ year olds aren't yet dry at night and some children can have bedwetting accidents up to the age of 15 or even beyond, but most children will be dry at night by the time they are 7 or 8. Despite this parents shouldn't be afraid to seek help. 30% of parents in our survey said they'd wait until their child grew out of bedwetting but if parents are concerned they should speak to their GP or health visitor".

Almost half of the parents (45%) who took part in the survey thought a child who wet the bed did so because something was worrying or upsetting them and this can sometimes be the case. "There are several other factors that can cause bedwetting, including heredity." says Penny. "Some children wet the bed because their system for storing urine in the bladder at night and waking-up and "holding-on" - is not yet fully developed. Others might not be producing enough of an important hormone, called vasopressin, which effectively "puts the kidneys to sleep" at night."
"Using absorbent sleepwear is just one of the ways parents can cope with nightly accidents."  All good pharmacists stock products such as these and will be able to advise what may be most suitable.  Penny explains. "Keeping clothing and sheets dry, they help to break the cycle of worry and anxiety, meaning parents and children can sleep with confidence."

Jenni concludes, "Hopefully, these statistics show mums that their family is not the only family by far who is being affected by this issue. It reaches so many of us and there is so much opportunity for help and support that the wise among us will put our embarrassment to one side and reach out for the sake of our sanity and our children"

This survey was concluded with 1,513 parents through between 17 and 22 February 2010.
*66% of parents thought children should be dry at night by the time they are 4, 25% by the time they are 5
*45% think that if a child is not dry at night after the age of 4, it's likely to be because they have something that is worrying or upsetting them
*30% would wait for their child to grow out of it if their child regularly wet the bed after the age of four
*75% of parents believe bedwetting is considered an embarrassing condition by others
*46% of parents surveyed has a child who wet the bed
*37% of parents whose children wet the bed, did not find it easy to talk to other parents because they felt they should have done something about it by

now or because they did want to be judged

*24% of parents whose children wet the bed, believed the reason their child wet the bed was because she/he was a deep sleeper