Coping with Bedwetting: Dealing with Bullies

By: Sue LaPointe

Having a child with bedwetting issues is stressful to begin with. You know you are already dealing with your child’s sense of inadequacy, your own loss of sleep, and the general stress of how to fix this problem. You wouldn’t think anything could actually make this worse- until your child starts getting invited to sleepovers.

Have you been there? Smuggling a “big boy" diaper into a backpack, and trying to reassure him that no one else would know?

It’s like a nightmare where you send your baby out into the jungle full of hungry lions wearing nothing but steak scented under-roos. And guess what? It could get worse. Because, of course, one of the boys may find out, tease your child, and send his already-fragile self-esteem downhill. Kids can be really cruel. It’s no leap to see them teasing your child because of a hereditary problem that he can’t control. And all you want to do is to figure out a way to protect your child from teasing, and let him have a good time along with the other boys.

How Do I Protect My Child From Bullies?

The first thing is to listen to his woes, and let him know that you understood how badly teasing can hurt. He was right to be upset! And then remind him, for the hundredth time, that bed-wetting is not his fault. His uncle wet the bed until he was 12. Remind him that because he is such a sound sleeper, it’s more difficult for him to wake himself up than for some of his friends. Finally, talk about how you will handle the next sleep over invitation.

After all this, maybe he still wants to spend the night at his buddies’ houses, and is planning to go on an overnight with his Boy Scout troop. And frankly, you’re a bit concerned. You really want him to enjoy all the activities of other boys his age, but still want to protect your child from teasing and bullies. So this is the strategy our family came up with.

I advise the adult in charge of our son’s problem.

These people are all our friends, or at least well know acquaintances, and I think I can rely on their help. I’ll ask Sam’s mom, or Kenneth’s dad to make sure that he can change in the bathroom before bedtime. Any parent should be able to create some distraction and make this happen.

And if one of the boys does discover that he has a bed-wetting problem, we have rehearsed his responses. I actually made him practice saying these lines to me again and again until I could see that he looked more confident saying things like:

• You’re right. I wear a diaper to bed because I am a very sound sleeper. You’re my friend, so I know you won’t tease me about it.

• You shouldn’t tease your friends.

• Only bullies tease sound sleepers for wearing diapers. I don’t think you are mean enough to keep teasing me.

Will this work? I hope so. Like you, I just want to protect my son, and get him through this time. I know he will outgrow it eventually. I’m just trying to protect his self-esteem while he does that.

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