We are at a loss over what to do about our daughter's bedwetting. It comes and it goes and has been a consistant problem for her.
She moved in at 7, wearing diapers to bed and wetting her pants daily at home and at summer camp. The other kids started laughing at her and calling her a baby, and she decided to stop the wetting during the day, which she did after the first day the kids started teasing her.
We took away the night diapers and have made her responsible for her mess. At first, she hated the clean-up and it put an end to the wetting. Then it came back. We have tried ignoring it. We have tried talking about it. We have tried bribery and sleep-overs. We have tried punishment, like not letting her sleep with stuffed animals, because they keep getting peed on and not allowing desserts so that her bladder can get healthy. We have tried star charts. We have tried letting her decide what she wants to do about it. We have tried meditation and acupressure. We have tried waking her and taking her to the bathroom. Everything works for her for a short amount of time and then the wetting starts again. Once she gets a reward that she gets to sleep with, she pees on it. She gets used to the clean up and does it without being asked, practically singing. It seems like she gets used to the rewards and doesn't care. She gets used to the concequences and they don't bother her. If it is about attnetion, ignoring it or paying attention for a month straight get the same results. We have now tried everything except for spending $100 on an alarm, because we don't think it will work anyway.
We really feel that this is intentional. After being dry for a month, she told us she would need diapers again and when we said no she started wetting. She'll decide what she wants to wear based on whether she thinks she'll wet herself or not. Once she dumped water in her bed and told us she wet it. She has created nests in her bed of things she is willing to clean (wet) and things she is not willing to clean (dry) pushed aside.
She is now almost nine and has gotten down to wetting two to three times per month until the past week and a half. She wets every night. When we go to wake her up, she may be wide awake in a fresh warm stinky puddle, just relaxing, perfectly content. I had a chat with her a few nights ago and told her that I think she knows why she wets and wanted to discuss with her reasons to stay dry. She got a weird smile when I said she knows a reason to wet like she knows exactly what it is and thinks it is pretty good and satisfying. Also, if we ask her why she wets, she'll use all kinds of excuses except for the one about being asleep and not waking up! She'll say she was thinking about something scary. She forgot to get up. She was tired. She was trying to hold it, but she couldn't, etc.
This weekend we bought her rubber rain pants and told her, "These pants are ugly and uncomfortable. It is your choice. If you want to stay dry, stay dry. If you want to wet, wear the plastic pants so at least your sheets won't stink." We thought she would hate the pants and want to stay dry. Well, she likes the pants and has chosen to wear them and wet in them and hooray now her sheets are dry besides! And embarrassment? Oh no! She'll tell her grandmother she is wetting the bed when the woman calls and says how's it going.
Our daughter is smart and beautiful and is doing so well and making so many improvements. She seems to have it all going for her. We really think she can do anything she sets her mind to, but we cannot figure out why she insists on maintaining this one behavior. Is it a control issue? An attachment issue? Is it her making sure we know she is "bad" when she is doing well? I have a sense that it may be a sexualized behavior. It is likely, although not for sure, that she was molested before the age of four although she will never admit it or does not remember (she lived in a home with 4 uncles who have been convicted of child molestation, so we can assume the worst I think). Anyway, my gut feeling is that urinating on herself is somehow pleasurable or at least comforting. Is there such a thing?
What else can we do to help her resolve this when she has zero desire to help herslef?
THey have to keep the alarm in/on for it to work. We got it for our son, and he wouldn't keep in in his underwear. We never really made a big deal out of it. We talked with him before getting the alarm, he thought it was what he wanted to try.But decided he didn't like it. We basically put him in control. We aske dhim about going to the Doc.'s and whether he wanted ot try the medicine, etc... Even the urologist spoke with him, he was about 8, and said do you want this because you really want it, or is Mom/Dad just frustrated, pressuring you etc... The DDAVP worked well for him. His was not about control. Just a very deep sleeper. Even to wake him in the middle of the night didn't help. He did take care of his mess, the only time we got angry was when he'd stuff the sheets in the bottom of the hamper, under all the other dirty clothes and not tell anyone. (When he tried to hide it) I know it's frustrating, we lived with this for over 5 yrs. We went through lots and lots of plastic sheets. But the more we made it a big deal, the worse it was. Good luck. Shelley
Just as another idea, it might be a control issue, but it could also be related to her sexual abuse. Maybe a wet bed was the only thing that kept the 4 uncles away and the idea of being dry and therefore vulnerable is scary to her. If it is related to that, maybe she would quit it if you installed a door alarm or something like that?
We have made such a big deal out of such a little thing and now there's no turning back. I have that black cloud of frustration and disappointment hanging over my head today.
I have a really great mom skill. I am able to make any disciplinary action or punishment sound like a natural consequence of things very nicely without (I think) making our daughter feel badly. This skill has worked miracles on all other behavioral issues and I think has been good for my relationship with my daughter besides. Most of the time, I feel like super mom.
But not today...
I talked to my partner about T. not wanting to be a big girl right now and how that can be applied to other parts of her life. We thought about how to discuss that and thought it was, in fact, the perfect plan for her. We thought, well, nothing else works, what do we have to lose?
So, last night over dinner I told T. that we know she can do better with the wetting and are feeling very frustrated because we want to help her, but she doesn't seem to care. I told her we want her to always be her best and not settle for less for herself or from herself and that we know her best is a dry girl and that she is more than capable of achieving that whenever she wants. She deserves to be dry. I told her we have given her the wet or dry choice several times and she has proven that her preference is wet. However, that is damaging to herself, because she is missing out on all kinds of choices (listed here) and it is not sanitary etc. etc. I said, given that we all know you have made this choice to be wet, it seems to us that maybe what you want is to be younger than you are. (And here she nodded and smiled her agreement voluntarilly as if this was her reason all along -- perhaps she is still waiting for the diapers back). I said, being younger means you don't get to make as many decisions for yourself. You do not get to be in charge of as many things, so from now on... we are in charge of what you wear, what you eat, what movies you watch (and they'll only be little girl movies now) and how you spend your time at home. If you want to be our little girl sometimes that is perfectly fine. When you want to be our big girl, just let us know and you can have all your choices back, because I know you can handle them. But the thing is, you're not going to be allowed to pick and choose your favorites of both worlds. I also tried to make it clear that there are positive and negative younger child behaviors. She is always welcome to sit on our laps and get lots of hugs and cuddles. She is always welcome to read, play with or watch things for younger kids and I will carry her around sometimes for as long as I can no matter how old she is. Peeing on herself, however, is not an acceptable little kid behavior, so for anything else she wants to change it will have to stop. It's her responsibility and in her hands. She seemed very satisfied with this conversation and new set of rules and seemed more determined than she has been in a long time to stay dry. She tried to promise us that she would not wet that night, but we told her it's not for us, so not to make promises.
She woke up this morning and peed on herself before getting out of bed... AGAIN! Then she said, "If I'm a little girl, why do I have to go to school?" I said because being a little girl or a big girl isn't about staying home and playing all day. It's about making your own choices about things and right now you are showing us that you do not want to do that, so this is what you are wearing after your shower and this is what you are taking to school.
GREAT!!!! =( This feels like a big parenting faux pas. Like everything else having to do with peeing, she does not care.
Maybe we are too strict and expect too much, but here's my philosophy... When our daughter becomes an adult, nobody is going to care if she had a rough early childhood when she does something illegal or just socially unacceptable. Her peers now are the same way. If she wets her pants, they'll begin harrassing her without a thought to why she did it. Our job is to help her be her best and hope that she will become a strong, happy, law-abiding citizen. So, I pity her past enough to do everything I can to help her through things, but not enough to enable or allow her to pity herself and feel that her negative behaviors are crutches she can hold on to. Peeing on herself because she feels like it at almost nine-years old is just not acceptable no matter what her reasons. I just wish I knew how to help her through this one and I don't. She could not care less.
wenrl -
Maybe you just hit the nail on the head. She doesn't care, but you do. Its your problem, not hers. Someone told me that we, as parents, can't control what goes in or what comes out. That is the one thing children can control no matter what. Maybe your daughter likes the attention she is getting.
In my situation, my daughter was still wetting the bed when she came home. We just put pull ups on her and didn't make a big deal out of it. She eventually quit. In her case that was the right thing because if she knew that we were bothered by it, she would have kept it up.
I know each situation is different. Just wanted to pass along what worked for us.
We read the books about special needs and behavior problems. We read the books about bedwetting. There seems to be a lack of books about bedwetting as a choice. As parents who learned to parent from psychologists and the mistakes and successes of strangers, we felt had to try to find ways to deal with the bedwetting on our own. We couldn't find our situation documented anywhere. Finally we found one thing about kids who like to wet and wear diapers. It told us they sometimes grow into adults who like to wet and wear diapers with fetishes that made us uncomfortable. It told us to be strict and do what we could not to allow it. We tried. We failed. It was all we found about a child like ours and it scared us. We made things worse. So, to anyone who tries to find solutions in books and can't find one for this problem -- learn from our mistake -- just go by the bedwetting for kids who don't like to be wet books. Just ignore it and forget about it. I really wish that's what we had done.
T. definately wants to control everything in the house lately by wetting, and for the first time on anything, we gave up. We've told her "from now on, your wetting is all yours. Here's the diapers you want." We don't want to know if she is wet or dry. We offer no punishments and no promises. All promises of slumber parties etc. are gone. The only rule about wetting is to keep it to herself and she gets one diaper a night. If she wets it the moment she puts it on like she used to, we don't even want to know and she'll just have to wear it until it's time to shower, because we won't give her more. We are done. We are trying our best to refuse to care. When she says, "I'm wet. I'm dry. My sheets are clean. My sheets are dirty" or whatever, as she still tries to tell us, we just say, "Whatever. That's your business"
Hopefully, eventually she'll make up her mind that she is tired of that behavior. But in the meantime, our new lack of caring hasn't helped. Now, she has forgotten how to get dressed, how to put on socks. And again, we tell her to handle it herself, which makes her mad. She hasn't tantrumed in months and now tantrums over every stupid little thing. This morning she freaked out over wearing earings to school -- and she has never worn earings to school to begin with. I hope that means this is working and she is just mad that she can't manipulate us through wetting and is trying to find something else to bug us, but it's a bummer we didn't just let the wetting go in the first place.
Things were going so well before the wetting started again. We were so proud and felt so good about how everyone was doing. The taller you are, the harder the fall is true. This whole things is so discouraging since we thought we were on such a good track with her.
How frustrated you must be. :( I have no answers for you, but I do believe that she is looking for something else to control you with. Its almost a battle of wills, and they can battle for a long long time (I know you don't want to hear that). Living with these children is a roller coaster ride.
Don't be too hard on yourself. We just want what is best for our children. We want them to have a happy, successful life. Its so tough to watch them make choices that lead down the wrong road.
Keep us posted on how it goes. and good luck. We are right here with you.
hi wenrl,
it does sound like control.
I have no advice, but the first thing that popped into my head was...hmmm...what changes just happened...and well....alot of guys just legalized.
even though it seems like a happy time, our kids have mixed emotions about it. Plus, they would never tell us, because they wouldnt want to hurt our they might not even be aware of it themselves..but those things do matter to them, deeply.
so maybe the legalization stuff is just setting in with her......and she is regressing some.
i dont know, but thats the first thing that came to my mind....when i look in regression in my kids, or anything that seems like a set back...i look to see what changes are going on....even if it doesnt seem like a big thing to me...change really freaks our kids out sometimes.
just thought id mention that you guys went through a major change.....and maybe thats the cause....she might not even be conciously aware of it, to even talk about it....
but that was my thought.
oh, one more thing....what helped her stop the last time?..i would do the same thing....over and over again......she will probably stop least we can hope.
but it seems more like a time issue, in time, when the dust settles over the lagalization, and things get back to normal for her, she will probably give up the control again.
Yeah, I was thinking about the legalization thing too, but the emotions are so weird. The first week she was just thrilled to be adopted and seemed absolutely in love with us and perfect. Then the wetting started, but she had a great attitude about it and seemed very pleased with us and herself and being wet. It was just odd and makes me wonder about attachment and how honest she is about feelings with us.
We try to be super cool about all her feelings and encourage her to talk about anything she likes. We know that she misses her birth family and has fantasies and wishes she was still with them, because we encourage her to talk about all of these things and show no hurt feelings or jealousy about it. We just tell her that although we are so happy to have her as our daughter all of those feelings are very normal and we would feel the same way if we were her. Normally, we have a really good open relationship, so even when there are big changes, we are blown away when her behavior takes a flying leap backwards.
However, things are already getting better. Although, she does try to talk about things having to do with wetting still. Last night she was trying to make deals etc. and I just told her I would not talk about it anymore and to please stop bringing it up. We have to keep reminding her that her body and what she does with it is not our business. But at least she did not throw anymore tantrums over it since yesterday morning. That's an improvement.
hi wenrl,
im sure shes psyched that she is with you, and i dont doubt that she doesnt love you.
but with some of our kids, even though we 'legalized' and they are now in a forever family...yeaaa...
it still means that they will never go back to their birthfamily, and they are saying goodbye to their old life, which sometimes, is very sad and scary for them.
childrens language is their behavior, so there is somthing going on that she isnt verbalizing, probably cause she doesnt know how, via behaviors.
anyway, just thought id say, even though she is happy to be with you and loves, it also means that her past life is finally over, there is no turning back.
so it also could be a sad time too.
Nothing more to do, but I just have to vent... yesterday night T. had a babysitter. She loves this sitter! She talked about her all day, cleaned her room, got dressed up and did "paperwork" about their night before the sitter came. By "paperwork" I mean she wrote a list and drew pictures of everything they were going to do together. She called it "paperwork." By the time the sitter came, T. had painted her nails and was carrying a purse and wearing a hat, so that her hair wold not get out of place. We thought, how cute it was that she wanted to be so grown-up and maybe that meant she would think about peeing herself as a hobby not being so appropriate for such a big girl.
We told the sitter that T. could stay up until we got home, because we did not want her to be embarrassed by wearing diapers to bed. We did not want to get into giving T. a bedtime diaper.
The sitter took T. out for pizza and when they got home, T. wanted to get ready for bed. She directed the sitter to OUR ROOM, opened our closet and pointed to the tippy top shelf where we thought we were hiding the diapers. She requested the sitter give her one and told her she wears them to bed now. The sitter did. T and the sitter sat on the couch not more than 10 feet from the bathroom and watched cartoons until we got home two hours later.
We got home, asked T. to use the bathroom before going to bed, but guess what? T. had sat right next to her babysitter on the couch, wide awake, 10 feet from the bathroom and peed her pants long ago. She was wrapped in a blanket, fully dressed in snuggly pajamas and sitting in her own urine quite comfortably thank you. The sitter, who we mistakingly had not clued in to T's little fetish, because we did not want to embarrass our child (who clearly cannot be embarrassed I guess), had no idea. "We just said well, I guess it is too late," and sent her to bed without another word. She went without peep or complaint and has just spent another nine hours marinating in urine quite calm and happy. Now, I did not wet my bed or pants since the age of two, so I don't really remember, but isn't this supposed to be uncomfortable?
I am absolutely embarrassed and repulsed. I feel like this crazy behavior deserves a crazy response, but since I don't know what that is, I'm shutting my mouth and doing nothing while I think to myself that my daughter is completely gross and quite frankly, I do not want to be around her right now.
dog crap in the back yard one day and ate things could be worse.....but now anytime he complains about something tasting too bad to eat I always say, it has to taste better then dog poop....
You're right, it could be worse. Kid's really can do the darndest things I guess huh?
Thank you for sharing.
hi wenrl,
i know with alot of kids, the urine actually is warm and they LIKE IT!!!! uch!!!!!
but its not as uncommon as people think that kids like the feeling of their warm urine.
not sure if she was sexual abused when she was younger, if so, that is very common and the reason for the urine is to keep people away.
was she snuggliing with the babysitter? maybe it was just to close for comfort.
both my sons due urinate. its more out of laziness (makes me crazy) but i just dont make a big deal out of it...for some reason it doesnt really bother me.
my younger son wets every night, i just get him up, clean him up and thats the end (hes 7)
i know there are ways to handle this, (like cleaning their own sheets and stuff) but for me, i guess, i just let it go. Its one of those things...
my son is so embarressed that he has to wear a pull up though, that when his babysitter comes, he puts his pull up and jammies on himself privatly..
anyway, like rindava said...."it could be worse".....eating do poo poo....
im still trying to figure out how to stop my child from picking his nose and eating it.....uchhhh
that bothers me more then the
T. does not eat boogers, but that wouldn't bother me so much. I think a lot of kids do that and eventually they realize it isn't gonna win them any cool points and they lose the taste for it, if you'll pardon the pun. I hope it is the same with peeing.
IT is likely that T. was sexually abused, but nobody knows for sure. There was definately sexual abuse taking place in her birth home. However, T. doesn't seem to be uncomforatble about being snuggly at all. Also, she may have an issue with men she does not know, but not women and especially not women she does know. She does not snuggle with the babysitter, however, so I would be shocked if it was a too close for comfort thing. I think it is more of a lazy thing and a she finds it pleasant to pee herself thing. Oh, and of course, there is the she doesn't care what people think of that behavior thing mixed in there too. That is actually pretty odd, because T. is so sensitive to what others think. She stopped wetting her pants the second kids started making fun of her and she will never have a tantrum outside of the house and gets really embarrassed if anybody knows that she does that. God forbid another kid calls her "mean". She'll cry for a week. But wearing a diaper and peeing herself at night seems to be a source of pride for her. If family is staying over from out of state, she'll wake them up first to let them know she wet herself.
I read that although medically most kids quite wetting at night before 5, they don't mind wetting until that age of 7 or 8. Although T. is on target academically and socially, for the most part, she is probably delayed emotionally or in whatever way that makes her not care about this right now. It's just so much harder to take when she used to act like she cared and was doing quite well not wetting. She can be dry, at least most of the time. She just doesn't want to anymore.
I know everyone will tell you that kids don’t wet the bed on purpose but I know for a fact that’s not true I wet the bed as a kid and I still do when I was 8 years old I woke up one night needing to pee and thought about doing it for a wile befor so when I woke up I had on a pair of blue footy pajamas and I just let go I. The bed and it felt so good that I started doing it every night I told my mom that it was on accident I didn’t know why I liked the way it felt to pee my bed and sleep in it I just know I did I wish back then I could of told my parents what I was feeling but never did I still do it a couple times a week maby talk to her and see if she is feeling the same way or maby wants to we’re diapers because she is a diaper lover or adult baby I would talk to her and see if she want to we’re or wet tell her that you understand and support her no matter the reason I didn’t have the seaport and had to figure to all out on my own thow I still do it and always will I’m much happier and I turned out just fine with 2 kids so it doesant affect the quality of life hope all works out for you keep us posted