Recently, we came across the blog post of one very brave young man on the ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence in the UK). Connor, aged 16 wrote an intelligent and articulate post about his feelings around his bedwetting problem.
Connor mentions that, “for much of my childhood I wore nappies to bed which may seem a trivial thing to get upset about, but I became very worried that somehow all my friends would know, even though there was no way they could find out”.
He goes on to say, “when I stopped wearing nappies it was good in the longer term, but hard to get into a new routine… if I woke up wet in the middle of the night, there was no way I could go back to sleep without getting up and changing, which meant I had less sleep, but if I slept through until morning, it was always a rush to get changed and clean in time”.
Finally he says, “one of the biggest issues is the stigma surrounding bedwetting, which doesn’t exist with other conditions – for example I knew people at school with things like asthma and diabetes and they quite happily talked about it”.
For me this raises the key issues we hear at great deal about here at Brolly Sheets; the “shame factor” and the “disruption factor”. We wrote about these recently and our experience tells us that younger children share the exact same worries every bit as much - even if they can’t articulate it as well as Connor.
But to take a slightly deeper look at what Connor is saying we see two additional elements worth discussing. Let’s call them the “baby factor” and the “yuck factor” and these underscore the crux of a bedwetting child’s shame.
In an age of TV advertising that talks about being “a big kid now”, our little ones are often keener than mustard to distance themselves from being “babies”. Every parent knows that if you ask an average six year old their age, you’ll get the stock reply “six and a half” or “six and three quarters” because those partial years really matter to them.
Resentment for the “baby factor” can show up really early with many parents being confronted by their child refusing nighttime nappies. Making an unwilling child wear them sends a very confusing message; “you’re a big kid who should stop wetting the bed, but you’re really still a baby because only babies still wear nappies”.
And yes the “yuck factor”, adds to the shame. As Connor points out, diabetes and asthma are readily discussed but somehow uncontrolled urination is still seen as “yucky”.
If you’re a parent struggling with either the “baby factor” or the “yuck factor”, Brolly Sheets can really help; our easy to use, 100% waterproof bedding gives you attractive and hygienic “big kid” solutions for nighttime bedwetting.
Meantime, I’d like to applaud Connor for having the courage to express his feelings so publically. I think he’s a young man with a very bright future, and he has every reason to feel tremendously proud of himself.
Sleep easy, Diane.