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Eleven year old girl still bedwetting

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Help! I have an eleven year old girl who wets the bed. I was waking her up in the middle of the night until she refused one night, and said "You can't make me!" So I bought her an alarm across the room but I don't think she's always using it every night, or if she's just shutting it off and going back to bed. I try telling her to make sure she uses the bathroom right before bed and she says "I will if I need to" and just falls asleep without going. I make her do her own laundry but that doesn't seem to help. She has a chart in her room that we keep track of but no rewards. I've been told I need to go back to waking her up and be more firm with her, but I don't get anywhere with those 2am arguements. I think she is lazy. She knows what she needs to do but doesn't do it. I think she's fighting for control. I bought her big girl pull ups but she refuses to wear them. What am I supposed to do? We've had long talks about keeping clean and being responsible but nothing works. I can't grab her by the arm and drag her to the bathroom and yank her pants down, and I can't pin her down to the floor and put pull ups on her, she'd just rip them off anyways. Any ideas? Thanks!

post #2 of 33


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lulahigley View Post
 
I think she is lazy. She knows what she needs to do but doesn't do it. I think she's fighting for control.

 

unless your relationship with her is so completely gone that you really ought to RUSH to family counseling, your 11 year old isn't wetting her bed at night because she is lazy or because she's fighting for control. She is most likely doing the very best she can't, and you shaming and humiliating her is NOT going to help.

 

Some child have bladders that mature very, very late. Even as late as 13 or 14, and there are medications that can be given. And it really doesn't mean a thing that they are older before it becomes easy for them to stay dry all night. It's just how they are made.

 

Some children start wetting the bed after a traumatic incident, such as being sexually assaulted. For some kids, it's a flag that something is very, very wrong on their lives.

 

Since this is your first post, I'm curious how you found mothering.com and if you have an idea what the core values of the site are.

 

 

post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 

We've tried medication and that didn't make a difference. Some poeple say it's biological while others say it's behavioral. I need to get to the bottom of this so I can help her overcome it. The docs would say there's nothing medically wrong with her and have ruled that out. I am supposed to do all the right things with her, like make sure she doesn't have any drinks after a certain time, make sure she goes right before bed, wake her up to go in the middle of the night, have her wear pull ups, have her help wash the bedding, etc. BUT when she refuses to cooperate in these steps, it makes it very frustrating, and I've had long talks with her about cooperating with these steps and she still doesn't want to do any of them, I need advice on helping her to do these things so she can gain more confidence, etc. She sneeks drinks after we have gone to bed, she won't wear pull ups, she won't go before bed, and she won't get up and go in the middle of the night. So you're telling me that the only thing I can do is allow her to wash her bedding every morning and do nothing else? I am about to take away her portable DVD player and CD player so she won't stay up late and zonk out later. How about a reward chart? How about Justin Beiber pajamas?

post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lulahigley View Post

How about Justin Beiber pajamas?


That's what I call cruel and unusual punishment...

 

Have you asked her how she feels about it, and what she thinks would be a good way to start solving this problem?

post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lulahigley View Post

 So you're telling me that the only thing I can do is allow her to wash her bedding every morning and do nothing else? I am about to take away her portable DVD player and CD player so she won't stay up late and zonk out later. How about a reward chart? How about Justin Beiber pajamas?


I don't understand your attitude. It's really nasty. You can do anything you want, but I don't think any of the things you are saying will help.

 

I think that starting with love and understanding is usually the best policy. There are things we control and things we don't control, and when our kids pee falls into the second category. Punishing her isn't going to change that. 

 

 

 

post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View PostThere are things we control and things we don't control, and when our kids pee falls into the second category. Punishing her isn't going to change that. 


Actually, it may well be that this IS becoming a control issue between OP and her daughter. The more Mom pushes, the more kiddo pushes back. I'd change approaches if it were my kid.

 

What does her doctor say?

 

post #7 of 33

I think in your daughter's situation, I'd be in full-blown counter-will mode. You've suggested that this might be about control, but none of your ideas about how to fix this constitute giving her control.

 

You can buy a think for the mattress to protect it against liquids.

post #8 of 33

Honestly, as hard as it is, I think the immediate priority is ending this particular power struggle. You guys seem to have locked horms and no progress can be made in that position. Disengage. Put a rubber sheet on her mattress to protect it but then totally back off for awhile.... totally. Yes, it means she'll be doing a lot of laundry and yes, it'll probably drive you crazy! However, some time off from the battle will will give both a better perspective and will allow you to revisit with more rational minds.

 

I know, it seems contrary to what you feel you should do but it was the best tip I ever got from my youngest child's occupational therapist. We didn't have bed-wetting but a host of issues that started as real physical differences and challenges but had been exacorbated by our trying to "fix" and DS trying to "control." By the age of 5, we had a full blown power war and none of us could see our way out. It is really hard to disengage when you know your child could be suffering less if they just listened to you. However, making that commitment to disengage really did increase trust and allow for us to revisit the issues as a team later.... issues that have largely been solved or successfully coped with.

 

I've used this knowledge with my eldest too. Example, I was trying to help by encouraging her to take care of her skin. I could see it was getting greasy and that she was on her way to a massive outbreak. I bought her the stuff and reminded her to use it and while I was doing that, her skin was controlled. However, she came to resent it and it became a power struggle. I chose to disengage. I stopped buying the washes and stopped talking about it completely. Within a month she had little zits everywhere and she was totally mortified. Now she asks for the products and takes care of her skin. No more zits and no more battles between us.

post #9 of 33

I agree with the poster right above me.  I would go a step further - you're stuck with the bedwetting thing, probably for a while.  What you can't fix or control, you can, at least, minimize.  Make it as easy on everyone as you can.  Put a waterproof cover on the mattress with a fitted sheet, then put another waterproof cover over it, with another fitted sheet.  When your dd wakes up wet, she can strip the top layers and chuck them in the washing machine with her jammies and then grab another top sheet and blanket and get back to sleep.  You can help her put the clean sheets and cover back over the spares the next day after she takes it out of the dryer.    

 

 

post #10 of 33

I would buy 2 or more mattress protectors and several changes of bedding. When she wets have it sitting handy so she can change it if she likes. I know people who wet the bed until they were in highschool and it was not because they wanted to. It is hard for them. Encourage her to shower in the morning and hopefully she will put her wet bedding in the washer (may need a kind reminder) 

 

I would treat it like it is not a big deal. 

post #11 of 33

OP, I hope that you didn't get scared off.  I do think that some of the later suggestions are good.  What I'm hearing from the OP is not a parent whose values don't fit in with MDC, but a very frustrated parent.  I imagine that a lot of us would be frustrated with an 11 y/o who wasn't doing those things that were likely to improve the situation especially when the consequences were unpleasant.

 

I had a control issue going with my dd10 last year over something that I knew she wanted to improve as well but she wasn't listening to anything I said.  It was really, really hard, but I backed off and basically passed dealing with it on to my dh even though he generally does less than 1% of the parenting and isn't that great with the kids.  I had reached my breaking point, though, and I wasn't helping her as a result.

 

Is there someone else in the family like dad or an aunt who can take over dealing with this issue with your dd?

post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 

Okay so things started getting better once I backed off a little. She has been doing her own laundry without being told. She started making it a week without wetting the bed and was very proud of herself. Then she started hiding it again. During the week, I used to ask her at night if she had any laundry to do and then I just let her decide for herself if she needed to wash anything. The other night I went into her room and it stunk. I told her it stunk and I asked her when the last time she wet the bed and she just shrugged her shoulders. When I left the room, she got her foot / shoe odor spray out and sprayed her whole room, I could smell it in the living room. I heard her do that a couple of nights ago too. So now what do you suggest? I guess I have to go back to checking her bed every night and confronting her with it and make sure she puts it in the wash. I don't know why she hasn't felt like doing it lately. I always help her with it and help her put her bed back together. I know everyone says it's wrong to call it laziness but what else can I assume? She is very lazy when it comes to doing most everything else that isn't fun. It doesn't seem to bother her one bit to sleep in it night after night or to go to school without showering after having wet the bed. It's such a battle and she wants to argue about it every time. She argues when I tell her she needs to wash the sheets AND the blanket AND the sheet protector. She argues about the smell, she argues about showering, I am so tired of this. Thanks for your kind responses.

post #13 of 33

Are there any special needs involved here?  I know that you said that her dr felt that it wasn't medical earlier, but I am wondering if there is something else going on b/c most 11 y/o girls are getting to the age where the care about how they look and smell.  My almost 11 y/o is still pre-pubescent so it isn't that she is starting to smell, but I know that she'd care if she did.  I'm wondering with a child that age who doesn't seem to care that she smells bad if there is some other issue.

 

Does she have any symptoms of any type of behavioral or psychological difficulties?  Have you tried the route of a psychologist?

post #14 of 33

You're understandably angry and frustrated about this.  I would be too!  I'm with Christa, you might discuss this with a child/family therapist. 

 

I'm going to share some thoughts, that are of course influenced by my biases and perspective.

 

It's significant that after you backed off she did have a week of success.  Maybe your daughter's ability to live in denial is highly developed.  For now she can firmly compartmentalize the bedwetting issue away in her brain.  It is a coping mechanism for dealing with a highly stressful situation.

 

It seems like she feels she is supposed to change the sheets and take a shower because you want her to, not because she wants to.  I would think she would be disgusted sleeping on wet sheets and would be personally motivated to take care of it.  It's important that she appears to be ignoring any natural disgust in order to continue not dealing with it. 

 

It may be that she is feels incapable and helpless to change, control and affect her life.  The only way she can feel in control is just to ignore and deny.  I'm pretty sure she's genuinely very upset about this, and that it's still a problem at her age has probably done a number on her esteem.  She probably feels pretty down about it. 

 

How are you supposed to handle this? Only going by the impression your words give, I wonder if when you speak to her about this your tone and words are angry and judgemental?  When you've talked to her have you given her a hug and said something like, "This whole bed wetting thing has been tough hasn't it? I imagine you feel pretty bad about it.  I'd like to know what you think. Could you share some of your thoughts about this with me?"   Also, "It can't feel very good inside to still be dealing with this.  Obviously I can't make you do this.  But I do want to help you get a handle on this.  But really, this is in your hands.  You're the boss of you here, and the solution is with you." 

 

If you address an incident I think it will help if you focus on how it makes her feel.  Always with compassion and gentleness, without judgement.  It's not like you told her to take the garbage out and she ignored you to watch TV. 

 

And I have no idea if any of this is true!  :D  It's just my take.

 

post #15 of 33

My 9 yr old does this as well sometimes. I notice she only wets the bed on the nights when she has water too close to her bedtime. Try limiting your DD's fluid intake to not drinking after 2 hours before bedtime and encourage her to go potty right before she lays down. That may help.

post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post

Are there any special needs involved here?  I know that you said that her dr felt that it wasn't medical earlier, but I am wondering if there is something else going on b/c most 11 y/o girls are getting to the age where the care about how they look and smell.  My almost 11 y/o is still pre-pubescent so it isn't that she is starting to smell, but I know that she'd care if she did.  I'm wondering with a child that age who doesn't seem to care that she smells bad if there is some other issue.

 

Does she have any symptoms of any type of behavioral or psychological difficulties?  Have you tried the route of a psychologist?


This was my question. My ds is 12 and has sensory issues and this playsi nto this nightwetting issues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

You're understandably angry and frustrated about this.  I would be too!  I'm with Christa, you might discuss this with a child/family therapist. 

 

I'm going to share some thoughts, that are of course influenced by my biases and perspective.

 

It's significant that after you backed off she did have a week of success.  Maybe your daughter's ability to live in denial is highly developed.  For now she can firmly compartmentalize the bedwetting issue away in her brain.  It is a coping mechanism for dealing with a highly stressful situation.

 

It seems like she feels she is supposed to change the sheets and take a shower because you want her to, not because she wants to.  I would think she would be disgusted sleeping on wet sheets and would be personally motivated to take care of it.  It's important that she appears to be ignoring any natural disgust in order to continue not dealing with it. 

 

It may be that she is feels incapable and helpless to change, control and affect her life.  The only way she can feel in control is just to ignore and deny.  I'm pretty sure she's genuinely very upset about this, and that it's still a problem at her age has probably done a number on her esteem.  She probably feels pretty down about it. 

 

How are you supposed to handle this? Only going by the impression your words give, I wonder if when you speak to her about this your tone and words are angry and judgemental?  When you've talked to her have you given her a hug and said something like, "This whole bed wetting thing has been tough hasn't it? I imagine you feel pretty bad about it.  I'd like to know what you think. Could you share some of your thoughts about this with me?"   Also, "It can't feel very good inside to still be dealing with this.  Obviously I can't make you do this.  But I do want to help you get a handle on this.  But really, this is in your hands.  You're the boss of you here, and the solution is with you." 

 

If you address an incident I think it will help if you focus on how it makes her feel.  Always with compassion and gentleness, without judgement.  It's not like you told her to take the garbage out and she ignored you to watch TV. 

 

And I have no idea if any of this is true!  :D  It's just my take.

 



Wonderful suggestions!
post #17 of 33

many many hugs for you.  I also have an 11yo dd. Our issue is encoporesis, which means poop not bedwetting, but I could have written your post above.  It can be so hard.  I've gone through many many approaches and now we are seeking hypnotherapy because she finally shared a specific incident (fear of pain) that is causing her to continue to have problems.  Sounds like your dd is making some progress.  I hope she is able to continue with trying to help herself and trust you to help her.

post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 

Yes she is doing better. I think she has been enabled her whole life and people have felt sorry for her, too sorry. And also not holding her accountable. We have switched to changing the sheets in the morning while it's still fresh on her mind and remembers wetting the bed. Also there is no chance of her forgetting to wash her sheets that night after we come home and then not having time to do it. Her bedtime is 9 and we cut off drinks at dinner which is usually 6 or 6:30. But if she is late to bed, she has to go to bed early the next night, so she just won't say anything about it and just spray her room, which I took away because it's not healthy to be breathing foot spray. She has undergone therapy and counciling but they find nothing emotionally or developmentally wrong with her. Thank you all for your kind words and support.

post #19 of 33

I have an eight year old who has always wet the bed.  One thing that we recently found out that was impacting the situation is that he has been severely constipated all of his life.  For him, it was normal...so I never knew.  We eat beans probably 4-5 times per week... he eats tons of fruits and veggies... whole grain bread, etc... so I had no idea.   This may be TMI, but after having to use an enema to clean him out, he didn't wet the bed.  The stool in the colon presses on the bladder at night which makes things worse.

 

I also bought him this book which he really liked.  It's written for the kids, not for the parents.  "Waking Up Dry."  

 

You can also buy a relatively inexpensive (but useful) bed wetting alarm on Amazon called WetStop3.  Cheaper than Medem, but works as well.

post #20 of 33

I am intrigued Umsami (sorry if this is a hijack).

DS is 7yo & still wet at night. He is good about wearing a night-diaper, though, but may not be forever. Even his 3yo little brother is dry at night.

Your constipated son -- did he used to take ages to go to the loo, or did he just not go? How did you realise constipation was a problem? 

 

DS is the only one in the family who takes like 10 minutes for a poo, (the rest of us are quite quick about it) which I thought was just normal for him, but now I wonder...

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