I'm the sole caretaker of my 8 year old sister, who needs diapers. Help me out! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 08-26-2013, 10:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey all,

 

I have a sister who will turn 9 next month. I became her primary caretaker this year after some issues with her dad and mom. We get along great and I have the added bonus of working at home, which makes looking after her much easier.

 

However, a few days after moving in, she developed a wetting problem. At first, it started off as a bedwetting problem at night, which increased in frequency until she wet the bed pretty much every night. However, she started wetting during the day as well, which had me worried. I did some digging online and found out that her situation could be caused by stress – as a result of moving away and being separated from her parents (whom she misses dearly). She told me that she can’t feel anything when she wet herself, and at night, she would somehow dream that she was the toilet or shower, which subsequently led to wet sheets in the morning. She didn't have such accidents at all before she moved in with me.

 

Here’s the thing – her wetting continued (both day and night), and became worse as time went on. I couldn’t keep washing wet sheets and cleaning dirty floors and furniture all the time, so I discussed with her the idea of wearing protection.  The idea was met with some resistance and protests but I managed (somehow!) to convince her that it would be better for both of us. I got her some pull-ups initially, but she soaked those through and caused them to leak, so we settled for Pampers diapers. She’s a small kid and fits in the larger sizes easily, but she can’t manage on her own so I put those on for her.

 

Fast forward eight months later – she’s still in diapers, but she’s a much happier kid now after settling in. She doesn’t like having to wear diapers, but feels that it’s much better than waking up in a cold, clammy bed. There hasn’t been any improvement. Her diapers are almost always soaked in the morning, and we have the occasional wet pull-up during the day.

 

I’m kind of worried about it. Obviously she still needs diapers now because she hasn’t had a dry day in the past 6-7 months, but she’s growing up and I’m afraid it could affect her development. In the summer she was perfectly content sitting in her wet morning diaper while watching cartoons, until I told her to change. I know she’s trying her best to stay dry but it just isn’t happening at the moment. I don’t want to remove her protection yet because it’ll just add undue stress which would make her feel terrible about herself again.

 

So yeah, it’s kind of a dilemma I’m facing. Any help, advice and opinions will be appreciated!

 

Thank you ;)

 

EDIT: Yes, we did go to the doctor but did not find any physical problem with her. It's probably a phase that will pass as she grows older.

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#2 of 26 Old 08-26-2013, 11:21 PM
 
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Have you taken her to see the Dr. about this?  There could be something physically wrong. 

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#3 of 26 Old 08-26-2013, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How is that neglect? I had a full discussion with her that came to an agreeable conclusion that it would be beneficial for both parties. She agreed.

 

Also, I took her to a GP once, and the doc didn't find anything abnormal physically. She (the doctor) stated that it was probably a phase as a result of the stuff that she's been going through.

 

Also, I'm real.

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#4 of 26 Old 08-27-2013, 10:18 AM
 
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What is she doing at school - wearing diapers? Doesn't anyone notice. 

OK, I will assume you are not a troll. In this case, I think the previous remark was rudely worded.

 

1. Maybe it is a result of the stress. If that is the case then she needs to see a child psychiatrist or child psychologist. She needs professional help to get through the stress and trauma that she feels. Interview the psychologist, visit 2 or 3 if possible, there are good ones and bad ones. 

2. Maybe it is a medical problem, she has a urinary infection or something else. If that is the case then she needs to see her doctor, again. Explain it is still going on and rule out medical reasons.

 

I'd start with 2. If there is nothing medically wrong, then you need option 1. 

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#5 of 26 Old 08-27-2013, 11:13 AM
 
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I agree, insist the doctor check it out, not just give an opinion without a culture for infection or anything. Find some unsweetened cranberry juice for her too (good for urinary health) and remind her to use the bathroom before bed and through the day. She's old enough to change on her own after accidents if she's not got special needs otherwise, insist she does it herself. If it still seems not physical start taking her to a child psychiatrist, going through so much she could use the help anyway and you could use the support.

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#6 of 26 Old 08-27-2013, 06:57 PM
 
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Not that I am a psychologist, but do you know how her initial potty training went?  Was she forced or punished for accidents?  You might have to potty train her again, because she needs to know if she is safe.  8-9 year olds are still children, and they need to be reminded to brush their teeth, their hair, etc.  I can see how she might be complacent about this.

 

Also, Does she not have a case worker?  I don't know much about this type of stuff, but I would think that she would need to be tracked by CPS if she was removed from her parents and her care transferred to you.  I would think then she would have access to mental health help, without it costing you money.  Maybe?

 

Hope you and she figure it out. 

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#7 of 26 Old 08-27-2013, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Let me answer some questions and clear up some assumptions.

 

1) I'm not a troll. Trust me on this one please.

 

2) I'll be getting her to the urologist ASAP. If nothing's conclusive then I'll send her to a child psychiatrist/psychologist. Her previous doc (the GP) had advised that such a situation was normal given     the circumstances, but I'm not sure if it's the case now.

 

3) She wears pullups during the day and in school, which are discreet enough to prevent them from being seen. She is able to change these herself.

 

4) Her parents were not abusive, neither was she removed from their care. They work in a very specific line of work and were posted overseas, which means they had no choice but to go over. She       doesn't have a case worker.

 

5) As far as I know, potty training went pretty smoothly and she was fully trained before preschool.

 

JamieCatheryn, thanks for the tip on cranberry juice. I'll try it out. 

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#8 of 26 Old 08-28-2013, 11:38 AM
 
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Well kids do vary in the age that they are dry at night. 8 is by no means that late. 

 

OP can I check, was she dry at night before all this happened? Is this a regression? Or is it possible that this is a long term situation, that you possibly might not have been made aware of? 

 

I think in either situation, this is absolutely not neglect and you've done and are doing all the right things. I don't see a way that this could not be a psychologically traumatic situation for an 8 year old and I don't think its rocket science that she might be struggling. To me, the fact that she is struggling with a hard situation doesn't mean she necessarily needs a psychologist. It sounds as though she has a supportive, interested, aunt and a stable family situation, which IMO goes a very long way. There is something wrong-her parents are separated from her. No psychologist can sort this out-its a reaction to a real, hard situation. I think the OP is the one best placed to see whether she is generally in need of intervention, but I don't think this on its own warrants it.

 

And why on earth would the OP be a troll? 


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#9 of 26 Old 08-28-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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Thanks for clearing up some of the information.  

I was thinking about this last night, and I read somewhere that they make bed wetting alarm pads.  The idea is the sensors alert the older child when it is getting wet, so that they can stop peeing, and get up and use the bathroom.  

Another idea is to get up in the middle of the night, and help her use the potty so that stays dry. This is essentially potty training.  

If her teacher is aware that she is experiencing a lapse in toilet training, he or she could make sure that she takes the potty breaks she needs to during the school day.  We had a teacher who would not allow our child to use the bathroom outside of designated breaks, and it caused my child to simply hold her urine all day.  So I can sympathize.  

 

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#10 of 26 Old 08-28-2013, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
 

Well kids do vary in the age that they are dry at night. 8 is by no means that late. 

 

OP can I check, was she dry at night before all this happened? Is this a regression? Or is it possible that this is a long term situation, that you possibly might not have been made aware of? 

 

Yes, she was dry at night before it all happened. She only started wetting a few days moving in with me, which slowly worsened into occasional daytime accidents as well - which is quite worrying. It could be a regression, but it's probably too early to confirm anything yet.

 

Quote:

Admin note: Posted edited to remove offensive post quoted

Your remarks are honestly quite stinging, but you do have a point - thank you. I know that a psychologist would could possibly help her better cope with her struggle. I just want to see if there's anything that I can do to help alleviate the situation before I resort to sending her to a psychologist. 

 

I've not asked her about this yet, but I feel that it could be better for her to talk to somebody who she knows, rather than have to talk to a complete stranger which could be quite intimidating for a young child.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by sniffmommy View Post
 

Thanks for clearing up some of the information.  

I was thinking about this last night, and I read somewhere that they make bed wetting alarm pads.  The idea is the sensors alert the older child when it is getting wet, so that they can stop peeing, and get up and use the bathroom.  

Another idea is to get up in the middle of the night, and help her use the potty so that stays dry. This is essentially potty training.  

If her teacher is aware that she is experiencing a lapse in toilet training, he or she could make sure that she takes the potty breaks she needs to during the school day.  We had a teacher who would not allow our child to use the bathroom outside of designated breaks, and it caused my child to simply hold her urine all day.  So I can sympathize.  

 

And perhaps we should have all said this first: Welcome to Parenthood!

 

Before she went back into diapers I did try to wake her up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but when I woke her up she would either have already wet the bed, or would wet the bed again even after she had used the toilet. This was the case even if I woke her more than once during the night. So I figure she wets multiple times in one night. I also tried to limit her intake of water in the evening, but the bed would still be wet in the morning.

 

The bed wetting pads seem interesting, I might pick them up to train her for the night. 

 

I assume that her teachers do not know about it yet, but so far she's been doing okay at school, and she frequents the toilet really often - her teachers don't have a problem with that. However, she still comes home with the occasional wet pullup even if she's used the toilet. 

 

I'm sure parenting would be a ride. Thanks ;)

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#11 of 26 Old 08-29-2013, 07:42 AM
 
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It might be better to wake her up in the night and take her to the bathroom. We did that with my little boy early in elementary school, because he slept so heavily that he would wet the bed otherwise. If you go to bed later than she does, you can just wake her and put her back to bed right before you go to sleep. It's less brutal than an alarm, which is sort of a punishment to the kid for sleeping too heavily. Anyway the alarm only works once the person wets the bed, and then they and/or you have to change the sheets. Better to just avoid the problem beforehand. 

 

 

Seeking the help of a child psychologist is a great idea. If the person is any good, they won't be intimidating. It's not a punishment to get help from someone whose job it is to help kids. It's not a bad reflection on your welcoming and nurturing if your sister is having trouble adjusting to a really huge change in her life. It's good to seek out whatever tools you can to help her. 


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#12 of 26 Old 09-03-2013, 07:54 AM
 
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She is a little girl with a lot on her plate, and a situation that may or may not be more than she can handle.

 

The OP sounds to be doing a great job. To take on an 8 year old when, I assume, you have no kids of your own, is huge. Well done. Lets give her a break and stop being silly.

 

Are the daytime accidents occasional? Are they when, say, she is concentrating on something else? Does she need diapers, or could she just take a change of clothes for accidents? (I'm thinking leggings and knickers would fit into most school bags). If we're talking, say, once a week, given she has a lot else to think about, I can see how that might be something that could resolve.

 

I'm actually wondering whether the issue might be something as simple as a change of diet? 

 

I'm not clear how long its been going on. It sounds like you've made sure she's been checked for UTIs and so on?

 

ETA: I've taken stuff out to avoid reposting where the mods have asked it be removed.


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#13 of 26 Old 09-03-2013, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She is a little girl with a lot on her plate, and a situation that may or may not be more than she can handle.

 

She is not going to grow up to be an Adult Baby Fetishish any more than my son who loves his toy teletubby (yep, he's 10) is going to grow up to run a teletubby daycare.

 

The OP sounds to be doing a great job. To take on an 8 year old when, I assume, you have no kids of your own, is huge. Well done. Lets give her a break and stop being silly.

 

Are the daytime accidents occasional? Are they when, say, she is concentrating on something else? Does she need diapers, or could she just take a change of clothes for accidents? (I'm thinking leggings and knickers would fit into most school bags). If we're talking, say, once a week, given she has a lot else to think about, I can see how that might be something that could resolve.

 

I'm actually wondering whether the issue might be something as simple as a change of diet? 

 

I'm not clear how long its been going on. It sounds like you've made sure she's been checked for UTIs and so on?

 

Thank you for your kind words. 

 

Her daytime accidents tend to fluctuate. Sometimes she'll be dry for 2-3 days at a time, other times she has 4 wet pullups in a single day. The accidents seem to be totally random - they happen regardless of whether she's focusing on anything or not. Sometimes she doesn't even notice when she's wetting or when her pullups are already wet.

 

I just brought her to a urologist a few days ago, and preliminary results show that she doesn't have UTI, but complete details of the check-up will take some time to process. I'll also consult the urologist again to check if her accidents are due to a diet change and make adjustments if necessary.

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#14 of 26 Old 09-03-2013, 08:18 PM
 
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Have you been in contact with her parents to see what they say? They might be able to help her come up with a plan for getting herself off diapers in a way that you aren't able to. I know that I can talk with my DD about hard habits and help her in ways others just can't because our relationship has been going on longer and is built on a trust nobody else has to that extent.
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#15 of 26 Old 09-03-2013, 09:04 PM
 
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I think it might be helpful for her to see a therapist so she has another outlet to express her feelings. My kids love going to their, since it's mostly play-based.

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#16 of 26 Old 09-04-2013, 07:35 AM
 
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I don't have as much experience as others, but it really does sound like a regression.  I mean, it sounds like it was quite sudden onset.  So that makes me think that when she is less stressed, it will eventually resolve.  She might need help to get to that less stressed point, but it certainly doesn't seem permanent.  I think a therapist, not for the bedwetting but to talk about the recent upheavals in her life, sounds like a very good idea. (Maybe a play therapist?) Anything to reduce the stress level.

 

In the meantime, I have some ideas for the short term.

 

My dd's pediatrician told my dd to concentrate very hard on emptying her bladder completely, instead of just sitting on the toilet and peeing mindlessly.  That did help us a little bit.

 

I think cutting out dairy from diet is worthwhile to try, and might be helpful.

 

I think I would get the teacher involved.  If you haven't already done so, I would give the teacher the background about how stressful your sister's life has been recently.

 

I would ask your sister how going to the bathroom works at school.  Does the entire class have to go to the bathroom together, escorted by the teacher? 

 

If you think it would help, I would consider asking the teacher and principal to allow your sister to run to the bathroom unescorted, without requiring asking for permission, for a two-week trial basis.  When my daughter was in kindergarten, she had to take a medication that makes you need to pee badly, suddenly and without warning.  The children typically had to ask the teacher for permission to go to the bathroom, but I anticipated that sometimes the teacher might be busy for a minute or two.  So the teacher excepted my dd from the classroom rules and agreed that if my dd felt the need to go and couldn't wait and ask permission, she should just vanish quietly from the classroom and go to the bathroom. 

 

I don't know if such an accommodation would help your sister, because it sounds like the urine just comes out without any feeling of urgency.  But I am sure that if you keep the teacher as informed as possible, the teacher will compassionately help you think of discreet ways to make this easier for your sister.  Especially if you tell her that it seems like it's not a permanent thing.
 

My dd is now the same age as your dd, and I know if I were in your circumstances and asked the teacher, the teacher would let my dd leave the classroom to change clothes without asking for permission.  Then your sister would be out of her wet pants and into dry pants without causing even a ripple in the classroom. (I'd also arrange to have the extra clothes kept at a location that is very easily accessible to your sister.)  Perhaps just knowing that she wouldn't need to bring attention to herself if she needs to change clothes during school would reduce your sister's stress level a little bit.

 

I don't mean to be facetious, but there is actually a sliver of a bright side. It is only urine, so it is sterile, easy to clean up, and doesn't smell very bad.  At least it's not poop.

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#17 of 26 Old 09-04-2013, 08:14 AM
 
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First of all, dont diaper her. Get her some incontinence pads like Poise. They are easier to hide under clothes, and look like a maxi-pad. They have overnight products from kids that wet the bed. Goodnights I think they're called.

 

Get her a watch with a little alarm that reminds her to go pee every hour or 2.


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#18 of 26 Old 09-04-2013, 06:29 PM
 
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Has her doctor had her checked for diabetes? Sudden onset of frequent incontinence at this age is a big sign of type 1 diabetes, which can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. I would take her back to GP and request a diabetes test asap.

Good luck!
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#19 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't have as much experience as others, but it really does sound like a regression.  I mean, it sounds like it was quite sudden onset.  So that makes me think that when she is less stressed, it will eventually resolve.  She might need help to get to that less stressed point, but it certainly doesn't seem permanent.  I think a therapist, not for the bedwetting but to talk about the recent upheavals in her life, sounds like a very good idea. (Maybe a play therapist?) Anything to reduce the stress level.

 

I'm thinking of getting her some emotional support if she's cleared of any physical abnormalities.

 

She visits the toilet very often - almost once every hour. Thankfully it doesn't pose much of a problem in school. The kids are free to visit the toilet in between or during lessons with the permission of the teacher. She's able to change discreetly. 

 

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Has her doctor had her checked for diabetes? Sudden onset of frequent incontinence at this age is a big sign of type 1 diabetes, which can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. I would take her back to GP and request a diabetes test asap.

Good luck!

 

She was checked for diabetes, which fortunately came out negative.

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#20 of 26 Old 09-05-2013, 11:00 PM
 
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Hey ladies....mamas

I am asking that everyone remember that OP can here asking for advice. This is a sacred space and we want to give advice that we would want given to us.  I am sending pm's to a few of you to edit your posts.Some I am asking simply to edit because of quoting.

Thank you and carry on. I have read some very good suggestions. This cannot be an easy situation to be in.

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#21 of 26 Old 09-06-2013, 07:37 AM
 
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Her GP said that daily incontinence in an 8 yr old child is "normal"? Just because her parents arent around and her sibling is caretaking? I'm a foster parent and recently had an 8 yr old girl and i can tell you that she soiled herself twice the first couple of days i had her (on accident, due to some bowel issues) and i found THAT very concerning enough to mention it to the doctor. If she was soaking a pullup during the DAY and didnt seem to care or notice i would have her into the pediatrician ASAP and if that doc thought "oh thats normal dont worry about it" i'd be finding a new dr. I would either think something severe was wrong with the child medically (infection, bladder issues, etc) or that she needed therapy ASAP. Heck, i fostered her 4 yr old sister at the same time and if SHE had a similiar issue i'd be very concerned. I wouldnt be as concerned with nighttime wetting as bedwetting has a strong genetic component and kids can take years to fully nighttrain. Day wetting is a different issue. 

 

I'm just not understanding dealing with daily wetting for such an older child for MONTHS and not yet visiting a therapist. 

 

How often does she speak with her parents? Seems this could occur quite often via skype or something like that. Also have you discussed this issue with them? (I also noticed you refer to your sister's parents as "her parents" rather than "our parents" or "our mother and my stepdad" or "my dad and stepmom" or whatever the family configuration might be) 


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#22 of 26 Old 09-06-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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I could not agree more with the poster above. Please, get help for this suffering child for she is suffering. Put on and adult diaper and us it for 24 hour. You will see what your skin feels like and how difficult and Anwar it feels socially. There is something very wrong. Numerous posters gave you a very good advice to seek medical help for this child. I admire your will to take care of your siblings g, but please listen to the collective wisdom of older people who have been parenting kids for years. Please, I beseech you, go to a doctor's, and another one if needed unroll solution is found.
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#23 of 26 Old 09-06-2013, 10:11 AM
 
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I'm also a foster parent and have taken dozens of classes on childhood trauma. Your sister may not have been neglected or abused, but she is definitely is affected by her (your?) parents decision to leave her with you. They possibly could have taken her with them, or found new jobs at home. She loves you and likes being with you, but that doesn't take away from the fact that she's unable to live with her parents. I adopted two of my foster kids and therapy isn't something that we had to "resort" to. It's not a negative thing, it's just an impartial person who helps kids work through trauma. My daughter went into foster care when she was a baby. She loves me and her brother. She likes being a part of our family. But, last spring, she needed some extra help working through some things. Her therapist is wonderful and DD LOVES going to her office. Since the wetting started right after she came to live with you, it is very likely related. It's a very common response to major childhood upheavals. I am very surprised that her pediatrian wasn't concerned and didn't recommend an evaluation by a child psychologist. Did the pediatrician know that it started a few days after she moved in (after the honeymoon period) and has continued for EIGHT months? Pediatricians are very good with what they do. But emotional stuff isn't something that they are trained to support.
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#24 of 26 Old 09-06-2013, 07:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

...therapy isn't something that we had to "resort" to. It's not a negative thing, it's just an impartial person who helps kids work through trauma.

I agree. OP, even if the urination issue is physical, your sister might benefit from a therapist during this time of transition. I'm not sure what the circumstances are surrounding her parents' departure, but many times even necessary separations can feel like abandonment, and having a professional help her through those feelings could be really helpful.

You mentioned earlier that you'd rather have her talk to someone she knows rather than a therapist, but lots of times kids are reluctant to open up with someone they know (or worry about how the person will react to what they have to say), whereas therapists are neutral and have training in helping a child share their feelings in a safe, comfortable, and often play-based way.

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#25 of 26 Old 09-11-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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I am a peds nurse. I agree that first of all she needs a full health checkup. Someone already mentioned testing for diabetes but there are also endocrine issues and also check her for a tethered spinal cord, among other things. Secondly, is she in any kind of counseling? She really needs to do this. Perhaps talking about her feelings and learning coping skills will help her. If health issues are ruled out, maybe she needs to take responsibility to wash her own clothes and sheets. NOT as punishment, but to help you out, to own the problem, and maybe as motivation to try harder to get to the bathroom. My children both started washing their own clothes and sheets at around age 8 with a little help reaching into the washing machine. 


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#26 of 26 Old 09-29-2013, 07:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post

 

However, a few days after moving in, she developed a wetting problem. At first, it started off as a bedwetting problem at night, which increased in frequency until she wet the bed pretty much every night. However, she started wetting during the day as well, which had me worried. I did some digging online and found out that her situation could be caused by stress – as a result of moving away and being separated from her parents (whom she misses dearly). She told me that she can’t feel anything when she wet herself, and at night, she would somehow dream that she was the toilet or shower, which subsequently led to wet sheets in the morning. She didn't have such accidents at all before she moved in with me.

 

My daughter is 9 and has always wet the bed at night.  She's in diapers too because they still fit and goodnites leak a lot.  Our doctor isn't worried since she's never been dry, but I see that you've been to the doctor, which is really the only suggestion I have.

 

Could she be feeling insecure, and using the diapers for comfort?  It's a slightly strange thought, but maybe sometimes I think DD does that...  but she doesn't have any daytime accidents.

 

I guess I don't know what to say, other than provide moral support - feel free to PM if you want to chat.

 

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