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TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am at my wits end. My daughter and 2 grandchildren have moved into my home with

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I am at my wit's end. My daughter and 2 grandchildren have moved into my home with me. The children, boy (3 wks till...) 8 and girl 6, had bed wetting issues when they came here. I have tried to limit liquids, establish a calendar with daily sticker recognition, praise, responsibility, "hold your pee" requests, and clean up after yourself when you do wet your bed. I also have put my grand daughter back in "pull-ups" and am considering putting grandson into "pull-ups" also.
My question: what is the best approach to help my grand children end this habit of bed wetting? I am becoming negative and angry about this issue. Also, I have finally nagged my daughter to get a Dr appt to check the physical issues, which I do not believe is part of the problem because the children have had short periods of control.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

It sounds like you are doing all the right things when it comes to helping your grandchildren. Having them see a doctor is a good step as you always want to rule out any physical problems. It is unlikely that both children would have a physical problem that causes bedwetting, especially at the same time, but it never hurts to be sure.

 

I am assuming that the mother is not involved for some reason with her children's issues. Is she unable to care for the kids, or is she unwilling? This makes a difference because the burden then becomes yours and the concern here is the level of stress this can cause for you. Are there any other adults involved that can offer you support? You also may want to ask the children's doctor for advice as well. They will be familiar with this issue and possible causes.

 

Since you have tried so many options, and assuming you are able to rule out a physical cause, there could be possible trauma the children suffered at some time. Any type of abuse, exposure to seeing traumatic events (such as violent parental arguments) or other trauma can cause children to develop bedwetting and other symptoms like nightmares. Even simple things like parents going through a divorce might trigger a reaction.

 

In this case, counseling may be necessary to rule out any psychological cause. A therapist can do a thorough evaluation and determine if there is possible trauma.

 

There are also some resources that may help you. One is called Waking Up Dry: A Guide to Help Children Overcome Bedwetting by Howard J. Bennett. Another is Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Bedwetting by Renee Mercer. Another product is a bedwetting alarm that you can use if all other options are ruled out. It's called Malem Ultimate Bedwetting Alarm - Blue 1 Tone w/Vibration by Malem. You can find these resources on Amazon.com or your local library may have the books available.

 

I hope this has helped you,

Kate

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dear Kate,

Thank you for your guidance. I also forgot the #1 method I had tried, which was to wake the kids up gently 1 or 2 times a night and take them to the toilet. I had used that method successfully with my daughter when she was 7. I know there is trauma; these past 8 years have not been easy or kind for my babes... Their Mom & Dad were separated when they were 2 & 3; (Mom gone from home) reunited... - and now after the death of my life partner (my daughters father); Jamie has separated from her husband again; and she has physical custody. Although my daughter is here with us, she works a 2nd shift job. It is not impossible for her to participate with solutions, but she has a very difficult time with sleep. She gets home when she wants after her work schedule; goes to sleep, and is not usually able to wake in time to help with start of day routine. The kids had gotten to depend on me to get them up - and actually worked it out in their little minds that I was responsible to keep them dry through the night. They would say: "get me up 7 times" or "get me up 100 times"...(which I did not...lol. only 2 max) now they are both resistant to getting up at all. I have tried to stress the importance of her involvement - but Jamie has comprehension and behavior difficulties since childhood and feels that as long as there is "someone there" who is responsible, she is not a necessary part of the unit. Today is Tuesday - she set her alarm this morning she said - but was not able to get up. She has not seen Austin or Cecilia since Sunday. I am quite angry, yes - and am considering Family Court action for custody so I can work on issues without the roadblocks she uses. After all, she reminds me whenever necessary: "I am the MOTHER!" Anyway - I will look at Amazon for the 2 books you recommend. Perhaps there are some hints or suggestions I can use that I have not thought of. It has taken me since September to remind, remind, remind - Jamie to make Dr appts for them. Also, Cece has not had her school physical, the nurse sent home a REMINDER last week that the paperwork has not been turned in, so I will have that paperwork AT the Dr's office in time for their appt.

Thank you again.
Sincerely,
Kathy

That sounds like quite a stressful situation, for you and the kids. I think following through the the Family Court sounds like a good idea.

 

It could be that all the parental issues have affected the kids more than they let on. They could be reacting to all that is going on around them. Their mother is not present most of the time and it doesn't sound as if Dad is either. This definitely puts a lot of instability in the children's lives.

 

Once things settle down a bit, you may want to consider some short term therapy for yourself just to give you some support and a place to vent. Or at least talk with a pastor, if you attend church. Sometimes colleges or university's also offer free or low cost therapy with their graduate psychology students.

 

See if you can also have another relative or friend help you out so you can take a short break. Pamper yourself or even just visit a book store and browse. It can help you lessen your stress and give you more energy to tackle the problems with Austin and Cecilia.

 

Hang in there. You are doing some wonderful things for the kids and soon, this issue will get worked out.

 

Kate

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