Foster carers managing bedwetting will want to find ways forward. This is completely normal because you are coming from a place of wanting to help and support. There are some effective strategies, and these are discussed in the guide below.
Think About the Cause
There are lots of reasons why bedwetting may be happening, from kidney problems to negative experiences before the child came into your care. While it is not your job to fix it, you should try to understand what is going on so that you can support them correctly. The child is likely to have no idea why they are wetting the bed, so don’t expect them to tell you. Instead, take a look at their background, rule out anything physical with their doctor, and keep moving towards a solution.
Patience is key when tackling chronic bedwetting. The nights may feel a little endless at times, but it is your job to provide comfort, neutrality, and patience above all else. The main task here is to make the child feel safe again so that, at some point down the line, they can begin to unpick what is happening. It is very common for bedwetting to stop by itself naturally later in life, but some children do continue to do it into their teen years. Regardless, your role is one centered around support.
Staying neutral may feel difficult at times, but it is a definite must. There should never be a negative response from you or any anger, tension, or ‘telling offs’ around bedwetting when it happens. Even if you are changing sheets three times a night, be mindful of how you talk to the child and how you respond when you are cleaning up after an incident. It is extremely important to never attach negative language or responses to bedwetting because it will only make the problem worse and create a shame spiral that will be incredibly difficult for a child to get past.
Avoid Incentive Based Reward Systems
Remember, bedwetting is not a naughty behaviour. It is often the case that a child has no control at all over what is happening, something that is especially true of younger kids. Sometimes, it is a response to trauma, and other times it is a medical issue. This is why you absolutely should never, ever, use incentives or rewards for dry nights. All this will achieve is attaching derogatory shame to the bedwetting, which will make it all the more difficult to overcome for the child.
Talk to Your Support Network
Regardless of whether you are fostering in Peterborough or anywhere else in the country, there will always be a reliable support network scaffolding the journey. These are people like your social worker, the child’s social worker, a GP, school, and any other involved healthcare professional. Talk to this team on a regular basis so that the bedwetting can be an open conversation with experts on all sides finding ways to move forward. Talking about the problem will enable you to feel more capable and introduce new skills and methods for addressing the symptoms.
Bedwetting doesn’t last forever, and sometimes it can’t be ‘fixed’. Have patience, and be kind while supporting the symptoms.