BED WETTING (enuresis nocturna) is the involuntary emptying of the bladder during sleep. Involuntary emptying of the bladder is normal and natural, from the day of birth, until the child has reached that stage in its development, when it assumes voluntary control of this function. Children with nerve derangement will involuntarily void the urine while asleep, long after they should have complete voluntary control over urination--sometimes for years.
Digestive disturbances, overfeeding, feeding between meals excesses of sweet foods and excesses of fluids are among the chief causes.
These cases should be cared for as advised for the nervous child and every cause of nervousness corrected. An occasional period of two or three days on fruit with rest in bed will be found very helpful. The amount of fluid given in the evening should be reduced. Dr. Harry Clements writes:
"The highly sensitive child who becomes a victim to this distressing complaint may find it difficult to escape from his bonds, and the effects of the injury to his emotional condition may be apparent for years. If the parents of the child happen to be stupid and unkind, he may be abused and brow beaten until all sensibility is lost and he becomes case-hardened and a real problem. If the parents extend to him more consideration and more hope--particularly more hope--he will grow out of the habit and it will not seem to him so dreadful after all. In many cases the hyper-sensitiveness and self-discouragement of the child stand most solidly in the way of successful treatment. It is only when he has freed himself from the obsession of weakness, and the fear of the act, that the problem is solved. It is not the appeal to force or coercion that cures the child; it is the development of self-control through the realization of dawning boyhood and its responsibilities that lifts the burden from his mind and body."