From Wet to Dry

by: Dr. Dathan Paterno

Does your child struggle with nighttime wetness? If so, he or she is not alone. A surprising percentage of children continue to wet the bed into their early teens.

The good news is that nighttime wetness will likely resolve itself on its own, sooner or later, without drugs, bells, whistles, or therapy. The better news is that parents can equip their children to take control of the problem and greatly speed up the process of becoming dry at night, every night.

Here’s a sneak preview on how to get your child dry at night. There are three keys (I’ll explain all three in greater detail in my next post):

1. Have your child drink more water during the daytime, through dinner.

It may seem counterintuitive to have your child drink more water; many parents have been taught to restrict water intake, thinking that this will make the child less likely to need to urinate during the nighttime. The reality is that this makes the problem worse!

Drinking more water during the daytime stretches out the bladder (not dangerously; we’re not talking about a balloon that’s about to pop), making the amount of urine that accumulates during the nighttime seem less than it would otherwise. This avoids the cue to the brain to release urine.

2. After dinner, make sure your child voids (empties the bladder) at least twice before bedtime. Get it all out!

3. Have your child practice mind-body control exercise that helps the child gain control of his/her bladder.

Your child can understand that the brain controls many organs and functions during the nighttime, including heart, lungs, digestion, and dreams (yes, dreams!), so he or she can control the bladder during the nighttime. All it takes is time and devoted attention to making the right connection.

Again, I’ll explain this more in detail next time. But take heart: your child can become dry every night, sooner rather than later!

Top Ten Behaviors that Parents in Charge Never Tolerate

by Dr. Dathan Paterno

Parents in Charge is the term I use for those parents who are in control of their families without being too controlling. Of course, Parents in Charge do not have perfect children. Their children can be ridiculous and foolish just as any other children can. However, Parents in Charge do not tolerate such behavior. They expect their children to exhibit superb behavior and reinforce them when they behave well. When their cherubs choose to misbehave, they enforce consequences that make them wish they had behaved better.

The following is a list of behaviors I see many parents tolerating that simply should not be.

1. Parents in Charge do not allow their children to order them in any way: not about meals, not about wheels, not about stations, not about vacations. They will not boss them here or there; they will not boss them anywhere!

2. Children who have Parents in Charge do not Answer Shop (e.g., appeal to Dad when Mom has said “no”), because they know this will not be tolerated.

3. Parents in Charge do not tolerate eye-rolling, arm-folding, stomping, door-slamming, or any looks that suggest they are from another planet, especially when establishing limits or bestowing one of their many invaluable pearls of wisdom.

4. Parents in Charge do not tolerate children whispering “whatever” or speaking anything under their breath to or about them.

5. Parents in Charge do not sustain their child’s whining, nagging, or even adorable begging in order to get things that can be gotten with “Please, may I…” Parents in Charge can spot and dodge even the best brown-nosing maneuvers.

6. Insulting a Parent in Charge never pays because Parents in Charge never tolerate their child calling them “retarded”, “lame”, or “backward” (even though all parents slip into one of these from time to time).

7. Parents in Charge do not suffer complaints of boredom. They respond to such complaints by saying, “Only boring people get bored. Interesting people find or create something to do. If you would like my guidance, I have a fantastic list of chores that could keep you occupied for hours. Would you…hey, where are you going?!”

8. In restaurants, Parents in Charge do not tolerate obnoxious behavior. If their child acts out, they take him outside or to the bathroom, establish the seriousness of the expectations, give him an attitude adjustment if necessary, and assure him that if he acts out again, he will be eating wheat bread and broccoli when he gets home. Parents in Charge follow through with this.

9. Parents in Charge never tolerate other children misbehaving in their home without consequence. Rather, a Parent in Charge asserts his sovereignty gently but firmly, confronting any misbehavior and removing the child from the home if necessary. Afterwards, the parent communicates very clearly to that child’s parents what occurred and which behaviors will not be tolerated in their home. Finally, the Parent in Charge extends an open invitation for the child to return to the home if the child can respect the family’s limits and boundaries.

10. Finally, Parents in Charge witness no positive behavior from their children without acknowledging, appreciating, praising, respecting, and expressing gratitude for it. Parents in Charge know their children crave their love, acceptance, attention, and approval and waste no opportunity to dole it out.