Lighten the NightÂ® with the GoodNitesÂ® NiteLiteâ„˘ Panel
Finding What's Right
By Wolffe Nadoolman, MD
Every child knows the parenting style that
works best for them. Unfortunately, they don't usually spell it out for
us. And every parent knows that whatever worked for the first child
doesn't necessarily work for the second. It's obvious to us that we're
very different from our adult siblings, and have been from childhood.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that each of our children is an
Sure, we need to live and parent by the
principles that keep us grounded. We certainly need to be caring and
honest and kind to our kids. We need to give them the attention they
need. But good parenting isn't a set of rules that we can apply to every
child. How do we know what's right?
Children know what they need, even if they
don't spell it out. So, part of our job as parents is to put clues
together as if we weâ€™re detectives.
When â€śAlexâ€™sâ€ť parents came to my office, they
were worried about him. He had never been consistently dry at night. His
parents never made a big deal of it. Because they didn't, he didn't
feel bad about it either. Now in first grade, though, he had started to
become a little self-conscious. He was worried about it and told them,
so they were worried.
How about waking him up to go to the bathroom
when they went to bed? What about medication? They asked about every
intervention they had ever heard of. The key question for me, however,
wasn't which intervention; it was whether to intervene at all.
Bedwetting, after all, isn't a choice the child was making. Alex was a
bright, articulate boy and I could ask him directly. He told me that he
felt bad about wetting the bed because another child at school told a
classmate that this sometimes happened. Soon, some of the boys teased
the kid about it. Alex's classmates didn't know about him, but he was
worried that somehow maybe they could tell just by looking at him.
What did he need? He needed us to listen to
him. He wasn't feeling bad about the bedwetting, he was very worried
about the potential teasing.
Sometimes a question contains a hint about the
answer. In this way, listening to him provided the guidance we needed to
find what was right for him. He and his parents discussed the
interventions I described and decided to try one, in a low-stress way.
Most importantly, we assured him that none of his classmates needed to
know, or would find out from us. We told him from our hearts that
teasing for any reason was unacceptable and we would do everything we
could to prevent it or stop it from happening.
Parenting isn't a collection of rules. It's
usually a willingness to find what fits best. The most reliable way to
figure this out is to listen to your child and treat them with the
respect you expect from them.
Alex felt a lot better with our support and the
plan we made with his input. There wasn't any pressure on him. We would
try one thing at a time to help him stay dry. In the meantime, we would
have a lot of patience and GoodNitesÂ® available while Alex overcame
on Jul. 20, 2010 at 12:10 PM