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Parental Guidance

Give Bed-Wetters Support, Patience

April 12, 1999

Recently we asked about bed-wetting. On all medical matters, of course, you'll want to consult with your pediatrician or other trusted expert. Here's what some parents had to say about their experiences:

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I am a 35-year-old male who bed-wet for 13 years. I think it's important to just love the child and help him through it. . . . My mother tried psychotherapy, bed pad with alarms, etc. But the bottom line was that some people's bladders take longer to adapt.

I eventually grew out of it and now have a child of my own, but I can assure you that the best thing I can do is pat her on the back and tell her it's OK.

--UNSIGNED, Fullerton

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First, the child should be seen by the pediatrician to rule out any medical problems. What really worked for us was a bed-wetting alarm that goes off as soon as there is any moisture. The child needs to be old enough to cooperate and agree to trying this. I think it is really important to discuss the situation with the child and to let him know you empathize and are willing to help in any way you can. The child should never be ridiculed, punished, teased or embarrassed.

--MAUREEN LINNEBUR, Norwalk

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I have an 8-year-old who still occasionally wets. It is not an issue for us since we have gotten informed. Our tips:

Do: Know that it is not bad behavior; know that it is fairly common (especially with boys); if it happens many days each week, get your child examined by your doctor.

Don't: Blame your child; reward or punish for dry/wet days.

--N.G., Camarillo

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The next question: What's your child's diet like? How do you encourage healthy eating?

And coming up: What's the most difficult hour of the day in your household? Before dinner, getting everyone up in the morning, right after work? Tell us how you deal with that tough time.

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Please share your personal tips or strategies in 75 words this week. Send to Parental Guidance, Southern California Living, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; e-mail socalliving@latimes.com; or fax (213) 237-4888. Please include your name, hometown and phone number. Submissions cannot be returned. No telephone calls, please.

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