How should I deal with my son's loneliness and bedwetting problem?
Q: My son is 9 years and 8 months old. He is the only child. My husband stays out of India, as he is pursuing his higher studies. I am employed here and live with my son. Occasionally my mother comes to stay with me. My son has a bedwetting problem. I have tried all methods like reducing liquids after 6 in evening, keeping an alarm in vibratory mode to wake him, but nothing seems to solve the problem. He does not sleep in the afternoon. His bedwetting timings are also not regular, so I wake him up thrice during the night, which disturbs my sleep and makes me irritable the next day. I have my own family problems and remain depressed, due to which I even shout at him when he doesn't obey me or does not do his homework. I know that I should not shout, but I have had my share of problems in my married life for the past 14 years. I am really worried about how he'll grow up, as he remains lonely. I don't have the conveyance to take him on rides; we don't have any friends, who can give him and me company. I get fed up many times and have got bored with life. How can I tackle his bedwetting problem? Can I give him medication? How can I give him real happiness, I am myself unhappy?
A:I am not clear where you live, except that it is not India. You sound as if you could do with some help from a Psychologist or Counsellor. Please do not hesitate to seek professional help for yourself, to begin with. You need to get out of feeling low and depressed. Shouting at your son will not help either of you. He will feel that he has disappointed you and develop low self-esteem. But instead of worrying about the future, you should involve yourself in the present and develop coping mechanisms. Bedwetting is often considered to be a psychological problem, but it is also a physiological problem, more common in young boys. You must consult a doctor for him and make your son take whatever medication is suggested. Once there is some control, things will improve. Do practical things, for example, use a rubber sheet on his bed as one does for babies or sick people? Get him to wake to an alarm clock, every 3 hours for instance and go to the toilet on his own for urination. You should encourage him to take charge and also reward him when he has been dry. There is no reason for you not to have friends. Instead of thinking of your own problems, step out once a week and help someone else. Think of all the ways in which you are lucky. You have a husband (although away in India), you have a son (with a temporary health problem) and you have a mother, who comes to stay with you. And you have a job. You are doing pretty well! Get in touch with the religion you were born into and may have practiced in your childhood. Your problem does not seem to be anything that you cannot kick!