When should you grant a child more responsibility in managing their own incontinence

Raising kids is not a simple endeavor, especially if you put into the mix of the incontinent issues.

Kids are uniquely different and needed to be treated accordingly based upon their both physical, emotionally and maturity level they are in.

The first priority for parents/caregivers is above all else to keep them healthy.

Kids have their own timetable in development, which no one has control over. NO Parent/caregiver can change their emotionally and maturity level any more than they can ask their child to grow 3 inches in a month.

Now obviously physical growth is easy to see; for example, you can observe in one school a class of 13yr old girl, where one may look like a young lady of 16 or 17 yrs. old, and you can have in the same class a 13yr old girl look like a little girl of 9 to 10yrs old, which neither had any control over !

What I like to point out the obvious a 13yr old child who still has not hit puberty yet did not do anything wrong, for it is what is !

What not so obvious by just looking at 13yr old child is their stage of mental and emotional maturity level, which they are presently are at.

The brain indeed matures at its own rate, and in fact, it is around early 20’s that the frontal lobe of the brain finally matures. So child brain may not be in line with their physical growth. So therefore their mental/emotional maturity could be ahead of their physical growth or behind physical growth. Just like the urinary system may be at a mature level of 13yr old or one of an immature toddler in control, and once again no one has control over this !

You can have different variation in development in a child. You can have a 13 girl look like 16 or 17yr old and have the maturity level of 16 to 17yro old and emotional level of 16 and 17yr old. So parent must adjust the way they treat this child maturity age appropriate.

There are other variations in development in a child; for example, you can have a 13yr old girl look like 16 or 17yr old and have the maturity of 10yr. old and emotional level of 6yr; where they can get quickly upset beyond what circumstance dictates.(The cry very easily when things don’t go there way and get angry out of proportion when the little things that go wrong in their lives)

Another variation in child development; you can have a 13yr old girl look like 9 or 10yr old and have the maturity level of 17yr. old and emotional level of 17yr, which is stressful to the child for they may physically look like a little kid , which people naturally have lower expectation like a child of 9 or 10yr old and treat them the way they physically look and not one of mature child functioning emotionally and maturity of a 17yr old.

Continuing with another example of a variation in child development; you can have a 13yr old girl look like 13yr old and have the maturity level of 9 or 10yr old child and emotional level of 3 or 4 toddler where they readily gets overwhelmed with emotions and quickly turns into easily uncontrollable crying fits and tantrums.

So once again, razing kids is complicated, and you must readjust the way you raise a child based on their mental and emotional maturity level. Your technique of raising a child can be the same but must be readjusted not by their physical age but by their level of mental and emotional maturity level.

You can have within the same family the middle child more mature than the oldest child. So therefore you must change your expectations of each child and meet their physical and emotional needs accordingly.

Now in regard raising incontinent children you will find 90% of kids who are incontinent, it just a simply delay in the urinary system development and 10% of the time, there is a physical or psychological reason for it which no parent or kid has any control over it.

Now addressing how maturity relates to child incontinences, a child must have a greater level maturity to successfully managing incontinence than a child who is not incontinent.

A non-continent child can simply and quickly take care of business when nature calls, and quickly go back to what they are doing.

However, a child who is 24/7 has to allow a great deal more time to change, and must plan ahead when they are away from home. They need more maturity and self-discipline to force themselves to change even if it is very inconvenient for them at that time, and also be responsible enough to practice good hygiene every single time, which is attempting to just change quickly without practicing good hygiene.

The degree maturity required is dependent upon their level of incontinence. A child who has just Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting) a child of 10 can usually successfully handle the responsibility to remember to put on protection when going to bed and in the morning take it off in timely manner and clean up.

Once again, the degree maturity required is dependent upon their level of incontinence. A child who has both Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting), and Diurnal (Daytime time wetting) require a great deal maturity to manage it successfully, and by age 14 to 15 have 50/50 % chance of being able to manage it successfully.

Now, it not that to say a child of 14 that or less that is 24/7 don’t have the physical dexterity to change themselves successfully, for they may be fully cable to complete the task. However, it just not common they have the maturity level to manage it correctly.

They need to be at a level to have squired good judgment to select the correct protection needed for each given circumstance. They also need have the self-discipline to practice good hygiene each and every time, and not skip steps that lead to health issues.

Now when a child is given the full responsibility to manage their own hygiene in the beginning, most do well; However, over time gets taxing and end up with health issues, and parents end up to having to have to take over.

You can also have a very mature 12yr old that can handle it correctly, and as long as they have developed the proper dexterity to change themselves correctly than a parent should allow to manage their own hygiene.

However, no matter what their physical age if a child failing to follow proper procedures, where it affecting their health with infections and rashes no matter what their age is, it is appropriate for parents to take over, because their first and biggest priority for parent/caregiver is to keep them healthy!

The bottom line for parents it is not physical age determines what responsibility to give a child in regard to manage their hygiene for the real determining factor is whether they possess the maturity level to manage it successfully. If a child of 12 is mature enough, to manage their own hygiene, then it is appropriate to allow an incontinent child to do so. However, once again, no matter what their physical age if they are not responsible enough to manage successfully, then it is appropriate for the parent to take over for them when they cannot not; for it, the parent’s biggest and first responsibility to their child is to keep them healthy.

Steven F. Trimarco
Real Corporation

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