Posted: Friday, August 5, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I have been married to “John” for six years. We both have children from our first marriages. John’s oldest son is now 14 and still wets the bed. I suggested not allowing the boy to drink anything after 7 p.m. and always making sure he uses the bathroom before bed. My husband did not follow through on either of those. My stepson had been using children’s diapers, but now that he needs an adult size, he refuses to wear them.
Both of the boy’s parents have ignored the problem. Six months ago, I took my stepson to the doctor because I’m tired of washing two loads of sheets every day. The doctor prescribed medication, but my husband’s ex-wife refuses to believe he needs it, so her son doesn’t take the pills when he’s at her house.
My stepson is embarrassed about the bedwetting, so I don’t understand why he refuses to wear the adult diapers and “forgets” to take his medication. He sometimes won’t even make an effort to use the bathroom before he goes to sleep. A few nights ago, he came out of his room at 10 p.m. to get a drink of water. My husband saw him and did nothing.
In the meantime, I get stuck with the laundry. The most frustrating thing is my husband’s attitude. I don’t get it. What else can I do? — Tired of Wet Beds
Dear Tired: Enuresis often occurs when children sleep too deeply to wake to the warning signs of incipient urination. There also is often an inherited predisposition. At the age of 14, your stepson’s emotional and social life can suffer enormously from bedwetting. Shame on his parents for ignoring the problem and undermining all efforts to stay dry. You can invest in an alarm that will go off if the bed becomes wet. You also can insist that your stepson launder his own sheets or, better yet, that your husband wash them. Maybe that will impress upon him the need to be more supportive of his son’s development.
Dear Annie: My daughter and her child are planning to visit this summer, and I am dreading it. Last summer’s visit was horrible, and I never wanted to see them again. But they are family.
I am an elderly widow in good shape. Her daughter has great difficulty abiding by my rules. I can make a few adjustments, but still, the girl seems constantly distracted and hyperactive. She also snoops into my things and takes stuff that doesn’t belong to her.
My daughter is doing a good job with a difficult child, but she seems to have a lot of blind spots. How far can I go in correcting her behavior in my home? — Panicked in Pennsylvania
Dear Pennsylvania: You are allowed to create areas of the house that are off-limits and to tell others not to touch your personal belongings. If your daughter refuses to correct her child in these areas, you are entitled to do so, but only verbally. You are NOT allowed to physically reprimand her. We strongly suggest you discuss the rules with your daughter in advance and ask her to help you with the discipline so everyone can enjoy the visit.
Dear Annie: “Tired of Living With Silent Bob” said every little thing sends his wife into a rage. That used to be me. I was constantly miserable. You can’t know how it feels to be irritated with everything and not know why. My husband even bought me a book about “angry women,” which I threw in his face.
I finally was tested, and it turned out that my oxygen level was dropping substantially for most of the time I was asleep. After a few weeks with a CPAP machine, my anger went away. Please remind your readers what sleep apnea can do. — Eureka, Ill.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.5.11