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Thread: how should i tel younger siblings about my IC

  1. #1

    Default how should i tel younger siblings about my IC

    I have just moved back in with my parents (work reasons, I needed to live closer to my place of work as I was spending too much on fuel), they have three other children aged under 7. The oldest is starting to ask questions about my IC and why i still wear nappies. My dad has told me that I need to tell him why but I don’t think he is mature enough (both mentally and emotionally) to know the proper reason (it was in a car crash which nearly killed me and killed his older sibling, he wasn’t born at the time but he has been told about her) and I hate lying to people as it always comes back and stuffs you over in some way. What would be the best thing to do in this situation as he is starting to tell his friends and teachers about what he thinks it is and for (I’ve been told by his teacher in person). One of the main reasons I don’t think he’s ready to be told is that this crash happened 8 years ago and I’ve only just come to terms with what happened. Any advice would be greatly welcomed

  2. #2


    I personally wouldn't go into details of the crash till he gets much older. I would simply explain to him that many years ago you were in a car crash and you got many boo boo and one of them caused you not being able to use tha bathroom any more on your own. When talking to kids you may have to baby you talk and explain with words they will understand. It isn't lying if you just don't got into the details till later in life when you feel comfortable and you feel he can handle it. I am sorry for your loss and what your going through. My self my accident was 8yrs ago as well and still hard to think about it. I even find it hard to tell some people about my condition. Best of luck and I hope this helps you out.

  3. #3


    I don't think you need to tell him the reasons behind why you're incontinent.

    You can just tell him that you are incontinent, there's no need to go into the reasons why. I wouldn't expect you to be going into the reasons why necessarily anyway.

  4. #4


    Difficult indeed...I would follow the advice of only telling that you're incontinent. If they ask why, I would say something near the truth but without telling the details. I thinks that's for your dad to tell to them.

  5. #5


    I would talk to your parents before you talk to your sibling. It seems somewhat unfair of your Dad to put the burden of telling him entirely on you; if you tell your brother that you are incontinent he is going to want to know why, and if you tell him about the car crash then that is likely to bring up a whole other stream of questions from him about the car crash and perhaps about your sister. How to breach this subject with your younger brother, and in the future with your other two siblings, is something I think you and your parents would benefit from discussing. As his parents they may be better suited to gauge exactly how much of the truth he is ready to handle, and should be able to help you to come up both with a suitable way to explain this to him and to be prepared for his questions; At the age of seven he is going to be naturally curious and is likely to have lots of questions, whatever answer you give him.

    If he already knows that your sister died in a car crash, and that you were also in the car, then in simple terms you may be able to explain that when you were in the car your bladder was hurt and it meant that it couldn't work properly any more, and so you need to wear nappies. Explain that this is just like someone whose legs were broken might need to use a wheelchair etc - it doesn't have to be explained as something scary or something which is a big deal, but it is better not to leave him guessing too much or to try and withhold information if it will make your explanation more confusing for him to understand. He might just take your explanation as matter-of-fact, but he may be more curious or interested and so be prepared for him to have lots of questions and to answer them for him simply where you can. This is where you want to have discussed things with your parents and ideally to have them there when you explain this to him, so that they can help answer any questions he may have and ensure that nothing is discussed they don't want him to know or don't feel he is ready to know.

    If he does not know about the car crash yet then I think you need to sit down with your parents and decide how you will explain this without telling him about the car crash. Bear in mind most children won't know what 'incontinent' means, at seven I doubt he will understand if you just tell him you are incontinent, and you might need to explain to him how using the toilet works. He may not know yet about bladders etc. Perhaps you could explain that everybody has a bladder inside them, which is a bit like a balloon, and it gets filled up with wee which it then needs to empty. The bladder won't open though until the brain tells it too, so when it gets full the bladder tells the brain it is full and the brain tells you that you need to find a toilet. When you get to the toilet your brain tells your bladder it is okay to open up and to wee, and so the bladder opens and lets the wee out through your willy (if you are a boy anyway). Explain that your bladder doesn't work properly and it forgets to tell the brain when it is full, and so the bladder just empties when it is full before you can find a toilet and you wet yourself; as such you need to wear nappies or you would have wet trousers all of the time. If you explain your incontinence in simple child-friendly, but biological, terms then hopefully he won't be thinking about the reasons why you are incontinent, beyond the fact that your bladder and brain don't communicate very well, and won't need to know yet about the car crash.

    Before you tell him anything though I think talking to your parents about how they think you should explain it would be a good idea, just to be sure they think the explanation you offer is suitable for him and also so that if he has any more questions and comes to them with them they already know what he has told them. Good luck and I hope you are able to explain it in a way he understands

  6. #6


    babyjess has pretty much covered most of it. The one thing I might add is your parents should also go talk to the teachers and explain, they too can help him understand better.

  7. #7


    thanks for the advice guys, i'll be speaking with mom and dad when they get back from our allotment
    i've already spoken with his teacher and he already knew as he helped me though a really rough time about a week after i was discharged from hospital which is why he raised it to my perents and me

  8. #8


    I would just be honest, tell him that you were in a car crash and hurt your bladder and you can't hold your pee anymore. Kids can understand more then we think.

  9. #9


    talked to the perents for about 2hrs after my siblings had gone to bed and we agreed on a course of action to tell him together on tuesday, i'm just unwinding from having to discuss the crash by listing to some music (the last samurai soundtrack) and meditating

  10. #10


    I would also recommend a simple but truthful explanation. You were hurt in a car accident and have to wear a diaper to keep your pants dry on the outside. If he is curious, he deserves an explanation. Once he has the explanation, he'll probably be satisfied and more or less drop the subject.

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