I’ve heard parents say that it’s okay if an older child, adolescent, or teenager doesn’t want to wear diapers to bed provided they take care of the wet clothes and bedding but I think that sends the wrong message. I think it sends the message that it’s okay to be unsanitary. As mentioned previously it’s unsanitary and unhealthy (not to mention uncomfortable) to lie all night in wet sheets and clothing. The following analogy might help. If a youngster has a cut you would have them put on a band-aid in order to prevent blood from getting on their clothes and on other stuff in the house in addition for sanitary reasons. Wearing a diaper to bed should be viewed no differently-the diaper is a band-aid for a bladder control problem. Or if the youngster was going to go out in the rain the parents would see to it that they wear a raincoat or use an umbrella to keep the child from getting wet. All of them are waterproof and all of them serve the function of keeping the individual from getting wet.
The bottom line is that people do not like getting wet and take the appropriate precautions to prevent that from happening. Setting aside concerns of being unsanitary and uncomfortable for the moment, even if the child or teen did offer to wash their own sheets and garments it should be mentioned to them that it is much more time consuming and a lot more work to wash a whole bunch of wet sheets, blankets, and pajamas than to wash the wet diapers and plastic pants.
Right now I’d like to touch on the following. Many parents might be wondering if they should require their older child, adolescent, or teen to wear diapers to bed if all methods to cure the bed-wetting have failed and they leak through the pull-ups or “Goodnites”. The consensus seems to be that the child or teen should be involved in the selection of what type of garments to wear to bed. While I agree with this theory in principle, in practice it might not work out all the time. The reasoning behind this theory is that by letting the child or teen be involved in the decision making process they will feel more in control of the situation thereby improving their self-esteem which in turn will make them feel less embarrassed.
Many children, adolescents, and teenagers feel babyish about bed-wetting and a large number of people feel that by forcing them to wear diapers to bed you are taking the decision about how to deal with the bed-wetting out of their hands thereby making them feel even more like a baby. I can certainly understand this point of view but in many situations parents make decisions for their older child or teenager that are in their best interests but they don’t like. Wearing glasses and braces are just two things that come to mind. If it were up to the youngster they wouldn’t wear glasses and braces at all. Is it such a stretch to apply the same reasoning to the use of diapers to manage bed-wetting? Besides I would think it would be less embarrassing and stressful for the child or teenager to wear diapers to bed than wear glasses or braces-after all since the diapers are worn only at night their friends won’t notice them whereas with the glasses or braces they will.
While it is good to grant children and teenagers more autonomy as they get older in order for them to be a more confident and responsible adult there are certain types of knowledge that only come with experience. Choosing an appropriate incontinence product is one of them-there’s a lot of trial and error involved in choosing an incontinence product that works well. There are many factors involved in choosing an appropriate incontinence product-the type and level of incontinence, whether your incontinence is during the day, night, or both, how absorbent the product is and how effectively it protects the individual, how durable a product is, a person’s budget, how discreet the products are, how certain products effect an individual’s skin, whether or not a person has the time and/or desire to wash diapers and plastic pants, etc. While adults have the capability to weigh these decisions and are able to make a sound choice in the matter, many children and teens don’t have the maturity, knowledge, experience, and ability to make an informed choice in this situation. Their decision about what type of incontinence product to wear to bed will be influenced by what they perceive the image of diapers to be rather than how well the product keeps them dry at night.