The other day I was doing some gardening in the backyard when the next door neighbor, Angie, came out to her backyard to hang some laundry. We struck up a conversation about normal stuff, then I noticed that she was hanging adult sized cloth diapers and plastic pants on the line. I was a tad embarassed that I had intruded on something that was probably very personal, so I apologized. The following is a general script of our conversation from that point…
Angie: No need to apologize. They aren’t for me. They’re for my son Jack.
Me: Oh. I wasn’t aware he was disabled.
Angie: He’s not. These are his punishment clothes.
Me: Punishment clothes?
Angie: Yeah. Jack got into a bit of trouble last year and I couldn’t seem to get through to him. I tried grounding him, spanking him – everything I could think of. Then a friend of mine told me how she punished her son with diaper discipline and how wonderfully it worked, so I decided to give it a try.
Me: I’ve never heard of that. Does it work?
Angie: It most certainly does. A 15 year old boy in diapers doesn’t have many inclinations to disobey it seems.
At this point, Angie called inside the house for Jack to bring the other basket outside. When Jack stepped outside, carrying the basket, I noticed he was wearing a very thick diaper and clear plastic pants. It was also quite clear that his diaper was not wet but very messy as well. When he noticed me standing there, he immediately looked down to hide his blushing face.
Angie: No need to hide your face Jack. Deborah is our neighbor.
Me: Looks like he could use a diaper change.
Angie: He only gets two changes a day when he’s being punished. He still has a few hours until he gets a clean diaper.
Me: Aren’t you worried about diaper rash?
Angie: That’s part of the punishment, but I do use lots of ointment to keep it from getting too bad.
Me: What about school? Surely he can’t get away with wearing them there.
Angie: He wears disposable diapers to school when necessary, but it’s because of school that this makes such a great punishment. He has become very well behaved since I started diaper discipline simply because he fears being sent to school this way.
Me: If he’s so well behaved, why is he in diapers now?
Angie: Since diaper discipline has proven to be so successful, I have begun using it for minor infractions as well. For minor infractions, he only wears them at home and not school though. This time he failed to finish his homework before bed time last night, so he’s spending three days in diapers.
Me: My son just started the rebellious teen years. This is certainly something to remember when I run into trouble with him.
Angie: If you ever need anything, I have lots of diapers on hand. I’d be happy to loan you some. I can even send Jack over to show your boy how to wash them.
At this point we said our goodbyes and I went back to my gardening. This was definitely an enlightening conversation and gave me something to ponder for the future.