A few months ago, I was shocked to hear about a young girl in India who was forced to drink her own urine as punishment for bedwetting. The girl was a class 5 student (the equivalent of 5th grade in the States) at the Patha Bhavan school. During an inspection, a school warden found she had wet her bed and allegedly made her drink the urine wrung from the bed sheet.
When the girl’s parents found out, they and their friends stormed the school’s premises and allegedly manhandled the school warden. Police arrested both the warden for making the girl drink urine and her parents for trespassing and intimidation.
Now, months later there are news stories of even more extreme and abusive bedwetting punishments. In Ghana, grandparents of an 11 year old girl submerged their granddaughter’s buttocks in boiling water as punishment for bedwetting. The girl suffered severe burns over her buttocks and upper abdomen and had to be hospitalized for a month, at which time she was released to go home to her new foster parents. Both of her grandparents were arrested.
But the most tragic case took place right here in the US where a 10 year old boy was dehydrated to death for bedwetting. His parents refused him water for 5 days and forced him to stand by a window in the summer sun, experiencing temperatures of 100 degrees. According to the doctor’s report, the child suffered multiple organs failure, blood poisoning and muscle breakdown. Both parents are on trial for felony charges.
I a write for a bedwetting alarms supplier, and it’s not uncommon for us to hear of parents punishing their children for bedwetting, though usually never this severely. If you’re a parent, remember that children cannot consciously control bedwetting. Many kids continue to wet the bed into their teen years. It’s not their fault and not only will punishment (even in its milder forms) not help, it can make things worse by leading to poor self-esteem and increased anxiety. No child wants to wake up in a wet bed and no child should be punished for it.