So, I just had to have a VERY uncomfortable conversation with DD (10) in which I had to tell her that it is not ok to poop her pants. Seriously. I didn't reprimand her or shame her at all, and tried to ask all the right questions, i.e. Do you have trouble or pain going to the bathroom (i.e. constipated)? Do you not know when you need to go to the bathroom? Do you not know when this is happening? Is there some way we can fix this together? Etc. She just kept shrugging her shoulders and repeating that she "didn't know" why it was happening, but that sometimes she just "doesn't feel like" getting up to go to the bathroom. So she just....goes in her pants?
I first noticed this a few months ago, but thought that it was an isolated incident as I only saw it once or twice since then, and not severe (I thought it might have been a wiping issue. I planned to ask her about it but then didn't see it happen again for a long time). Today I was doing a big load of laundry and noticed about 10 pairs of underwear were soiled. After I saw this, I went into her room to see if there were any other clothes that needed to be washed and found more soiled underwear.
This latest episode comes with a long string of other hygiene related battles -- She will not brush her teeth. She will not brush her hair. She will not take a shower (she whines, yells, and basically throws a temper tantrum when I tell her it's time to wash her hair/shower). She leaves dirty clothes on the floor, despite an empty hamper not 2 feet away. Dirty dishes in her room (we've had to set a "no food in your room" rule due to this). Today during breakfast she dropped a bit of cereal on her sweater and it was like pulling teeth getting her to actually get up and wash it off before we left for school. She was apparently just planning on walking around all day with milk and cereal down the front of her shirt. Unbelievable.
I am willing to look past some of the "normal" behavior for this age (I can deal with a messy room, for example, as long as it's not breaking any health codes), but I cannot let my child walk around in soiled underwear and (seemingly) not care about it.
I KNOW she cares about how she looks sometimes. For example, a month or two ago we went to a dinner party at a friend's house who has an 11-year old boy. As soon as she heard we were going over there, she immediately jumped in the shower, washed her hair, put on nice clothes, brushed her hair and teeth, and afterwards asked me if her breath smelled nice. So apparently she cares what BOYS think she looks like.
Sorry this was long, but I'm just not sure what I should be doing. I feel like I've failed as a parent. DH (her step dad) does not share my view that sensitivity is the right approach; I think if this was left up to him he would resort to shaming her and embarrassing her about this, which I KNOW is the wrong way to do it, but I am at my wit's end. She won't listen or respond to me when I try to talk to her about it, and I have to listen to DH tell me how HE wants to handle it, that she is "just lazy" and blaming me for not being strict enough with her.
Anyone have any input? Really need some advice, here.