11yo dd has horrible personal hygiene! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-14-2010, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Help! My dd is turning 11 and has horrible personal hygiene. Won't brush teeth, wipe after urinating, use soap on body, shampoo on hair, wears dirty clothes, etc. Sometimes it's better than others, but I'm at my wits end!

We've talked nicely, had her change clothes, sent her back into the shower, had her take a shower when she smells of urine, used disclosing tablets on teeth, etc. She's really getting too old for this! She's shaving her underarms, but doesn't see the importance of being clean? Why should I pay for braces when her teeth are going to rot out from lack of brushing?

No, there's been no sexual abuse. She's ADHD, stubborn beyond belief, and also has behavioral issues which we've been working on since birth. I really feel like this is a control issue for her.

I'm tempted to have her research the importance of good hygiene, write a paper on it, and leave the matter in her hands. Sooner or later she'll get the hint when people avoid her because she smells, right? But being labeled the smelly kid can stick, and the poor monkey has enough on her plate already.

Other thoughts are to simply not take her out of the house unless she's presentable. We homeschool, so going out tends to be fun lessons, field trips,friends, and other stuff she'd rather not miss out on. But I think she'd just try to not get caught. And how could I reasonably enforce this? She tends to lie when she doesn't do what she's supposed to, and hopes she doesn't get caught.

Ideas? I'd really like to get this taken care of before she starts menstruating!
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#2 of 8 Old 07-14-2010, 03:00 AM
 
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If it's become a control issue then stop making it a control issue and let her suffer the natural consequences of poor hygiene.

It could also be a sensory issue.

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#3 of 8 Old 07-14-2010, 03:15 AM
 
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You know, I refused to wear a bra until a teacher in 7th grade mentioned to me that I might want to. I just couldn't hear it from my Mom. She bought me lots of different styles and such for probably years prior. Having someone else say something helped me to be able to hear it.

Is there someone your DD trusts and has a good relationship with who could just mention one thing to her? I wouldn't have them go through the list but whatever they/you find most pressing. Start small. My guess though for this to work is that you will have to let it go completely and not mention it to your DD. You might mark on your calendar when the conversation happens and dedicate yourself to keeping quiet for the following 2-3 months about all aspects of hygiene stuff.


Just an idea! I hope that she begins to embrace a more hygenic lifestyle soon.

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#4 of 8 Old 07-14-2010, 03:43 AM
 
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mama. My 13 year old dd has something similar to bipolar so what worked for us may not work for you obviously. I think those issues are more common than most people will admit. The worst of ours was eliminated by no longer asking questions. No more "have you done ____?" It became please go take your shower now so that I can clean the tub when you are done. (even if I just wiped it down with a towel after) Picking up dirty clothes myself and putting the hampers in a place that was out of the way so that clean clothes were an easier option. Telling her that I need her to brush her teeth when I'm in the bathroom putting on my makeup and then asking her to show me her mouth. And telling her to go back and do it again while I was touching up my eye makeup for the third time waiting for her to finish. You've probably already done all this. I guess for me it was realizing that asking questions (and being lied to) just wasn't working. Something has finally clicked after three years of this - she now does a little better on her own. Will she ever wear deodorant without being told to? Who knows, but I can hope!
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#5 of 8 Old 07-14-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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Just want to reassure you that this isn't uncommon. My 15yodd went through this and matured out of it. I've seen the same in other kids.
Her hair is still a little ratty at times and she doesn't do her laundry as much as I would like but for the most part she takes responsibility for her grooming/hygiene. I leave her alone on it.
It did become a control issue for us with her arguing that I was overly obsessed with appearance which was probably true to some degree.
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#6 of 8 Old 07-14-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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That is tough because even if you don't take her out, YOU still have to live with her! YOU have to pay the dentist bills. I agree that if you've tried everything including positive reinforcement, it may be time to leave it in her hands. Certainly don't take her any place where she will embarress you but might not be a bad idea to still take her to places where she's interacting with kids her age. I know my kids ALWAYS feel badly for the smelly child at school but they absolutely don't want to be them.

My 13-year-old has always been more of a struggle in this area. When she was younger, she wouldn't fight it but she would never instigate the routine. I had to TELL her every single time she needed a shower, brushed her teeth, should clip the nails, brush her hair, ect. She has dandruff and getting her to use the shampoo a couple lousy times a week was like pulling teeth. I'd try just letting it go and see if she'd eventually take care of it and she just wouldn't. In the last year, she's been resistant to accept that she's a teenager and her hygene needs are increasing. It's JUST starting to get better now that she's entering highschool and getting a little more self-conscience about her appearance. She doesn't care so much that she want to wear make-up and spend an hour straightening her already straight hair (which I'm glad of) but she at least sees that her hair is oily after one day and needs to be washed, that dandruff shampoo is a painless fix, zit cream at night is prefferable to actual zits, ect. Sometimes I do still have to nag her but it's not nearly so much these days.

I know, no help. I just commiserate and hope that age will help the situation for you like it did for us.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#7 of 8 Old 07-15-2010, 07:58 AM
 
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My 11yo DSD has been going through the same thing. About a year ago it was really bad, but it seems to have gotten a little better. Hopefully going in the right direction. We knew she wasn't very interested in hygiene, but we were being very gentle about it, overlooking a lot. Then after her teacher called me from school to discuss the problem, DH and I decided to take a more direct approach. DSD brings a clean change of clothes into the bathroom when she showers, we make sure she has underpants and everything, and that it is clean, we leave and she gets in the shower, then we go back in and apply the shampoo to her hair ourselves, afterwards we make sure that all her dirty clothes have been put in the hamper, and I brush her hair. She started her period this past year and does not like to wear pads or anything, I'm still working on that issue and am open to any suggestions! Like I said, things seem to be improving. She doesn't like to be treated like a baby and she seems to be understanding that if she won't take care of herself, we will know, and we will do it for her.

I also have a 16yo & 18yo DSs, and they went through this to some degree around this age. Once they got interested in girls they suddenly became very aware of their hygiene. And I've heard others say the same thing. So I think it is a normal phase that will pass!
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#8 of 8 Old 07-16-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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I love the idea of asking another trusted adult to gently bring up the issue. I may try that.

I've had similar issues with my 10yo DS. Just recently when we were camping he told me that he wished he was a man so that he could be the one to start the campfire. So I used that as a springboard for further discussion. I talked about other things that men do. We talked about whether men beat up on their little sisters We also talked about the way that men take care of themselves- DS's dad and uncles and male teachers keep themselves somewhat clean and make an effort to look nice/professional. We also talked about how being a man is a 'package deal'- being a man comes with both rights and resposibilities. If DS wants more priveleges, he also needs to be more responsible.

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