11 y/o dd and lack of hygeine - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 01-27-2011, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My almost 11 y.o dd is definitely going through puberty...body odour, breast development, oily skin and VERY greasy hair. She has never been one to care about looks which I am happy about. She has never wanted to look a certain way or have expectations of hair styles or the like. But now that she is stinky and greasy I wish she had some awareness of how she is presenting herself. I know she could use a few extra showers a week but the one Sunday night shower she has is still a chore to get her into. She resists washing her face morning or night, it becomes a battle so right now she really just isn't doing it. Her hair is waist length and she complains every time I brush it which we do morning and night of course but every single time there is a whole lot of complaining. Her waist length hair has I think kind of become a defining point for herself and she refuses to cut it yet she can't manage the upkeep. Every time I mention that she wouldn't have to go through the 'torture' of having me brush it out every day if she had a shorter cut she takes it very personally and is quite hurt that I would even mention it. The grease on the top of her head is very thick and obvious, she is prone to dandruff  as well.

 

Anyways, how do you encourage your pre-teen to increase the amount of grooming time to meet the needs of their changing bodies? We do talk positively about the changes that she is experiencing but she couldn't care less about getting older or anything that goes along with that. I worry that kids at school will start noticing her greasy hair and body odour and that she will get that stigma attached to her before she starts to actually be interested in taking care of herself.

 

Thanks for any suggestions.

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#2 of 21 Old 01-27-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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I commend you for encouraging her to not be overly into looks. I think you're right to be concerned, but there won't be any one thing that magically makes her see things from your perspective.  She may very well get her feelings hurt by her peers in the next few years and you will be there to love her up and hug her -without saying a word of I Told You So.  If she's like me, she will never be as conscientious about hygiene as others are.

 

What would happen if you stopped brushing her hair?  If she lets it go long enough she'll probably get a big old rats nest on the back of her head. Would you be willing to let her do that? 

 

Get her The Care and Keeping Of You.  That was an absolute favorite with my daughter and her friends at your daughter's age. 

 

 


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#3 of 21 Old 01-27-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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One of the things that helped us was to involve my dd in picking out her own self care products, and not saying a word about her choices!  While I prefer all natural products, dd wanted different things, and it just wasn't worth disagreeing about.  She has become very opinionated about all of her products now, and with a year of maturation, we're now seeing good hair/skin care.  You might think about giving her some $$ to put together her own basket of self care products.

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#4 of 21 Old 01-28-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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The Care and Keeping of You is a great book. I would worry about what her peers will say, too, and y'know I think that's an okay thing to tell her. I still remember an experience from 8th grade. There was a boy who came to school one day with his hair so greasy it looked wet. Another kid asked him why his hair was wet (genuinely thinking it was, but this was the middle of the day, so not from a morning shower) and the greasy-headed kid just looked back at him. I could tell from the look on his face that it wasn't wet it was just that greasy. I felt so bad for him, but at the same time—GROSS!

 

At 11, I think she's old enough to take care of her hair herself on most days. My 9 (almost 10 yr old) and 7 yr old brush their own long hair. The 7 year old has trouble with it and she does leave some tangles, but I get them every week or so. She HATES for me to brush her hair and I really do try to be gentle! I occasionally brush the almost 10 yr old's, but she really does a pretty good job.

 

I think you've got some good suggestions. Get the book, get her some supplies of her choosing if she'll choose, and let her know that there's a difference between being overly concerned about your appearance (vanity) and good hygeine. Oh, also, model, model, model! "Whew, I've been working hard and I'm all sweaty. Yikes I want a shower!", etc, etc.

 

Good luck!


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#5 of 21 Old 01-28-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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My daughter is the same way.  Although she will go thru spurts where she will spend a half hour washing her face before she goes to bed and brushing her teeth.  I think she is slowly coming around.... very slowly.  It still can be a fight for her to get a shower when she comes home from basketball practice.  I think she still wants to be that carefree kid, but is slowly starting to realize she needs to take care of herself and her hygiene.  I have let her pick out some of her own hygiene products and that did help.

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#6 of 21 Old 01-29-2011, 07:23 PM
 
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Wait...she only bathes once a week? I would start requiring a daily shower and change of underwear, and toothbrushing. Forget the hair stuff...as long as she washes it in the shower so it doesn't stink a messy hairdo is no big deal.

 

To encourage her in a gentle way you could buy one of those organizer things that hang in the closet and suggest helping her pick out her outfits at teh beginning of the week, including her underwear. that way you know at least she's wearing fresh clothes every day. 

 

but she definitely needs to bathe more often. I'm not in puberty and neither are my kids and I can't imagine what they would smell like if they went a week without a bath or shower. They bathe every day, and if it's winter and we skip a night, then that  night they get a "spitbath" (washup of armpits and other potentially stinky spots at the sink). But preteen funk does not respond to a sink wash up....she needs the real thing!


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#7 of 21 Old 01-30-2011, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree, once a week isn't enough. She has swimming lessons on Thursdays and showers then, and Sunday nights, but needs more. That is part of the problem, just getting her into the shower Sunday is no fun. She does it, she knows it's a non negotiable but complains nonetheless. My OP was basically that - how do I motivate her to want to do more? I like the idea of taking her to buy her own shower items but honestly think that that kind of external motivation will work for 2 days max before it loses its appeal. I will however work on it. I'll add it to my plate of things to work on.

 

Thanks for the suggestions of The Care and Keeping of You book. She does have it, has had it for about two years....maybe now that puberty has really settled in I will get her to pull it out again and see how things apply to her now. Also, seems like the general consensus says that talking to her about the effect of her hygiene as related to her peers is acceptable. I guess I worry so much being the mom of a daughter about emphasizing looks that I avoid making looks a priority - I know, hygiene is something all together different.

 

Thanks for all the replies!

 

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#8 of 21 Old 01-30-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rosebuds View Post

Just getting her into the shower Sunday is no fun. She does it, she knows it's a non negotiable but complains nonetheless. My OP was basically that - how do I motivate her to want to do more? I like the idea of taking her to buy her own shower items but honestly think that that kind of external motivation will work for 2 days max before it loses its appeal. I will however work on it.


 

 

I think you accept that she complains and ignore it. My kids complain about all sorts of things sense they hit puberty. Some of it is really stupid stuff that they've been doing for years -- like putting trash in a trash can. I've developed immunity to complaining.

 

My advice (which may sound harsh)-- sit her down and have a talk. She is now talking a shower EVERY morning. (or what ever schedule you think is reasonable) It's now non-negotiable. You don't ask, you tell.

 

Then take her out and let her pick some nice things for her bath -- she's growing up, so she can pick her own shampoo, conditioner, body wash etc. This is one of the perks of growing up.

 

Then take her to get her hair trimmed -- don't get it all wacked off, that's just a control thing, but get those nasty ends trimmed up because it will be sooooo much easier to brush out everyday. Truly, getting her hair healthy will be make easier to care for. And inch or two is enough and I do see this an a hygiene issue. Going and getting a hair cut is non-negotiable, but what she asks the stylist for is totally up to her. It will also be a great chance to have someone else REALLY wash her hair right down to her scalp.

 

If you want her to also wash her face at night, she might like the pre-moisten face wash. My 12 year old finds them far easier and less time consuming than really washing. But she didn't need to wash her face twice a day until now, and if you add in a morning shower, then your DD will at least sort of wash her face once a day.

 

And then you just ignore the complaining. She's not going to be happy about it, but it really doesn't matter. Part of the problem right now is that you want her to happy about all this, and she's just not. That part is your problem, not hers. Let go of the idea that she has to be happy about everything you say. That is, sadly, one of the differences between having a little girl and an adolescent. (sorry)
 

I don't have control issues with my DDs -- they can wear their hair any way they want, they can wear their make up any way they want, (and one of them uses so much eye liner that she looks like a raccoon), and they can dress all in black or wear mini skirts or whatever. But they gotta be CLEAN.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 21 Old 01-30-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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Is she prize motivated? You could create a hygiene sticker chart so she knows what is expected and reward her for her accomplishments. Maybe allow her to stay up a few minutes past her bedtime reading or doing something she likes to do on shower days. I would think a shower every other day would be appropriate. 

 

As far as cutting her hair does she get regular trims? If not you could explain to her the importance of trimming her hair to keep it healthy and looking its best. What about a mother daughter date to the hair salon, maybe get your nails done together and your hair cut, let her know that she can get a little trim if she wants (to remove any split ends and uneven hair growth) or she can get it cut. You could bring home a hair magazine to look over together and get ideas, she could leave the overall length and get it layered to make it more manageable. Since long hair is part of how she defines herself you could suggest her own unique long hair style. To me cutting her hair and the salon experience (even if you leave the length) could give her motivation to keep it clean.

Hair upkeep and maintenance is part of being well groomed, so to me a hair magazine and trip to the salon is about taking care of oneself and not about making looks a priority. 

 

I understand you being worried about developing a stigma. I still remember the stinky kid from middle school. In 7th grade my friend NEVER brushed her teeth in the morning it was so bad that one day I told her her breathe stunk and to brush her teeth. I have no idea the impact it had on her but I can imagine having a friend tell you that you smell bad doesn't make you feel very good. 

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#10 of 21 Old 01-30-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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It really is a health issue, and a consideration for others issue, not just a looks issue.  She should be showering every day, at least every other day.  My 12 y.o. daughter (whose hair is past her hips) is similar though she doesn't smell (except for her teeth, ugh!).  I get a lot of nasty lectures at the dentist because she doesn't brush her teeth well.  All my kids are prone to staph infections which means if she starts skipping showers she will end up with a stye, boil, or a skin infection.  So  we have a medical excuse to "force" it but even with that they do a pretty lame job.  Sigh. 

 

If she does not have good hygiene she is putting others around her at risk for bacterial infections and spreading viruses.  Does she understand that?

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#11 of 21 Old 01-30-2011, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just a quick note in response...she does go to get her hair trimmed and enjoys it...the shampoo is her favourite part of the experience. I will discuss with her tonight about starting showers every other day...morning or night will be her choice.

 

Thanks again.

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#12 of 21 Old 01-30-2011, 01:41 PM
 
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I want to second the pp who said let her pick out her own products.  My 11yo dd loves neutrogena deep  clean relaxing nightly scrub.  It was hard to get her to wash her face until she was allowed to buy that.  She has the oil free acne wash for when she gets a blemish (technically she is supposed to use that every morning but I don't really think she does.)

while i agree with much of what has been said here, I will be the odd man out in saying that really 2-3 baths a week seem to be enough for both dd and I (she doesn't like showers which is becoming a new problem as now she isn't wanting to bathe when menstruating which is when we all probably need to bathe more not less) 

My dd finds it easier to brush her hair when it has just been conditioned, so if she hasn't brushed it for a day or two and it has become knotty she will want to take a hour long bath with a hair brush and bottle of conditioner.  If her hair is a little oily she can use the conditioner  while she de-knots her hair and then wash it.

Good luck :)

 

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#13 of 21 Old 01-30-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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All of the above are wonderful wonderful suggestions and I second that! Especially getting her into a daily personal cleanliness routine. I thought about it a bit and here are a few suggestions I'd like to offer up.
 
When shopping with her for her hygiene products let her pick out a spiffy little notebook. Have her make a list of what needs to be done AM & PM. Use lines to mark off 7 days and she can check off as she goes. She can use the next pages as a journal for the week and then start a fresh list at the beginning of the next week. She might find this handy for keeping lots of task lists organized! In journal form its all kept privately which enforces that this is something important she is doing for herself.
 
I'd also try modeling this behavior. You likely do already, maybe reinforce it. My girls always seem to be with me when I'm grooming and they've picked up my habits. (I hope that's a good thing!)
 
How about talking to her about Locks of Love? We've done this a couple of times with our three girls and it was so special for them to know they were helping someone. Its kinda nice when a haircut becomes a teachable moment. 
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#14 of 21 Old 01-31-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Also, seems like the general consensus says that talking to her about the effect of her hygiene as related to her peers is acceptable. I guess I worry so much being the mom of a daughter about emphasizing looks that I avoid making looks a priority - I know, hygiene is something all together different.

 

Thanks for all the replies!

 


I am puzzled why you would be afraid to tell your daughter that her appearance would impact her social life?  I understand you don't want to teach her that looks are really important, but telling her plainly that people will judge her on her appearance is very different from being a pageant mom (I watch "Toddler in tiaras" bag.gif... those moms are something else!lol.gif).  I have always plainly stated my opinion to my kids even if it might not be the most ultra-sensitive thing to say, but I always qualify it with, "I can't force you to do XYZ" and "ultimately you choices are your own to make" and "I will love you for you no matter what and you're a great kid."  For example I have always stressed to them to dress modestly, and I give them my reasoning, knowing full well they'll either reject or accept it.  And if I think they're dressed immodestly I come right out and tell them, but not in a nasty way or anything.  So i would have no problem telling them... if you don't shower, if you wear dirty clothes, if you don't brush your teeth, chances are people are going to be put off by you and will make unfortunate judgments about you. 

 

She still might not care but at least you're stating your case one person to another.

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#15 of 21 Old 01-31-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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I know it seems mean, but as someone who was once in your DD's position, I beg you to have a little talk with her.  My parents really thought that they were doing right by not emphasizing appearance, letting us march to our own drummer, and so on and so forth... but really, my sister and I were just clueless.  Maybe some kids do figure out on their own that they have to shower more than once a week and wear deodorant.  All I knew was that other kids made fun of me a lot.  I did finally figure out the "shower daily" thing in high school, but it really wasn't until COLLEGE when I was living with lots of other women and could see their routines that I figured out a lot of this stuff.

 

I think you just need to sit down with her and tell her "Look.  You're growing up.  This is how most people expect grownups to take care of themselves.  You need to shower daily.  I'll show you how to shave, if you'd like.  You need to brush your hair.  A little bit of product might make it more manageable, and I can show you how to find the right one, or we can go to a salon and talk to someone.  You need to wash your face every night.  You need to put on deodorant every day, and maybe reapply it in the afternoon."

 

I know that I'll probably be criticized for this, but I really, really wish my parents had done this for me.  If she decides later on that she wants to go a different route, that's fine.  But she deserves to have the tools to fit in, even if she doesn't want to use them.  I really understand why you don't want to emphasize this sort of thing, but speaking from personal experience it won't do her any favors in the long run.

 

(Also, some lessons in how to pick out flattering clothing might have done me some good, too.)

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#16 of 21 Old 01-31-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosebuds View Post

Just a quick note in response...she does go to get her hair trimmed and enjoys it...the shampoo is her favourite part of the experience. I will discuss with her tonight about starting showers every other day...morning or night will be her choice.

 

Thanks again.


I do not have a pre-teen, saw this on the main page, but I can see myself dealing with this same issue in a few years.

I know the hair care is just one of the concerns, but does she have earned money or an allowance available to her?  If yes, and based upon the bolded part above, could she go to an inexpensive salon twice a week and have her hair washed?  They would do a good thorough wash and she can concentrate on the showers/facial care herself. 

 

Also, when I was 14, I started getting facials.  I wasn't into my looks and didn't wear make-up but wanted nice looking skin. The woman who did the facials really taught me how to take care of my face. 

 

This advice is from a 46 yo who gets her hair cut twice a year and hasn't had a facial in thirty years redface.gif.  I need to take my own advice!

 


 

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#17 of 21 Old 01-31-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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Here's one more suggestion:  older girls can be very motivating to some younger girls.  I wonder if you have an older teen in your dd's life who could also talk with her . in a friendly way, about self care.  We are fortunate to have a really lovely older teen who has done some sitting for us.  She loves to do dd's nails, and "gifts" her with beauty products.  It has been a really nice thing for my preteen to have such a nice example of a young woman taking care of herself.

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#18 of 21 Old 02-01-2011, 09:34 PM
 
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Another few suggestions:

 

1) Shower  or bathe at night.

 - In my DH's culture and where I live it is most common to shower or bathe at night. It's thought to be relaxing before bed - shower, clean undies, jammies. That makes the morning routine more  relaxing too.

 

2) Bath instead of shower?

 - Sometimes instead of shower, my kids like a relaxing bath. Bath salts or oils, nice book, it's a great way for anyone of any age to relax and get clean. Sometimes if my kids are tired or out of sorts in the evening, I suggest a nice hot bath instead of shower.

 

I also agree w/ Lach and the other previous posters that helping a child meet standards of hygiene and grooming is NOT the same as pushing an agenda of "good looks are the be all and end all of our existence".

 

Good luck!

 

PS - my DD is 14 and my DS is 12

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#19 of 21 Old 02-02-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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What is it about the age of 11?  ALL 3 of my daughters went through this, we're in the middle of one 11 yo now.  What I do is just gentle reminders to shower at least every other night.  I let them pick a deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, body wash/pouf - whatever they want.  Their bathroom looks like Bath & Body Works threw up in there sometimes, and when all three of them have showered and lotioned up, the house smells like a perfume factory, but at least they are clean.

 

Eventually, they WANT to be clean and smell pretty, have pretty hair, etc.  It's just getting past the whole self-starting thing that is frustrating.  For me, the ages of 11 and 12 were the worst.  It got better at 13.

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#20 of 21 Old 02-26-2011, 05:55 AM
 
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Sounds just like my SDD11.  Greasy hair, greasy face, zits, body odour, etc, etc.  I tried being kind and explaining that her body is changing and she needs to take care of these things.  But she's a tad lazy so I graduated to telling her the cold hard truth.  I bought her nice shampoo and hygiene products and I make sure she uses them.  She showers at least every other day, or every day if her hair is especially greasy; and after showing her how to wash her face properly, I make sure she does it.  I can also tell if she doesn't wear deo (oh boy can I! grossedout.gif) so I mention it to her.  I don't do it in a mean or degrading way, but rather than point blank telling her that her hygiene can affect her socially, I'm letting her know that if I can see/smell these things then everyone else can too.  We also took her to the salon for a princess day.  We chose a new hairstyle together (it's shoulder length with some layers--she looks 14 now duh.gif) and her greasy hair has improved since her hair is more manageable for her to wash.  When both kids wouldn't brush their teeth properly, I showed them a picture of a mouth with gingivitis.  Now they "over-brush" their teeth! lol


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#21 of 21 Old 03-13-2011, 07:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lach View Post

I know it seems mean, but as someone who was once in your DD's position, I beg you to have a little talk with her.  My parents really thought that they were doing right by not emphasizing appearance, letting us march to our own drummer, and so on and so forth... but really, my sister and I were just clueless.  Maybe some kids do figure out on their own that they have to shower more than once a week and wear deodorant.  All I knew was that other kids made fun of me a lot.  I did finally figure out the "shower daily" thing in high school, but it really wasn't until COLLEGE when I was living with lots of other women and could see their routines that I figured out a lot of this stuff.

 

I think you just need to sit down with her and tell her "Look.  You're growing up.  This is how most people expect grownups to take care of themselves.  You need to shower daily.  I'll show you how to shave, if you'd like.  You need to brush your hair.  A little bit of product might make it more manageable, and I can show you how to find the right one, or we can go to a salon and talk to someone.  You need to wash your face every night.  You need to put on deodorant every day, and maybe reapply it in the afternoon."

 

I know that I'll probably be criticized for this, but I really, really wish my parents had done this for me.  If she decides later on that she wants to go a different route, that's fine.  But she deserves to have the tools to fit in, even if she doesn't want to use them.  I really understand why you don't want to emphasize this sort of thing, but speaking from personal experience it won't do her any favors in the long run.

 

(Also, some lessons in how to pick out flattering clothing might have done me some good, too.)

 

ITA. My dd would be absolutely clueless if I hadn't been pretty blunt about the hot mess she was becoming by not keeping up with hygiene. She hates taking showers, but I insist on every other day, otherwise she is a greasy mess.
 

 


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