how to get through to dd 9.5. - hygiene and generally being disgusting

(16 Posts)
mamachelle Mon 02-Dec-13 14:29:15

Have reached breaking point with dd1 now. She is 9.5 yrs old and is frankly disgusting and i dont know what to do next.

She throws a wobbly when she has to - have a shower, brush her teeth, brush her hair, change her pants (!) And if i dont constantly push, chase and check she honestly wouldnt do any of the above.

The biggest problems though can be any of the following, not wiping her bum, not flushing and not washing her hands.
And not just every now and then, its regularly!

I am forever explaining, telling off, threatening punishment and last wk i even gave her a demonstration of how shes potentially spreading germs "you dont wash and touch the banister rail. I had clean hands, now i dont" (run my hands down rail to demonstrate contact).

She has also been known to lick her sisters things and spit on her wardrobe mirror

Yesterday hit an all time low. Dd3 age 5 came to me with a huge blob of snot across her hands and explained she had got it there after touching the top of a bookcase on the landing. I call the dcs and dd1 owns up to wiping it on there.

Last night dd2 tells me dd1 had wet on the bathroom floor... and left wee puddles on the floor. She had also wiped her legs with a p.j top and thrown it onto her drawers to stay. Dd1 admits it and dares to snigger! She laughed!

Even after another long shouty lecture, she wasnt remorseful

Sorry for the essay but please help me! We arent dirty people. We are clean, the house is clean, the other dcs have grasped the hygiene basics. Why cant she? What should i do now?

hillyhilly Mon 02-Dec-13 14:33:11

I think I'd be asking a health care professional, maybe start with your health visitor? That sounds awful, really unpleasant for you all and I'm sorry I don't have more concrete advice to offer, hopefully mn will produce someone, (as it always seems to!), who has been through this and come out the other side.
The big issue to me seems to be the lack of respect of other people's property and feelings, is there a lack of empathy generally?
Otherwise maybe the usual, love bomb, praise the good etc but I dont think you can ignore the bad in this case.

bundaberg Mon 02-Dec-13 14:37:42

does she have any SN?

this is what I would do:

1) make visual timetables for getting dressed, going to the toilet, showering etc. (these are normally suggested for kids with SN, but work brilliantly for any child IME).
so, you'll have a strip of card with velcro on and you'll laminate little pictures of getting undressed, putting on clean clothes, going to the toilet, brushing teeth etc... when each activity is done it goes in an envelope underneath.

2) explain the timetables to her, include how important good hygiene is and tell her that these are the "rules" of getting ready in the morning/going to the toilet/whatever else.

3) Help her go through this each morning for the time being if you can. You want to make sure she is going through each step properly.

4) have some kind of reward for following the rules and doing things properly. This could be anything... 5p for each time she follows a routine nicely (if she'd like to save up for something), a token towards a toy, a sweet.. whatever you think will work to motivate her.

The reason I suggest the visual timetable is because for some children it's overwhelming remembering everything and this just sets it out nice and clear. There can be no excuse for not doing each thing on the timetable, and you can reward easily when it is done.

Might she also have some sensory issues which are making her dislike doing these particular things?
and what about control? do you think she is taking control here because she feels she lacks control elsewhere in her life? can you involve her in more important grown-up things and give her more choices?

lljkk Mon 02-Dec-13 14:44:23

9 yr olds are dirt bags. My dad told this when DS1 was born & although it varies, some really are (sideways glance at DS2).
I think I would focus on how it inconveniences me: if she leaves a wee puddle then she cleans it up & that goes as far as putting the items used to wipe it up in the machine and soap wash the floor. She's got her own niche for getting attention so only give it minimally any more, make her bad habits into a chore she has to deal with afterwards

There would be apologies to the DD3, make DD1 clean the bannister and another form of amends to DD3, etc. Make her own the problems she makes.

spanky2 Mon 02-Dec-13 14:50:03

Ds1 still needs his bottom checked every day as can'twipe properly . Yellow plaque covered teeth . I end up having to do his hair as he won't. He has a list to help organise him but needs to be reminded to look at it.

She is a naturally stinky 9yo, who is getting lots and lots of marvellous attention for being revolting. The more revolting she is, the more attention she gets.

Ignore the bad behaviour as much as possible, but maybe start some sort of reward system that rewards her when she washes/changes pants/brushes hair.

In the meantime, if you spot her doing something nice/pleasant/clean make sure you give her a hug/pat/positive comment.

spanky2 Mon 02-Dec-13 14:50:34

Sorry, he's 9.

randomAXEofkindness Mon 02-Dec-13 14:54:34

Maybe the pushing, chasing, checking, explaining, telling off, threatening punishment, and long shouty lectures are making her resentful of you. They'd make me resentful of you. I'd be inclined to do the opposite of anything you said, just to assert that I was an important individual myself and that you should respect my autonomy. I'd also want to push you until you proved that you loved me regardless of my hygiene. Sometimes I'm a bit grubby, if dh turned around and told me I was disgusting and to go and get a bath, I'd tell him to feck off and would feel like purposefully staying away from the hot water just to hit home the point that it was MY choice what I did with MY body. Maybe that's how your dc feels? I don't think you can deduce from her behavior that she's 'lacking empathy', maybe her 9 year old mind doesn't believe it is doing anybody any real harm - I assume that nobody's croaked it yet from catching her germs? grin

Maybe tell her that her body is hers. If she wants to be nice and clean and comfortable then she can CHOOSE to wash HER body, but that you are her mum and love her regardless. Once she is back in control, you might be surprised how quickly she changes her habits. What harm can it do?

mamachelle Mon 02-Dec-13 15:11:31

No shes not sn, although i did mention to the sch nurse that she displays ADD mannerisms when she was 7 but it was dismissed it as an age thing

She has poor memory and concentration and is always distracted by random things. So i use a timer and give her 2 or 3 things to do at a time which saves so many wars in the morning. She likes to know whats coming next so the list for times and what to do is an excellent idea. (She freaks out at unexpected events so we try and give her warning for things. 20 mins until, 15 mins until etc)

We always try to do the "how would you feel if that happened to you?" A shrug is the general response tbh. She isnt bothered about material possessions. Nothing tugs at her heart strings.

we have reward systems going 4 making beds, putting laundry away, clearing the table etc and they earn privileges such as t.v time or what ever they choose so i will add hers to that

She gets certain benefits for being the eldest sit at the top of the table if no adults are there, staying up the latest etc

The dcs do clean up their messes which she hates! She despises tidying lol

thanks for the ideas, im feeling inspired now!

Im going to get them from sch now, she is missing football club tonight so she can make it upto dd3 for yest when she gets home

Tuhlulah Mon 02-Dec-13 16:15:43

It's almost like she is marking territory, or establishing her position at the top of the (child) pack. That being said, my DS is an only child and was probably fairly unclean at 9. I still have to give his teeth a 'mum clean' every now and then.

Is it possible you could talk to her -make sure you have time alone to do something nice, and just bring it up in conversation, but in passing as opposed to a direct question. Ask her why she does it. How she feels when you tell her off. Does it occur to her that other people don't wipe up urine and throw the soiled clothes around? But no accusations, just discussion. No recriminations. Imagine you don't know her and you are trying to find out about her. She might allow this, or she might close down. But if you can sound interested in her and what she thinks, it might make her feel her opinion is worth knowing.

Is there an older role model who might inspire her to better behaviour? Older cousin? Someone she looks up to?

mamachelle Mon 02-Dec-13 17:58:23

Perhaps she does resent me for it. I think if i let her choose what she does with her body then it might cause huge problems at school. I could be wrong but im sure she would take the easy route and kids can be cruel. That approach is prob best left for a sch holiday.

They get individual time with me before bed so i will see how talkative she is feeling then.

I hadnt thought about praise for such things but i will start tonight

mamachelle Mon 02-Dec-13 17:58:57

Perhaps she does resent me for it. I think if i let her choose what she does with her body then it might cause huge problems at school. I could be wrong but im sure she would take the easy route and kids can be cruel. That approach is prob best left for a sch holiday.

They get individual time with me before bed so i will see how talkative she is feeling then.

I hadnt thought about praise for such things but i will start tonight

I'm wondering if she sees you helping her younger siblings to bathe/dress/brush their hair and there is a little bit of sibling rivalry which says "I need my hair brushing too!!" even though she is logically old enough to do these things for herself. Perhaps she's after a little bit of babying?

bundaberg Mon 02-Dec-13 19:46:00

that;s a good point... maybe she'd like it if you said "dd shall we brush your hair" while you watch some tv etc? i think it's a really hard age too... not little any more but not yet a teen. hard work being a kid these days!

mamachelle Mon 02-Dec-13 22:56:54

Im not sure it is to do with dd2 (8) or dd3 (5) as both are fairly sufficient iyswim. Except for hair checking and putting up (dd1 likes to put her own up) and bathing of dd3 there arent many differences. There is a Dd4 though who is only 5 months. So, anxieties maybe?

Anyway, dd1 chose scrabble for us tonight and we had a little chat. I started with "i love you always, you know that?" She immediately apologised for yesterdays antics, which was gratefully received although that wasnt what i was angling after.

She couldnt put a thought process behind her actions. I didnt push, i was just curious. We discussed respect, and that b4 something is done to think how we would feel to be on the receiving end. It was a good conversation. We didnt talk about cleanliness or hygiene or about yesterday directly.

At bed time, i told her to get herself ready for bed instead of listing instructions at her and something amazing happened! She asked for loo roll, i heard the flush and she smelt of handwash!

She got ready in no time for bed and brushed her teeth!

I did praise her 4 getting ready so quickly and told her that the tooth fairy would have to pay her double on her next visit if she carried on brushing that well!

Tuhlulah Tue 03-Dec-13 09:09:43

Mamachelle, that's great progress! To quote the ad, you must feel epic!

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