Teenager and washing

(44 Posts)
Jan45 Thu 25-Jul-13 10:12:53

I posted a while back re my stepson, he's nearly 18, him and his dad moved in with me 7 months ago and from day one the ss doesn't appear to wash, ie, has no personal hygiene whatsoever. I can't stand having someone live with me who stinks so for the past 7 months I've tried everything, ie, explaining to him the importance of keeping clean, the reasons why and also why I expect it - all to no avail, the showering starts and then soon stops, I have to remind him every week to take a shower so you're lucky if he washes once a week.

Came home last night and as usual he's in his bed (doesn't appear to be making much progress looking for a job). When he got up I lost it a bit and brought up the non washing again, he just stands there and says he doesn't know - I don't think I've ever came across a teenager as lazy as this - I know it's normal for teenage boys not to take so much care over their appearance but I've been asking then telling him for 7 months now and I'd just had enough last night.

I've now told him unless he takes the responsibility for showering I will take away his internet connection, I just don't know what else to do, it's like a losing battle that I aint prepared to lose. I don't ask anything of him, his dad gives me money that more than covers their keep plus I am not his mum so feel uncomfortable even having to raise this issue, I told his Dad it's his job and I should not be having to step in all the time. It's difficult, what would you have done in my position, am I doing the right thing here?

purpleroses Thu 25-Jul-13 10:21:53

He doesn't wash, hasn't got a job, and goes to bed in the middle of the day. Do you think maybe he could be depressed? Dosen't sound healthy to me. Boys in their early teens are often smelly and lacking any sense of hygene - for a younger teen I'd suggest making it a routine, not feeding them dinnder til they're showered, etc - but by 18 they ought to have got that sussed really. Does he see his mum? If not, it doesn't sound like anyone - you, your DP or his mum - is really feeling able to address the problem.

Tuckshop Thu 25-Jul-13 10:27:45

Could he be depressed? Where is his mum, does he see her?

Ragwort Thu 25-Jul-13 10:30:08

What is his dad doing about it?

claraschu Thu 25-Jul-13 10:33:27

Sounds like the bad hygiene is a symptom of a larger problem. I would be talking to his dad about all of this.

Jan45 Thu 25-Jul-13 10:38:34

His mum lives in another country and neglected him when he was there, hence the reason he came to us. When he went to school, the whole time he was there the teachers said he was work shy, very lazy and had switched off from learning, it was a real struggle, to the point we broke up cos I couldn't cope with the constant issues. That was 7 years ago now.

I honestly don't think he is depressed, I think he is just plain lazy, you have to ask him to do everything, ie, can you put your dirty clothes in the washing (which usually consits of one item), can you shower please, can you change your bed, it's like living with a 5 year old. With regards to his current situation, I wouldn't stand for it if he was mine but my partner seems to think it's ok that he sleeps all day, goes out in the evening and does basically fuck all with his life.

He's a lovely kid, he really is and I don't want to now start trying to fix him without sounding uncaring, right now I just want him to show respect for himself and for me as it's my home so it's really just about the showering I want sorted, the rest is up to him, his dad and his mum.

Ragwort Thu 25-Jul-13 10:40:47

I repeat, how is his father dealing with this issue?

Have you been 'dating' for the previous seven years since you broke up or have you re-started the relationship? Does he resent the fact that his father has moved in with you, were they living alone before? Did he shower regularly before moving in with you?

Jan45 Thu 25-Jul-13 10:49:14

Mmmm, dad seems to be occupied with his own life, I know, it's not good, I don't like his lack of parenting but when I've tried to tell him it's ended up in an argument, we've been together 11 years and have never broke up but we had to live apart for a while as I just couldn't cope with the weekly issues at school and other stuff.

I've learnt over the years not to get involved so I've tried to do that and still do but the non washing is actually driving me insane, the shower room is right next to his and he can spend hours in his room but yet still won't step under the shower cubicle. The internet connection seems the only way I can now get through to him, I've tried to be nice for 7 months now and don't feel I have any other choice, my partner either doesn't see what I see or is basically not that interested in what his son is doing.

Regardless of the above myself and ss get on really well, I like him very much and I feel he thinks the same of me.

Tuckshop Thu 25-Jul-13 10:56:24

So his mum neglected him and isn't around, and his Dad doesn't bother parenting him either. Sounds like its a call for attention, or a complete lack if self worth. I'm not sure you can do much if his parents aren't, other than encourage him gently and give him some love. It might change things slowly for him but I wouldn't expect him to just snap out if it.

Jan45 Thu 25-Jul-13 11:02:19

Yeah that's about it, sad innit.

I've been encouraging him gently and giving him kindness for 7 months, that hasn't worked, the showering starts and a week later it's back to nothing again. Cutting off his internet connection makes me feel bad but I don't think I have any other choice. Again, without sounding uncaring, I'm not prepared to try and fix the problems that his two parents created.

He's the happiest kid I know, is probably 2 years mentally younger than his age which I take into consideration but I honestly can't live with anyone who doesn't wash, it's abhorent to me.

purpleroses Thu 25-Jul-13 11:14:29

Do you cook his evening meal? If so, could you just tell him that he needs to be showered every day before dinner? Then remind him about half an hour before dinner's ready, and yes switch of the wifi at that point too if necessary. If you try and get him to shower at the same time of day each day, it shoudl eventually become a habit.

theredhen Thu 25-Jul-13 11:23:26

Yes my DS at age 15 does need reminding every day but we also have a routine and he knows when he should be having a shower and I wouldn't hesitate in pulling the plug on the wifi if he didn't go when reminded - I have done this when he has dragged his heels.

Jan45 Thu 25-Jul-13 11:26:14

That's what I tried last time, no shower, no dinner, it didn't work, he'd either be out at dinner time or I would so it was difficult keeping to that.

Yes I just want him to get into the habit of showering, I've told him it doesn't have to be every day but at least every 2nd day, all to no avail. He has his internet connection running from the lounge to his room so it's easy enough for me to disconnect it and tbh if that's what it takes then I am willing to do it, I just wanted some confirmation that I am doing the right thing here.

I'm annoyed at myself for losing it last night, told him if he wanted to behave like a homeless person he knew where the door was cos he wasn't behaving like that in my home (I know I shouldn't have).

I also have a big ? mark over my relationship with my partner, his lack of parenting is affecting the way I view him, and it's not good.

theredhen Thu 25-Jul-13 11:35:36

DS used to shower every other day and I ended up having a battle over whether he showered yesterday or not. He always seemed to think he had had a shower the day before and therefore did not need one on that particular day.

Things got better when I insisted on a shower every single day because he couldn't argue it.

I completely understand you losing respect for DP because of this. Your DP is being lazy and avoiding being the bad guy to boot. sad

Jan45 Thu 25-Jul-13 11:50:40

My partner asked him last nite when did you last take a shower and he said `yesterday` - I then had to point out that it was at least a week ago and only then because I had to tell him to go take one, it all sounds so petty but is extremely frustrating.

And yes I have lost a bit of resepct for my partner, I shouldn't have to do HIS job.

Thyeternalsummer Thu 25-Jul-13 12:27:01

Does he have long hair or anything that would make showering a 'chore'. I know sometimes the thought of having to blowdry my hair after showering makes it seem like far to much effort, same for my partner's daughter. She's much happy showering when there's a shower cap available and she won't need to wash, condition and detangle her hair.
Can only suggest you facilitate it being easy to shower as poss - access to bathroom, sufficient supply of clean dry towels, and plenty of clean clothes available to change into afterwards. Maybe a few comfy short/tshirt combos just to slouch around in after washing if he's not going out.

Apologies if you've already tried all this! wink

Jan45 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:36:00

Thanks everyone.

No long hair, his hair is beaded and I don't think it's been washed for a year or more (eugh).

Shower caps, towels, underfloor heating, all there for him to use, bathroom right next door to his bedroom.

I'm going to wait and see what happens after last nite's heated discussion, I've warned him last chance, next time I'm cutting the internet connection.

Ragwort Mon 29-Jul-13 19:36:50

What happened?

Seriously, I think more of a problem is your relationship with DP - how can you love and respect someone who doesn't seem to want to parent his own child?

Eliza22 Tue 30-Jul-13 08:42:13

Um, your DP needs to sort this out in a "this isn't acceptable.... this is what must happen..." way.

I feel sorry for the young man. I feel sorry for you. And in this heat, he must be rather pungent!

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 12:07:53

Was actually coming on to give an update: nothing has change really since last week, my partner has made half hearted attempts to get his son to shower, son doesn't seem to have taken on board anything I have said (for the past 7 months), I feel like I am living with 2 five year olds - I told his son that if he still insisted on not washing I was taking out the internet connection that runs from the livingroom to his bedroom, looks like by end of this week I'll be doing that then.

Seriously contemplating my relationship with b/f, he just won't take on board that he needs to ensure his son showers and clearly won't take on the fact that I am upset every 7 days and have to bring it up - it's a losing battle, we're going out tonight for a talk cos I am just not happy - the non washing, lying in bed all day long, it's just not for me, thought I could ignore it but I can't.

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 12:14:33

Eliza22: my b/f has but it's been mainly me asking him, explaining to him, nothing works! I feel so uncomfortable in my own home as it all feels incredibly abnormal and totally unnecessary.

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 12:15:26

Ragwort: yip that's exactly how I am seeing things too, difference between us is that I do love him but love doesn't conquer all, I know that much.

Eliza22 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:04:13

It wouldn't do for me, either. Not unless there was a very good reason (social phobia/depression) and help could be gotten for the boy. If it's genuine laziness and lack of respect for the fact he's living with others and cannot be (totally) a law unto himself, then I'd be giving them both an ultimatum.

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:15:33

Yeah the ultimatum will be given out tonight, we're going out for a walk to have a good talk.

It's not just the non washing, it's the lying in bed til late afternoon/early evening - it's awkward cos I agreed with my b/f that I would stay out of the raising of his son completely (we'd already been there in the past) but I'm now finding out that these things are really upsetting me and it feels wrong to feel that way. I do all the cleaning, most of the cooking, which, I am happy to do but if I ask my b/f with help with DIY then it's a maybe, will see how I feel and it never gets done. He says I am always criticising him but won't say how (cop-out imo).

It's my own flat so don't know if he feels he shouldn't have to help but in my book being in a relationship means you want to do things for each other, he is making me feel like we're only in the here and now and to hell with the future, well I'm nearly 50 and I want to plan a future with someone, share the same values and morals and both look forward to the same goals, I don't think I'm going to get that so I think tonight will be more about him and his son moving out.

Sorry for ranting, it helps to put thoughts down on paper.

Eliza22 Tue 30-Jul-13 15:32:46

Oh Christ Jan, what are you getting out of this?

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 15:48:09

Eliza22, a lot of stress and frustration that my b/f refuses to acknowledge. Wish me luck!

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Jul-13 16:56:42

I'm in agreement with people that say that your DP needs to take more of an interest. I don't actually think it is 'normal' any more for teenage boys, once they get past about 14, to be the stereotypical smelly, scruffy thing. Advertising these days is all about male grooming and whenever I get in a room with my DS's mates (13 yos) they seem quite inventive with the hair products and the molecules of various colognes are so dense it's tough to breathe.

Does he realise that his scruffiness is hampering his job prospects? Does he have or hope to have a sexual relationship with a woman at some point? These are the 'man to man' aspects that DP can stress

Thinking about 'threats'. I've only my own DS to go on but I find he responds 10 x better if he feels that he's responsible for something, included in household decisions and basically treated like a grown-up than he does to the threat of things being taken away. Which, let's face it, is more normal treatment for prisoners or toddlers. I think he desperately needs to be occupied. Staying in bed all day is a recipe for depression. He needs jobs around the home or garden, volunteering locally, something physical ... there's got to be something you can make him do.

Then there's the confidence/self-esteem/stress/depression aspect. After being rejected by mum and shoe-horned into another family he could be a bit delicate mentally and this 'dirty protest' is a symptom. What is good at? Putting a metaphorical peg on your nose, what can you find about him to love, admire and praise? Could he require some confidence-boosting?

And finally.... drink and drugs? The person I was at uni with who behaved like this was doing both and spent most of the day wasted in his room.

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 17:23:58

I've tried everything - the girfriend angle, the self esteem angle, deodorants etc, nothing is working and I think it's mainly down to my b/f not enforcing any of it! Same with the lying in bed, not really looking for a job, my b/f ok's all this by saying nothing to him and continuing to give him money. I came home last week and b/f was hoovering out the car after doing an 11hr shift whilst son was languishing in his pit - when I raise the issue my b/f is quick to tell me it's not my concern and to butt out.

So, I either shut up and put up or ask them to leave, the latter feels more attractive to me.

My b/f and his son have a very limited relationship, I've observed very little communication between the two of them; I actually think my b/f thinks he only has to provide a roof, shelter and food and that's it. I am rapidly losing patience and respect for him. I feel it's time I put my needs first and accept that things will not change. We're having a talk later but I think it's going to be more about them moving out as if he is not willing to ensure his son does the basic of things, why waste any more of my time?

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 17:27:52

As for the weed, I could smell it about a month ago and ss denied it even though the stench from his room would knock you out, to his credit he manned up a little later and said yes, I asked him not to smoke in my home and he respects this but most nights he pops out for a `dessert` (joint) and again, my b/f is enabling this by giving him money while he does feck all day every day.

Ragwort Tue 30-Jul-13 17:34:20

Jan - your BF is clearly enabling his son to behave like this, giving him money to spend on drugs and letting him spend all day in bed? What sort of a 'father' behaves like that? Take a long hard look at the situation, as you say, why waste your time on these two anymore?

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 17:40:44

Ragwort, it's all I have been thinking about and yes I'm not seeing a picture I want to be part of, it just feels so petty, it's not an affair, it's not him mistreating me, it's him mistreating his son and I don't think I can watch any more of it, it's not normal in my book to behave like this, it's hardly the son's fault when both his parents don't give a stuff about him or his future.

Do I really want to spend what time I have left (not getting any younger) on a guy who thinks it's ok to not parent his child and for his child's behaviour to have me upset pretty much every 7 days when I have to bring it up again, I'm like a broken record, even I'm bored listening to myself!

Jan45 Wed 31-Jul-13 10:27:46

So, after 15 minutes of me venting my frustrations my oh walks out so that was that. Son now coming in late so completely avoiding showering full stop. I feel I am going insane with it all, something my partner should have sorted months ago is still going on. His answer to the problem was that he and his son will move out rather than cause me grief, so that's my answer, he doesn't want to sort anything out, he wants to play the victim and make me look like the mad woman - well ok, cheerio then.

allnewtaketwo Wed 31-Jul-13 10:37:45

So sorry to hear that Jan45. Unfortunately it's often the easiest route taken to go along with unreasonable behaviour from the child and in the meantime make the person pointing out the madness (i.e. the long-suffering partner) into the evil one for daring to notice and comment on what is going on in their home.

Ragwort Thu 01-Aug-13 09:23:04

Well, you've got your answer Jan45 haven't you, it sounds tough but if that's what your DP believes then he really isn't truly into you is he? I am sure in the long run you will be glad to have your home back to yourself. As all is saying, he is trying to make you look like the 'bad guy' but you're not, and the son will have so many issues in his life if he can't get used to the idea of showering regularly and starting to look for a job/college whatever.

Be strong, put yourself first. smile.

Jan45 Thu 01-Aug-13 11:30:34

Thanks Ragwort, last night was a complete turnaround, he told me he was sorry, he didn't realise blah blah blah, I've told him it's last chance saloon, no more talking, he either parents his son and shows me a bit more consideraton or it really is the end, I just hope he can do it, it's simple to me and you but obviously not to him, I really don't know why not but I do know he is a very lucky man to have me, I'm a good person who is only ever trying to do the right thing. I don't actually think he deserves me but I'm willing to give it one more go, I do love him in all the other ways, it's a shame.

specialsubject Fri 02-Aug-13 15:00:19

Stick to your guns. Your 'partner' has clearly bred another of the same. It doesn't sound to me like you get anything out of this - no respect, no company, no team work, just two lazy kids and one stinky one.

glad it is your home. I think it is time you had it to yourself if nothing changes.

good luck.

Eliza22 Sun 04-Aug-13 12:06:14

Hear hear! Well said Specialsubject. They sound like a pair of squatters in OP's home. I'd give them notice.... And mean it!

Jan45 Mon 05-Aug-13 15:20:35

Thanks for comments, I do get friendship and company but yes the team work isn't how I would like it. My b/f is a lovely guy but he's definitely lazy when it comes to his son, I just don't get it.

I will be sticking to my guns don't worry and yes it's all mine, my b/f gives me a lot of money but I'd simply replace that with a flatmate!

Ragwort Mon 05-Aug-13 19:26:29

I hope things work out for you Jan - but please don't settle for second best, keep this thread as a reminder of the situation and review it in a couple of weeks time?

As I said before, the issue for me is not so much the non-washing teenager (I have a 12 year old DS myself, fortunately he likes showering grin) but how your DP relates to his own son. To me the way my DH 'fathers' (for want of a better word!) our son is very, very important to me, it makes him who he is and I enjoy watching how their relationship has and is developing as our DS grows up. smile.

Jan45 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:51:10

I get that Ragwort and I do agree but it's not my son so it's a kind of different situation and the fact he is nearly 18.

When we lived together before they were both fine and my b/f did his job ok but since they've been living on their own the parenting has all but gone out the window and it does affect the way I view him, unfortunately.

Will see what happens, I don't want to end an 11 year relationship that is good in every other way, I'd rather stay and sort it out, but yes, it's up to my b/f to ensure this is once and for all settled.

Jan45 Thu 08-Aug-13 13:24:12

I feel so bloody stupid, it's a week later and nothing changed, the showering was a non event and b/f doing nothing as usual. Surely the most frustrating situation I've ever been in but I have to admit defeat now and bow out, they must go, I literally can't stand it any longer. How many chances do you give people before you reach your limit, mine's was 8 months.

A new life beckons, can't be any worse than this.

Eliza22 Thu 08-Aug-13 16:44:10

Oh Jan I'm sorry. But you know? You've been tolerant and accommodating and some people wouldn't mind the lack of personal hygiene. But you do. You two (3) are not compatible. Enough!

When my SD expected me to clear up her dirty knickers and vomit stained clothes (she was 17) I finally drew a line. Haven't spoken to her since. It's all about personal standards and individual tolerance levels. SD said her mum wouldn't mind. But you see, I wasn't her mum and I minded, very much.

Ragwort Thu 08-Aug-13 19:26:35

Jan - sorry, sad, you tried really, really hard but now is the time to move on, you can do it, hold your head high, get them out of your life and start doing some fun things for yourself. Have you got some supportive friends around to go out with? Good luck. smile

Jan45 Fri 09-Aug-13 10:41:33

Morning Ragwort, feel like I've been punched in the stomach but yes I have great family and friends so I reckon I'll be A ok, thanks for the support x

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