17yr old Daughter won't wash!

(82 Posts)
mrsm68 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:08:51

I have battled with my daughter all her life about washing. When she was little bath time was a nightmare with lots of screaming and tears.

She is now 17 yrs old, working and growing into a lovely young lady. She has lots of good qualities and I am proud of her, her bedroom is a tip but I understand that is just a teenage thing and I just close the door on it.

I can't, however, ignore the poor personal hygiene. If I didn't nag her then I'm sure she wouldn't shower at all. Sometimes she will go a whole week if I let my guard down and that includes the weeks that she has her period :-(

Her hair is long and is visibly greasy and she smells of BO and just dirty ness. If she leaves her bedroom door open you can smell it as you come up the stairs. Her work uniform is worn 6 days a week and she only parts with it occasionally for me to wash, yes the same top and trousers for 6+ days.

I have two other children, one older and one younger than DD and all of us including my husband shower every day.

I have compromised and said that every other day is ok but she will not have it. When I talk to her gently, kindly, tactfully or whatever, she says that I'm just being horrible and its horrible to say that someone is dirty etc!

Help, am I being unreasonable, I hate to think that others may be talking behind her back because they can smell her.

Laquila Thu 25-Apr-13 13:25:05

Sheshelob I feel you. Everyone's different. I generally have a bath or shower every other day but because I have ridiculous curly thick hair that takes at least three hours to dry I only generally wash my hair every few days - it's just too time-consuming otherwise!

My husband has to shower at least once a day, otherwise he is waaaay too fruity to be in normal society (manual labourer so not surprising he sweats a lot) but it by much annoys him that even if I didn't shower for three days I still wouldn't seem all anywhere near as bad as him.

If you ask me, personal hygiene is just that - very personal - and it's not fair to judge everyone by the same standards.

OP, I do feel your pain on this one and I'm afraid I don't have any miracle suggestions but I think she will probably grow out of it. As someone upthread said, all it will take is for a boyfriend to so much as mention it and she'll soon change her tune. Either that or she'll find an equally casual boyfriend, either way she'll be OK smile

everythinghippie29 Thu 25-Apr-13 13:25:13

TherealFellatio, if you read my full post I said that I was into grunge AND had very much the same issue. Not sure which was cause and which was effect though! Either way I was certainly a bath dodger like OP's daughter for quite some time...

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 13:25:39

<high fives hippie> Yes!

Fellatio I know, right? Because I obviously never wash. Never. Not before sex or work or parties or weddings or funerals. I don't even know how a tap works.

He impregnated me the usual way. With a clothes peg on his nose. And his eyes watering.

forevergreek Thu 25-Apr-13 13:26:52

I would also have a proper sit down and chat about it

It isn't pleasent for anyone. She could loose job over it, friends, or get ill more often.

Now the warmer weather is approaching it will only get worse. It's literally 3 mins to jump in howler and wash. Add 15 mins if washing and drying hair

LeChatRouge Thu 25-Apr-13 13:28:42

How about a shopping trip, not only to increase her work wardrobe, but also stock up on some nice goodies for shower/bath/perfume? Does she like that god awful shop Lush? Bath bombs?

I think you need to be a little firmer as well, however hard this may be. Tonight tell her that you've had enough, on her next day off you will both be tackling her room together, give it a good clear out and a spring clean. Tell her from now on, she has to get up at a normal time and that she must both shower and rotate her daily clothes. Open the window every morning, make her bed etc. No arguing. Even at her age you might have to shut off the Internet or something to show her you are serious.

Does she have friends round?

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 13:29:26

<bumps fists with Lalquila> Love it.

That's two bath dodgers. I might get my deposit back on the hall at this rate.

Any more? Surely there must be more stinky sisters out there.

TheRealFellatio Thu 25-Apr-13 13:30:48

But it's all very well saying you wash before sex and parties, but if you don't generally wash the rest of the time and you admit to 'stinking up the place for days' then franky I'm surprised you are invited to have sex or go to parties in the first place. What you are doing is anti-social and ufair on those who are forced to be around you. I don't know how you can treat it as some kind of joke. It's minging.

SeventiesBush Thu 25-Apr-13 13:36:54

Maybe you could point out that she probably won't notice the smell so much because she's surrounded by it all the time, but everyone else will have done, and they will talk about her behind her back. I worked somewhere where someone had really bad BO and the boss even bought him a new shirt when they had to have a client meeting. He was oblivious though.

I worked with a woman who never washed either and always had greasy hair and grubby clothes - she liked to maintain that her looks had nothing to do with her ability to do her job; no one cared what she looked like, but she stank!

She needs to understand it's just something everyone needs to do, like teeth-brushing (she does brush her teeth, right...?). She needs to make it a habit, like everyone else, and it'll only take a few minutes every day.

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 13:37:39

Your right. Again. I should have an AS B.O.

mrsm68 Thu 25-Apr-13 13:38:49

everythinghippie29 she bought herself some dry shampoo and said "yay now I don't need to wash my hair!"

Pattieofurniture not depressed as far as I know

SeventiesBush Thu 25-Apr-13 13:39:19

Also, why does she only have one work uniform, can't she get at least a second set of work clothes?

mrsm68 Thu 25-Apr-13 13:44:06

SeventiesBush I have told her to ask for more uniform but she they haven't got any. And yes, she's does brush her teeth lol phew!

HazeltheMcWitch Thu 25-Apr-13 13:47:47

Going back to what Felly said, does she have any behavioural/oppositional issues? Could she be depressed? Lack of self-care can sometimes go hand in hand with depressive episodes.

Does she make the most of herself in other ways? Is she interested in clothes, makeup? Could it be that she's using the lack of hygiene as a way of keeping people/relationships at arm's length, sort of avoiding growing up?

SeventiesBush Thu 25-Apr-13 13:51:02

I think you might have to forget the diplomatic approach and just say something like

"Look, I've tried to say this nicely, but it's obviously not getting through to you. I'm not calling you dirty to be horrible, I'm saying it because I love you and I hate the idea that people are talking about you behind your back, which they will be doing, because you smell really, really bad. Your hair smells, your armpits smell, your clothes smell and your bedroom smells. Everyone needs to wash every day, it's as simple as that. It takes a few minutes to have a shower, you need to build it into your routine. If you want I can get you out of bed 5 minutes earlier so you can go straight into the shower in the morning".

pickledginger Thu 25-Apr-13 13:52:32

Could you buy her a shower cap and some Mitchum deodorant and say that she needs to shower at least twice a week and do her hair at least once a week and in return you will bite your tongue and stop nagging about it.

Remind her that you love her and you're telling her because other people won't say anything to her face about it. Thought her boss probably will if this carries on over the summer.

lljkk Netherlands Thu 25-Apr-13 14:33:00

It sounds like the only people in her life who have a problem with it is her family. She's fine at work, fine at school, presumably has lots of friends.

I know you didn't ask, but YABU.

ajandjjmum Thu 25-Apr-13 17:32:39

But you can only rely on family to be honest lljkk - we don't know she has lots of friends - and I certainly wouldn't assume that.

Must be hard OP.

Does she work full time OP?

If so the company are obliged to provide more than one set of uniform. she needs to chase it up.

livinginwonderland Thu 25-Apr-13 18:20:23

I know I went through a bit of a manky phase, but I was about 12/13, not 17. It was because my hormones kicked in and all of a sudden I had greasy hair and acne, but I didn't connect that with needing to shower more often for a few months. But at 17, that's not really a reason, it's just plain laziness/nastiness.

I agree with the people who've said to take her shopping for nice bath stuff - soaps, bubble baths, etc. It might encourage her to actually get in the shower so she can try them out. Otherwise, I don't see what else you can do - if she meets a boy, she'll be in the shower pretty much straight away - maybe you could set her up on a date?!

specialsubject Thu 25-Apr-13 18:31:26

your house, your rules. As diplomacy has evidently failed:

'you are stinking out my house and you are really unpleasant to be around. When you have your own place you can do what you want. While you live in my house you bath or shower every day. And you are also risking losing your job, as your boss is no doubt trying to work up the courage to give you a warning. you must be revolting the customers.

desert island behaviour for those who live on one. Hope the smelly woman is joking, I also cannot understand why anyone would have sex with her.

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 18:49:04

I'm not actually joking. I don't bathe every day. I didn't bathe this morning. But I will bathe tomorrow because I have a meeting. And I'm not even going to have sex with them. But given how clean I will be, I'm not sure how they will resist.

But in the meantime, I shall enjoy stewing in my own personal marinade

<wafts armpit in direction of special>

grassalwayslooksgreener Thu 25-Apr-13 19:06:10

I agree with Sheshelob I don't bathe everyday I just don't have the time. When I've finished doing everything I need to do for the day I'd rather sit and chill.

But I do have the excuse that we don't have a shower and the bath takes ages to run.

I do wash twice a day though. But it is also a running joke in my family ;)

LJBrownie Thu 25-Apr-13 19:22:09

I couldn't be bothered with too much showering when I was a teenager. Just sprayed deodorant on top of stinky clothes. I wasn't depressed, was generally happy and went on to live a reasonably successful and slightly cleaner life. It seemed to be some kind of inherent laziness. I think she's far too old for talk about "not tolerating this" etc. Let her make her own choices, she'll grow out of it (at least a bit...)

njaw Thu 25-Apr-13 19:23:25

I think it falls into two seperate categories.

- Her personal hygiene as it relates to her work and her relationships with others
- Her hygiene as it relates to your home.

I get that one does to some degree cross into the other but with 17 year olds, its kind of about boundaries. I think its important for you to have clear rules that it's not acceptable for her room to stink and for that to have an impact on her family.

If she pays rent, it goes up by x amount to cover the cost of a cleaner/your intervention. If she's not paying rent, you just remove home cooked meals until such time as she falls into line with the rest of the family as regards to cleanliness.

And then for the other side, you have to bite down hard, accept you can take a horse to water but not make it shower (a pun, not calling DD a horse honest!) and leave her to come to it of her own accord. I would personally be tempted to maybe have a spa session/home pampering session to see if you can make her feel really good about herself in the meantime.

LJBrownie Thu 25-Apr-13 19:31:41

I would have been highly amused if my mum had thought a nice shopping trip for 'lovely smellies' was a good idea and it would not have made me wash more. In fact, I'd have found it very weird! I think that for the majority of very clean people, it's just really hard to imagine that some of us choose to be a bit dirtier so you imagine there must be a deep, dark reason beyond general laziness. Even now I don't usually shower every day when I'm not at work. Perfume is my friend smile

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