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.

Remotecontrolduck Wed 01-Jan-14 17:13:06

Old thread but there's something wrong with a 17 year old that won't wash to that extent. Depression, not wanting to grow up etc. It just isn't normal to not want to wash at all!

You can understand maybe a 13 year old going through puberty, lots of changes etc to be a bit slack with things, but 17. Nearly an adult, especially if she's out working!

Hope it got resolved OP and you told her she must wash and looked for the reasons behind her refusal. I can't believe people tried to excuse it on this thread. Ok, maybe not everyone is an 'every day without fail' type like myself, but not washing at all unless forced is the mark of something not being quite right.

AdoraBell Wed 01-Jan-14 14:16:41

Clay you don't need To worry about public pools, that what the tons of cholorine is for.

OP any progress?

Claybury Wed 01-Jan-14 14:10:16

Highly amusing thread. I'm simply amazed that people are saying they don't have time to shower every day.
I have always promised my DC's I will tell them if they smell so they never have any BO anxiety which was common when I was a teen. Teens will NOT tell their peers if they smell. They will talk about them behind their backs and choose other friends. It is really hard to tell someone they smell - I have had colleagues with BO and nobody likes to broach the subject, it's awkward. Oh and I'll never forget my physics teacher - she stank.

It's a parent's duty to teach self care out of kindness to your DC's. Like teaching other life skills- nutrition, chores etc. Who else will?

I train for triathlon and it can be tedious in that you are showering often at least twice a day, after running/cycling and later after swimming. The people on here who are not washing are presumably not exercising at all as well as not washing every day ?

Here's hoping I never have to share a swimming pool with a bath refuser - yuck. In fact this thread had made me think about public pools which I have never been keen on ......

Deathwatchbeetle Wed 01-Jan-14 07:40:10

Sheshelob - love the commens! Really made me laugh.

However - Although not an obsessive (though I do shower/wash all over every morning) -I do notice in supermarkets at the weekend that the great unwashed come out to play. They are rank -their hair, clothes and parts we won't mention. Ok some are obviously 'not the full shilling' but others seem quite well dressed and compos mentis but still rank!

Claybury Tue 31-Dec-13 09:23:09

I would make it easy for her if she is lazy - one evening run a bath for her and persuade her to get in. It doesn't need to take long. Make sure the bathroom is warm so it's a pleasant experience.
I thought DD14 was odd only having one bath a week....

mathanxiety Tue 31-Dec-13 03:18:49

I would say depression is at the root of this, or a failure to advance beyond childhood, emotionally speaking. Appropriate self care is the mark of a grown up. It seems to me she is in some sort of denial about being on the cusp of adulthood and will not embrace the responsibility that brings, or the potential for sexual relationships that also goes hand in hand with growing up.

Make an appointment for her to be assessed for depression or emotional issues.

This is not normal and her response to your requests isn't reasonable. She is resisting something that washing signifies.

HowlingTrap Tue 31-Dec-13 00:14:45

I dont bathe/shower everyday I physically don't have time but I always without fail sinkwash if I cannot have the above,

teeth, face, underarms, and the undercarriages so I'm not funky lol does your DD even do that?

I'm another who doesn't really smell in comparison to DH.

unquietmind Tue 31-Dec-13 00:01:14

Laughed my knackers off after googling / searching for help with a teen ds and would love to have the answer. Eldest humdinged worst in early teens but gets it now and racks the gas bill up now. The other tries to trick me with wet fringes, running the shower empty for ten min or washing hair only in the sink. For all the palaver he could just wash?

He is happy has a gf and stays at mates regularly. Really surprised no one says anything. Wouldnt mind infrequent washing but its getting silly now with weeks on end. Also 17. .

Sheshelob I was difficult to get into a bathroom aged 13-15 until fellas came on the scene but dont know what my pre male bathroom issues were.perhaps 2 inch lukewarm baths because of the bills and parents set the water limits? Not sure what today's issues are
for teens

Sheshelob Sat 27-Apr-13 23:14:26

Thanks, lljkk

I'm here all week!

ZZZenagain Sat 27-Apr-13 15:43:56

if she finds it hard to get up in time to wash in the mornings, I would insist that she does it when she gets in from work before the evening meal, that way there is no chance of her running out of time. In the morning, she needs to clean under her armpits and put on deo. That would be ok.

In the same way, you can wash your hair in the evening. IT doesn't have to be done in the shower in the morning. Maybe she needs set days. So Tuesday and Friday evenings for example, she washes her hair. I don't know if it would be enough but it would be an improvement. Her work clothes need a wash during the week. Maybe on Wednesday, she puts them in the wash as soon as she gets in, irons them damp and hangs them up to dry overnight.

lljkk Sat 27-Apr-13 15:43:15

I enjoyed SheShelob's humour.

specialsubject Sat 27-Apr-13 15:34:12

being disgusting to live with is not 'a chosen form of rebellion'. Or indeed a 'lifestyle choice'.

it is just disgusting.

how often you wash doesn't really matter, as long as it is sufficient to stop you smelling.

Sheshelob Fri 26-Apr-13 18:12:49

Apology accepted. I'm sorry I was such a goady old bastard.

I was being ironic. I don't smell but I am known as someone who proudly doesn't bathe everyday, hence the pride in being a bath dodger. I have always been that way and my family think it is funny that I haven't changed my socks.

I'm glad you weren't a child who was teased for being dirty or smelly. There were some kids in my school who were, and who were bullied mercilessly for it. But it was largely a symptom of some other breakdown in their families.

This isn't a serious subject in the context the OP presented. It sounds like it is their flashpoint and always has been. If the OP had been worried about a dirty child that wasn't her own then I would have been much more sensitive. But it isn't. It is about a girl whose chosen form of rebellion is a dirty protest. As rebellions go, it is a pretty mild one.

I guess that is what I was reacting to. At your worst, some of the posts sounded like the kind of things you were supposedly protecting the OP's DD from. And then when it was aimed at me, I thought I'd take the piss out of you all.

But let's let it lie. Life is too short. And I have my gloriously clean hair to whip around a la Timotei.

TheRealFellatio Fri 26-Apr-13 17:17:24

I apologise Sheshelob I am afraid I was a bit rude to you. Although I saw the humour in what you wrote I did think (and sort of still do) that you were completely serious about your point - which is that it doesn't matter if you smell; it's ok to not wash. You made some jokey flippant comments about you 'rancid arse crack' and your 'stinky pits' 'stinking up the joint for days' and how it is a running joke in your family. I tactfully suggest to you that you may think it's a 'running joke' but if others who love you have noticed and commented, then you can rest assured that others who don't love you will be being less kind.

Now perhaps you were hamming it up a bit and all of the above in not really true, in which case you played your part a bit too well and I missed the irony. But if they are true, then personally I could not bear to think of people laughing at me being my back for smelling, and I also could not bear to think that I was causing others a degree of discomfort and embarrassment when in my company, but hey, if you are ok with that then carry on. confused

I was never the smelly kid thankfully, but I have seen what happens to the poor children of very slovenly adults with low standards at school and it is not pleasant. I've seen an entire family of six kids with ears so black with mank you could scrape it off with a spoon, and with school uniform that they clearly slept in of days on end, stinking of piss, because their mother and father just didn't think it was a big deal, so long as they had lots of love to give. hmm

I am not a member of the Dettol Collective, or whatever you called it - I bathe or shower once a day as a rule but I will occasionally skip a day without having a nervous breakdown over it. There is a balance, you know, between being an obsessive clean freak and having BO for days on end.

Anyway, I apologise if I was unnecessarily rude, and let's beg to differ.

pickledginger Fri 26-Apr-13 15:18:25

Yay! I wonder if she'd get a second uniform if you'd pay for it? Or let her off whatever she chips in for 'keep' to match the cost?

specialsubject Fri 26-Apr-13 15:06:41

excellent news! The air is fresher already. :-)

mrsm68 Fri 26-Apr-13 13:43:36

Phew, just finished her bedroom, it took 3 hours but we hoovered every nook and cranny and did lots of sorting and chucking.

It looks lovely in there and DD said "it looks like an IKEA showroom in my bedroom" bless her.

Thanks again everyone x

LeChatRouge Fri 26-Apr-13 11:45:59

mrsm that sounds like progress.
I read on here once something wise. That teenagers are very much like toddlers and despite being our height and old enough to drive/marry/vote, are actually craving boundaries and guidance. They just can't articulate it. So, you putting your foot down might create an argument (or not), but it also might be just what she wanted.

Laquila Fri 26-Apr-13 10:25:27

Sounds like a good results, mrsm68, well done! Hell I can't remember the last time I polished anything - am off to attack something with a duster...

Sheshelob Fri 26-Apr-13 10:14:43

Stinkies at your service, Mrs.

Hope you find some common ground soon.

mrsm68 Fri 26-Apr-13 10:12:01

Laquila you said:
"My point is that she will probably grow out of it, and if her friends aren't mentioning it and she isn't the butt of nasty comments then it might not even be as bad as you think. Not to play down your worries, but it may be that you feel it's more of an issue partially because you've been trying for so long and so hard to rectify it. I think you've done all you can do for now, and just have to let it work itself out. You sound like a good mum"

You are right, no one has mentioned it and it is probably the fact that I have battled for so long and had expected her to have grown out of it by now that makes it seems so much worse.

To everyone else, thanks so much for your input even you 'stinky' ones lol.

To update you: I sort of lost it with her yesterday, told her that I wasn't putting up with it etc. She showered last night without a mention and this morning she has gone off on a driving lesson and I said that when she gets back if she tidies her room then I will polish and hoover it. She was reluctant at first but then agreed.

It probably won't last but it's a step in the right direction, I just need to keep the momentum going.

vitaminC Fri 26-Apr-13 10:02:52

Ugh. I can sympathise as my 14yo DD is exactly the same. Right down to hating bathtime as a child.
We were asked to leave waterbabies after 3 sessions when she was a few months old as she screamed blue murder the second any water touched her skin!

I don't have any advice but I'm hoping those who have said she'll grow out of it are right. I'm actually pretty embarrassed by her to be honest blush

Sheshelob Fri 26-Apr-13 10:00:47

^^YES, Laquila!

The reaction has been pretty extreme for what in the grander scheme of things is not a big deal. But I guess the mere thought of filth makes some of the Dettol Collective start to itch.

The tramp one made me laugh the most. She actually gave the state of my genitals some serious thought! I guess I should be flattered...?

Laquila Fri 26-Apr-13 09:35:14

Sheshelob I think you have stayed remarkably calm on this thread given that a) you were trying to play things down for the OP/empathise with her daughter; b) you've been called "a selfish idiot", a "jerk", "seriously unhinged"; and c) compared to "a rancid old tramp with filthy fingernails and mingling genitals"!

OP, I think the one thing you can definitely take away from this thread is that as others have said, hygiene is a spectrum. Elizabeth I apparently only bathed once a year, and she was famously fairly successful in life (although no-one ever impregnated her, thinking about it...) Some people have (to my mind) an unhealthy obsession with cleanliness, which at the far end of the spectrum can end up being a problem, OCD-wise, and no-one wants that. Some people at the other end of the spectrum can definitely have an equally unhealthy approach, particularly if their lack of hygiene leads to infection, ostracization (sp?) or similar.

My point is that she will probably grow out of it, and if her friends aren't mentioning it and she isn't the butt of nasty comments then it might not even be as bad as you think. Not to play down your worries, but it may be that you feel it's more of an issue partially because you've been trying for so long and so hard to rectify it. I think you've done all you can do for now, and just have to let it work itself out. You sound like a good mum smile

Sheshelob Fri 26-Apr-13 09:14:35

Woah, Fellatio. For someone with a "comedy" name you sure lack a sense of humour.

I think you are being too easily wound up by this, and by me. I was making light of a situation because I think others are overreacting. My first post was a light hearted attempt to say to the OP that perhaps her DD having a personal hygiene problem isn't the end of the world. I wasn't expecting the reaction it got. I think it was pretty clear from my tone that I was being playful, but apparently a matter a serious as personal hygiene does not allow for humour.

But I'm afraid that my reaction to people taking themselves too seriously is either to tell them to fuck off, or to take the piss out of them. I chose the latter.

I am being completely serious here: if you were one of those kids who was picked on for being smelly, I am really sorry. Your last post makes it sound like you have personal experience of it, which would explain your massive over-reaction to my posts.

Let's leave it now. I've got to wash my hair.

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