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To expect my children to be bathed?

(73 Posts)
SacreLao Sun 16-Oct-11 18:34:02

Bit of background.

I have been seperated from the father of my two children for 5 years now. They are 9 and 7 years old and spend 3 full days a week at his home, consecutive days so Sunday night - Wed night for example.

The last couple of weeks they have been returned they have been a bit smelly, not really bad just not a clean smell and DD hair has looked a bit greasy. On asking the children when they had a bath I was told they had not had one.

This happened 3 weeks in a row and I thought he must be washing them at least but both children say no.

Sent a quick text to ex saying 'did you bath kids this week as DD has a rash (she is allergic to some bath products so thought it would be a good way to ask without sounding like I was acusing him'.

He replied with 'no, I never bath them. They are not here long enough'

AIBU to think a child NEEDS a bath at least every 3 days and that it is pretty disgusting for them to not be washed or bathed during this time?

Thinking about ringing him and telling him they must be bathed, they will smell at school! The younger child regularly wets the bed and STINKS of urine this week on his return.

Older child is able to run a bath herself and get washed and dried etc. so no reason for him not to allow her to but she said she feels cheeky asking and dad never tells her to go for one.

I have not yet asked but I am also doubtful that the children brush their teeth at his house as they look pretty bad when they return.

WIBU to speak to him about this and insist it changes?

Purplegirlie Sun 16-Oct-11 18:37:04


He sounds very lazy, I cannot comprehend why he would think that 3 days wasn't long enough there to have a bath

LaurieFairyCake Sun 16-Oct-11 18:37:14

Theres a reason why you're divorced smile

bath them before they go Sunday and when they come back Wednesday - that way there's only two days without a bath.

Focus on things within your control - it will make life easier for you.

Northernlurker Sun 16-Oct-11 18:37:31

A child who has wet the bed needs a bath. Other than that I don't think there is a hard and fast rule. I bathed mine last night - can't remember when it was before that. Probably 3-4 days. Why don't you start by saying that the younger one should have a bath after bed wetting? However you say it he will see it as a criticism of his parenting (which it is tbh) so proceed with caution as there is a good chance you could have a blazing row about this.

CailinDana Sun 16-Oct-11 18:37:34

Very tough one, it depends on your relationship with him really. I am always very wary when kids are involved as it can become a battle ground with the children as weapons. What do you think his response will be if you bring it up?

TBH I think it's incredibly cruel that he isn't washing the poor child who wets himself sad

Perhaps you could say that the older child has asked you to ask him if she could have a bath on the second night she's there (or some such) and could he throw the other one in with her while she's at it? That way it doesn't sound too confrontational?

AuntiePickleBottom Sun 16-Oct-11 18:38:11

yanbu, that is terrible.

ChishAndFips Sun 16-Oct-11 18:38:36

YANBU. When mine were that age, they were bathed every evening. I don't think you would be at all unreasonable to insist that they must be bathed at least once during their stay. Presumably he showers/bathes at least every couple of days? Why should it be any different for his children?! Could you talk to your DD and try and help her feel more confident instigating baths for her and sibling?

ragged Sun 16-Oct-11 18:38:59

Um, wildly different opinions on this one.
I don't mind DC going 3 days without a bath.
Wetting the bed complicates things, though, and regular brushing teeth is something even I insist on. If he regularly wets the bed why is he not wearing pullups at night? Or are you saying that even with pullups he stinks to high heaven?

I think you'd get further by taking a less bossy tone and just explaining why you think regular bathing is so required with the one who wets the bed has a bath afterwards... but then you'd be asking for a morning bath in theory, which is a lot to ask.
And brushing teeth... just say you find they won't do it unless nagged to the hilt.

ScaredBear Sun 16-Oct-11 18:39:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lifeissweet Sun 16-Oct-11 18:39:47

No. You are definitely NBU to expect him to take care of your children properly. I would be pretty cross if I were you.

Could the 9 year old not take a bit of responsibility for herself, though? I know you said she feels cheeky asking, but could you not reassure her that it's not cheeky, it's necessary? Why would she be worried about asking her own father this anyway?

Certainly, there's no way they can't brush their own teeth. My 6 year old doesn't have to be asked or reminded to do that anymore.

He does need to sort it out, though, and i think you are within your rights to mention it to him.

pigletmania Sun 16-Oct-11 18:40:18

I would tell him that the kids must have a shower every day, especially as your ds wets the bed, that its not acceptable handing them to you all smelly. Ask him, if he washes every day?

CailinDana Sun 16-Oct-11 18:40:49

Of course if you think about it logically what he's basically saying is that YOU are the one who always has to bathe them and it's not his responsibility at all. You could just as easily say they're not with you long enough to be bathed and then who would do it?

He's being an utter twat.

branson Sun 16-Oct-11 18:43:06

I don't mind mine going 3 days without a bath but they usually don't and they are younger and don't wet the bed.

The 'not here long enough' would piss me off. they are only at your house one extra night so what if you decided not to wash them or feed them a vegetable or make them do homework because they are not there long enough. He might as well just say he can't be arsed and he knows you will pick up the slack.

scarevola Sun 16-Oct-11 18:47:57

It depends on how stinky your children are. My younger two are still fine on once a week. But when puberty starts kicking in, this can change rapidly.

And I do think it's better if there's a bath/shower after a urine (or other exceptional) incident - but I'd have thought by that age children can wash themselves sufficiently well for immersion to be desirable rather than essential.

balia Sun 16-Oct-11 18:48:11

I know how horrible this is - my DSS's mum doesn't believe in washing (it strips essential oils from your skin, apparently, and hair self-cleans) so he is regularly grubby and smelly when he arrives here for the weekend. DH has a midweek evening so we did manage to get him going to swimming lessons for a while - having a shower then really helped the situation. Could you suggest that?

SacreLao Sun 16-Oct-11 18:48:28

When they were younger I wouldn't mind the 3 days but as DS wets the bed every night and Ex refuses to use nappies (his choice, his washing so I stay out of it) he absolutely stinks and isn't being washed.

The older DD is also getting to that stage where bits of under arm hair are sprouting and she is going through a very sweaty stage so IMO needs washing daily.

I bath them before they go and when they come back but they must stink at school due to not being washed and I worry they will become targets with bullies.

My DS has SEN so is already a target without sending him to school stinking of urine.

He is likely to take huge offence if I mention this and he is not the cleanest person in the world himself, not that I am but I maintain good personal hygiene at least.

microfight Sun 16-Oct-11 18:49:26

I think you need to put the responsibility with the children certainly 9 is old enough to bath and clean teeth. If it comes from them then your ex will have to do it.

MajorBOO Sun 16-Oct-11 18:49:32

I am really shocked at this behaviour, good hygiene is one of the most important things we parents have to teach our children.

Bath time for little ones can be a real bonding exercise, and as they get older regular baths/showers should simply be part of the daily routine.

He clearly is an ex for a reason, but there's no way I would allow this to continue - leaving a child to walk around for a couple of days in his own urine is neglect in my eyes, and I struggle to believe that anyone else would see it differently.

SacreLao Sun 16-Oct-11 18:52:51

Just to add, DD feels uncomfortable as while it is her dad it is not his house. Dad lives with his partner in HER house with her children and it is pointed out a lot that it is HER house.

DS has SEN and bed wets every night, not a little either he soaks the bed completely. He has prescription nappies due to this as the doctors have said it is incontinence to a degree but his dad will not use them.

I figured it wasn't worth pushing as i'm not the one having to wash the bedding every morning but because he is allowed to wet all over himself he needs bathing or at least a decent wash in the morning before school.

Dad does not have the best personal hygiene so proberly has not noticed the smell on them.

FootprintsOnTheMoon Sun 16-Oct-11 18:55:23

At 9 and 7 I'd guess they can jump in the shower themselves. Can you get them in the habit of self-care at your house - and hope tha it carries over?

Urgh frmo what you've said I'd be questioning whether to send them for overnight stays tbh. If a parent can't bathe their children as often as is required and makes them feel unwelcome in his home, is he parenting adequately?

FabbyChic Sun 16-Oct-11 18:57:17

Id refuse to let them go unless they are bathed. Sorry but that would be a must for me.

EricNorthmansMistress Sun 16-Oct-11 18:59:46

Do they have to go for three nights then? If he doesn't want to look after them properly then why would he have them for almost have the week?

I wouldn't be happy at all.

You've given 3 good reasons why they should be bathed every day IMO:

- Your DS wets the bed
- Your DD is starting puberty
- Sending them to school smelly is making them a target for bullies

No reasonable adult could argue. The odd night if they've been out of whatever, fine. But consistently never bathing them - not on.

And I have two DCs and don't bath them every day. IN fact I feel they haven't been bathed enough and am trying to improve. But I know how dirty/smelly they are and what impact it's likely to have on them.

coccyx Sun 16-Oct-11 19:00:46

Lazy arse. the child who wets the bed every night needs bathing, poor soul.
Could you mention it to his new partner

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