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I am secretly washing dsd2's clothes

(14 Posts)
taxiforme Mon 24-Jun-13 12:52:58

Dsd2 15 doesn't keep herself clean.
My 3 dsc stay with us twice a week and we take them on holiday twice a year. They only live down the road.
I have posted about dsd2's immature and lazy toilet habits in the past (not flushing leaving used st on the floor).
It's really hard to admit, but we have failed. We have tried everything, taking her out and offering to buy her nice underwear and clothes. Cajoling her to have a shower. She often goes for 5 days (when we were last away) without a shower. She is a big girl has heavy periods wears vans all the time. You can imagine.
Came to a head last night when I went into her room to open the curtains and found a bra on the windowsill. It was disgusting. It grieves me that a young woman thinks so little of herself that she is happy to put it on. It was black, I mean it was a white bra but the underside where the wires are and the straps were black with dirt.
I have emptied her drawers, stinking foul underwear just shoved in there and clothes with ground on food .
I have shoved it all in a hot wash.

I don't know if any if you have teenage girls like this. I don't have my own kids. I don't remember at 15 being like this!!

I expect to get flamed for overstepping for invading her privacy.. We get on very well in all other respects but I just can't get through to her. I have a good idea why she is like this which is a whole other story (nothing to do with me). I just need some advice on his to cope with the symptoms. We are away to Greece with her in a few days and I am getting a bit conscious of her being dirty and smelly in the heat.

CointreauVersial Mon 24-Jun-13 12:54:52

Do you have any sort of relationship with her mother?

Startail Mon 24-Jun-13 12:58:39

Your only doing what her own Mother should be doing.

I don't know any 15y girls who do their own laundry. DD1 doesn't and I often go round her room and round stuff up.

Nothing wrong with helping her until she's ready to take responsibility herself.

taxiforme Mon 24-Jun-13 13:02:52

Yes and no.
We "get on" but she is the sort of person who is very buttoned up. I have had a chat with her godmother whose view was that mum would "put up the drawbridge" in her words if I said anything. She is an extremely private person. Throughout she never let's her guard down.
My dh has tried with her to no avail. Dh and I talked about it last night at length and he is very unhappy. He has tried talking to mum. we are trying to get dsd2 some counselling and medical help with her weight and food issues and mum will not even discuss it, her view is that we shouldn't have sweets and crisps in the house and we shouldn't take the kids out for meals!

Iseeall Mon 24-Jun-13 13:16:11

I agree about collecting her laundry. When you are doing a wash ask for her dirty clothes. I call out to my dc 'any darks, whites, denims' or whatever it is you are doing.
Insist on getting her pj's and undies. Tell her clean knickers everyday and if she stays with you for two days you expect to see two pairs in the wash.
Showering....does she wait until(a late) bedtime for a shower and then is too tired to bother. Just a thought, maybe insist she showers and washes her hair when she gets in from school, or directly after tea(before eastenders)
You sound like you have a good relationship with her so just keep reminding her to do what she has to do. Make sure she has plenty of deoderent/body sprays/perfumes teen girls seem to love to collect all kinds imo.

On your holiday can you treat her in dutyfree. My dd would be in heaven being told to buy what you want, as opposed to put it back or just choose one. Plenty of scope for perfume, face washes, moisturisers etc.

DeepPurple Mon 24-Jun-13 13:31:39

When I was about 15 my boyfriend's sister went through a phase of not washing. She would have been about 14. She just didn't see the need to. She even went as far as to wash her hair once a week over the side of the bath rather than getting in and having a bath or a shower!

She decided to start washing after her parents were really blunt with her and told her she stank. She still had to be reminded for a few months after. But then it became habit to wash every day.

Her mum should be doing her washing, 15 is too young to take full responsibility.

Is she depressed? Some people stop washing when they are depressed.

You've washed her clothes so now might be a good time to sit down and have a chat with her. Not your responsibility but it doesn't seem her mum is going to and she might be more embarrassed if her dad talks to her.

stepmooster Mon 24-Jun-13 22:32:18

This sounds like depression to me. I bet your poor DSD hates her appearance/weight and is in some way punishing herself by not taking care of her hygiene or diet etc, thus making it worse.

I was a fat and depressed teenager and I was only allowed to bath twice a week and never allowed to use the shower. I hated my mum for that. Some days though I could barely bother to get out of bed I was that miserable so I wouldn't even wash I couldn't be bothered.

Has her father tried to talk to her about her feelings? I bet there is more to this than just being lazy, could she be being bullied?

Perhaps it won't kill you all to eat a bit healthy and ban crisps/sweets/ fizzy pop - call it a holiday diet? I also remember my mother reminding me how fat I was all the time then filling the kitchen full of junk food and cooking really unhealthy meals. It was just really hard not to eat this stuff when its right under your nose. Its like having a room full of fags that everyone can smoke when they like but you're the only one trying to quit smoking.

Maybe you could go for a walk in the evening as a family? Walking is good exercise and also helps brighten your mood and provides opportunity to chat to each other without the TV distraction?

Xalla Tue 25-Jun-13 06:00:03

Yes, I was going to say it sounds like depression too. And a complete lack of self-respect / self-worth.

Is she really overweight? If she is, then I kind of agree to getting rid of most of the junk in the house when she's there - just stick in all in one cupboard and empty the cupboard into a bag or something to be stashed away while she's with you. Explain to the other kids in the house what your're doing obv.....would they understand?

Well done for trying to get her counselling, it certainly sounds like she has some big underlying issues.

sandiy Sat 29-Jun-13 08:24:32

Get the school nurse to discuss hygiene with her.Because it may be a hell of a lot more than hygiene that's the problem.Sometimes a caring outsider can be a lot better in this situation and if it just turns out that she's a bit of a grub the fact that a non family member has spoken with her about it should do the trick.The school will have details of the school nurse drop in times etc.

taxiforme Mon 01-Jul-13 11:56:07

Hi all

Thanks so much for your help.
We have had a chat about it and think it might be down to some deep seated issues. Her weight and in particular her food issues all go hand in hand. An example is she is telling is that when she comes to us she has had no lunch or breakfast. She says that her mum has no food in the house (mum keeps a very frugal house no treats at all), sorry, but at 15 she is bursting out of a size 18. You could not be that size unless she had a serious health problem given what her mum feeds her. Mum is also a fitness instructor and her dp is the same and a nutritionist. You couldn't make it up!! She is secretly eating (she gets £30 a month pocket money) as well as hiding her dirty laundry and not washing.

There is no evidence of any health problems explaining her weight or her hygiene issues. It's not clear if she is depressed. It is very clear that she is very immature and it appears to becoming more clear that she is being bullied by her (in my view) skinny Heath nut family. It's insidious by her mum and her dp and she is often excluded from things (which I have to say she also engineers herself as she is awkward in the extreme sometimes).

So, I have put a nice new washing basket in her room for her to use. Dp had resolved to have a chat with his exw about her (yet again, we tried before and she just closed up). I hope that truly this is just a phase she is going through and seeking to punish her family in a subtle way. I fear though, she needs professional help, and soon which is proving difficult, she will not engage when you try to gently broach her over eating (saying she has had nothing to eat all day).

Thanks again for your help. It's hard to express but this is an issue which is eroding our time together (especially her obsession with food to be honest). She can be such a lovely girl and I feel so sad for her. She is being left behind by her skinny fragrant (mature) group of friends.

Bonsoir Mon 01-Jul-13 11:59:28

It sounds as if your DSD has no idea how to look after herself at all!

HollaAtMeBaby Mon 01-Jul-13 12:37:46

Poor girl :-(

How did she react to you washing her clothes?

Bonsoir Mon 01-Jul-13 15:55:44

I don't think you should be cajoling her or trying to talk her into anything at this point. You just tell her to have a shower/bath, and if her hair isn't clean you tell her that you are going to wash it for her, and make her sit with her head over the side of the bath and do it.

My DSS2 isn't always clean and I am quite ferocious about ensuring he washes. I always withdraw food if he shows up at table unwashed. It works very well!

If she is being bullied by her health nut family, she could well be depressed - at her age I was depressed, due to bullying at school (though I didn't realise this until I was in my 40s, when a therapist told me it is not normal for a child to be contemplating suicide, as I had at that age). Not looking after herself sounds a lot like me - I am nowhere near as bad, but it is a reflection of my mood - not brushing teeth/washing hair etc).

Is there any way you could get her to go to the GP to talk about this?

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