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Dirty smelly DSD :-(

(28 Posts)
ots Sat 12-Apr-14 10:55:20

DSD is 12. Every week when she comes to us she seems worse! DH picks her up from school on a Friday, then we take her home Sunday evening.
When he picks her up from school, her uniform is always filthy, and not just usual school day stains. It smells and her shirt collar is dirty. She always smells a bit cheesy. This week he picked her up from home as it's half term. Her top was covered in stains and a few holes, she had snot all over her face, and the soles of her feet were black.
She doesn't seem to care or even notice. We have to remind her to have a good wash, brush her teeth, brush her hair etc when she is getting ready for bed. If we didn't, she wouldn't do it. Unless reminded she doesn't even wipe herself when she goes to the toilet (number 1 and 2), and the same with washing her hands after using the toilet.
Her mum is expecting a baby any day, and it has seemed to have got worse recently. I'm guessing DSD is maybe feeling a bit threatened by the idea of a new baby taking the attention away from her.
But even before that, we still had this problem with her. I'm worried, as I can only see it getting worse. She's bullied at school but nothing seems to get through to her. When she's here, she is always clean with clean clothes, neat hair etc, but not at home. It worries me that she's got no self awareness of how dirty she is. She hasn't yet started her periods, but I'm dreading when she does as she hasn't even mastered the basic toilet habits.
Does anyone have any advice? We obviously don't want to tell her she stinks, but need to somehow drum it into her how important this is.

alita7 Sat 12-Apr-14 12:52:51

This problem isn't just about what she might be doing to get attention, her mum and step dad are neglecting her, unless she goes to school and makes all these stains in one day then they aren't cleaning her clothes properly or ensuring she cleans herself by encouraging showers or even wiping herself, she should have been taught this year's ago. maybe you need to talk to the school and see what's going on. even if she is refusing to wash and it's not the mothers fault then something still needs to be done she may need some forms of counselling! it is not normal for a 12 year old to not be at least interested in their appearance! unless she has any learning disabilities in which case the mother would be even more responsible.

RandomMess Sat 12-Apr-14 12:59:27

What alita says sad

ots Sat 12-Apr-14 13:13:59

I agree it is down to her mum. She's always been quite lax with washing of clothes, cleanliness of DSD in general, but its got worse since she was pregnant. She herself is not overly clean and I think DSD is just picking up on that. I've lost count of the amount of times I've thrown clothes away due to stains, especially underwear.
DH spoke to the school when it was parents evening, and they agreed to give her a hall pass so she can use the bathroom whenever she needs to, as they said she sometimes rushed back to class very quickly.
When she uses the toilet here, she is in and out very quickly, as she doesn't want to miss anything happening (we have a very energetic 2 year old). Thats why I worry her problem will get even worse once her mum's baby is born.
She's not like any 12 year old I've ever met, she doesnt care at all about hygiene, what she looks like etc. Eg, this morning we went out for breakfast. As we were about to leave DH asked if she'd cleaned her teeth. She said "no cos I didn't see the point as we'll be eating when we get there!" .
Its got to the point where we both feel like we're nagging her the whole time and not enjoying our limited time with her sad

LIZS Sat 12-Apr-14 13:24:31

Has she always been like this ? Could she have any sn, sensory issue, ocd or be depressed ? Agree her homelife sounds as if she may be being neglected but at 12 she isn't too young to put a clothes wash on herself or just take a shower, assuming there is the hot water and environment enabling this.

RandomMess Sat 12-Apr-14 13:30:33

Would she be able to reverse her living arrangements and spend more time at yours and less with her Mum? Perhaps on the whole her Mum will need some more peace/space with a newborn. Even if it's just for a few months to get a new routine ingrained in her?

I would also teach her how to use a washing machine, how to wash-up, clean, cook etc. she needs to be taught these life skills urgently if she isn't at home.

REally difficult situation sad

alita7 Sat 12-Apr-14 13:37:18

but lizs I think at 12 if your mum hasn't taught you about hygiene and how to wash your clothes then you aren't going to do it are you! And even with dad and step mum trying, old habits die hard..

dsd who came to live with us last year is 10 and we (mostly I as DP just forgets about these things) have to nag her constantly about things like this , and deal with tonnes of protests. I hate it as she obviously hates being nagged all the time, but we have to do it. The difference is though that she had learning disabilities and doesn't understand fully even though we explain why etc.

When I said talk to the school I mean about what they think should be done, do they feel she is being neglected, In which case would they support you If you went to social services. do they offer Counselling or could they get someone in to teach her about hygiene. can they see any evidence of possible sensory or mental health problems? giving her a hall pass won't help if she still doesn't feel the need to sort herself out properly after the toilet.

ots Sat 12-Apr-14 13:46:44

She's always been like this but seems to have got worse recently. Don't think she has any major issues, I just think its that she's never been properly shown. When she was younger DH used to bath her when she was here, and when she got too old for that, he showed her very clearly how to wash herself. However, being that she's only here every other weekend, its not enough.

It would be very difficult for us to have her more often as she lives (and goes to school) about 1.5 hours from here, so wouldnt be able to get her to school. We have discussed it in the past but she would have to change schools, and she really doesn't want to.

We've tried showing her basic things, eg, using the washing machine, making toast, making tea etc, and she nods along and acts like she is listening, and then when we ask her to do it, she just has a blank look on her face. Even basic things like making a sandwich, cereal etc. A few weeks ago I was doing cereal for her and DS and the phone rang. I asked her to finish making breakfast, and when I came back after speaking on the phone, her and DS were eating dry cereal. I asked why she hadnt put milk on it, and she just gave me a blank look.

Its a really difficult situation, and we really don't know how to deal with it. DH has spoken to her mum several times in the past, but is reluctant to at the moment due to her being almost 9 months pregnant!

LIZS Sat 12-Apr-14 13:47:14

agree alita that the habits are ingrained and need retraining. However if she isn't comfortable using the bathroom at home (embarrassment, no lock, lack of clean towels, toiletries etc etc) then it may be even more of an issue in a public place like school. Can you gently ask her about her homelife, is she becoming second best , is her mum not cleaning the house or clothes . Would she like to help with keeping the place clean and have fresh clothes ready for the new baby and to help her mum out?

RandomMess Sat 12-Apr-14 13:52:46

It sounds like she doesn't have the ability - to not understand to put milk on cereal???

I would get her dad to speak to the school and ask them if they think she could have some disability/SEN. Is her mum very controlling possibly so she has never been allowed to think for herself?

Saddest situation I know is where I suspect the dd has FAS from her mum drinking alcohol when pregnant, the now adult dd just takes forever to learn ANYTHING, has no common sense and yes hygiene is an issue.

ots Sat 12-Apr-14 13:54:23

Xpost alita.
We haven't spoken to the school since parents evening a while back. DH is on the contacts list though, and I would like to think they would contact him if they had any concerns. She does seem happy, and does seem to be very close to her mum. I also think while it does seem like neglect, its not something that is done purposely by her mum, just that she's so lazy and not overly clean herself. I didn't want to come on here and slag her off, as we do all have quite an amicable relationship. That's what makes it harder, as we want to keep it that way while still getting the message across.

SugarMiceInTheRain Sat 12-Apr-14 14:08:01

Eeek. The blank look when faced with simple tasks like putting milk on cereal would worry me. Even my 8 year old son who has ASD could do that. Sad that she hasn't been shown such basic, necessary things. Could your DH push to have her more and seriously look into changing schools. She really isn't being parented much at all currently, poor girl. It will only get worse and the gap between her and others her age will widen as her mum has even less to do with her when the baby arrives...

alita7 Sat 12-Apr-14 14:12:46

op it's not slagging her off you're rightly concerned!
The trouble is even if it isn't purposeful it's still neglect and I worry about her mother caring for a little baby. It sounds like the family needs support.

ots Sat 12-Apr-14 14:15:04

It is worrying that she can't do these basic things, and that's after we've shown her several times.
The other problem about us having her full time is the space. We've only got one bedroom at the moment (DS is in with us), so even when she is here at the weekend she is just on the sofa. We're on a council waiting list, but even then we are only eligible for 2 bedrooms. The whole situation sucks and I can see it getting much worse :-(

alita7 Sat 12-Apr-14 14:16:08

And my dsd with ld can follow an instruction and knows to put milk on cereal. so it is worrying that she can't. is she totally 'normal' In every other way? I think she should be looked at for some developmental problems and the school should be able to help smile

LIZS Sat 12-Apr-14 14:16:59

If there were no fresh milk routinely in the house , maybe she simply just isn't used to having it with cereal? Is healthy with good eating habits ?

tbh if school has flagged any safeguarding issues it may yet bypass them contacting him. If she is only 12 presumably she hasn't been at that school very long .

ots Sat 12-Apr-14 14:19:20

Alita you are 100% right! I have said several times to DH how will she cope with a new baby! They also have 3 dogs, 4 cats and a couple of rabbits.

Its hard to know what to do without completely shaking up DSD's life when she is already feeling vulnerable and threatened by the new baby. She acted similarly when DS was born, but not quite on the same scale as her everyday life wasn't changing too much.

GemmaPomPom Sat 12-Apr-14 14:22:35

Skanky 12 year-olds are really not that unusual. I remember what I was like loads of girls when I was growing up who were filthy and useless but are now really together and clean.

juneau Sat 12-Apr-14 14:28:07

It sounds like her mother has neglected her from a very young age, since these basic hygiene issues are usually dealt with before the age of about six. I'm shock at her not wiping her own bum after going to the toilet. Is there no toilet paper in her mother's house? This is such basic stuff - my two-year-old knows he has to wipe FGS!

In addition, it sounds like your DSD could have a learning difficulty. The 'blank look' after you showing her quite basic things, and being so immune to bullying over her personal hygiene seems very strange to me. Most 12-year-old girls would take a regular bath if they were dirty/smelled and would be capable of washing their own uniform if the DM is so slack that she can't put a wash on (assuming that they have a washing machine - maybe they don't?). I was certainly doing my own laundry at 12, as I was at boarding school.

Do you know much about the mother's home? Because it sounds like SS might want to pay them a visit from what you describe.

ots Sat 12-Apr-14 14:29:10

No, the healthy eating habits are a whole other thread! She's quite overweight, and from what she tells us, doesn't have a good diet at home. They have takeaways quite a lot, and generally just a lot of rubbish. Again, DH has talked to her mum several times, and she nods along, says she'll keep an eye on her diet, but nothing changes.
I cook with her a lot, and teach her different ways of using healthy ingredients. I've even given her recipes to take home, and if we have lots of veg etc, we give her some to take home too. Though of course, we don't know if these are being used. It feels like we are doing all we can without shaking her life up too much.

I don't think she is really normal in every way. She's quite behind with school work, rarely does homework on time. Has poor table manners, and manners in general really. She also has a fairly new habit of laughing if DS ever hurts himself. Like this morning, he tipped back in his chair and hurt his head. She laughed for ages!

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 12-Apr-14 14:31:19

shock gemma where on earth did you grow up sad

I've only ever known two children who were dirty. One at primary and one at secondary. Not sure of the full story with one but the other her mum died and as lovely as her dad was he was clueless with regard to basic things like making sure his dd was fully clean. Ie her clothes would be washed she'd be fed but you could fry an egg in her hair.

I really don't think it's normal.

Agree with pp about getting her checked out for developmental problems. Sounds awful sad

LIZS Sat 12-Apr-14 14:40:27

poor kid , sounds like her self esteem is very low aside from any other potential issues. Your dh really needs to speak to the school if he is willing to get involved . I fear this is deeper rooted than you can tackle on the odd weekend. The new baby may give them an opportunity for better support and advice in a more subtle way if mw/hv is made aware.

alita7 Sat 12-Apr-14 15:05:30

I know you might not Wana shake stuff up if she is happy but it sounds like ss really need to be informed. even if you get a friend to do it so it isn't you. It might not be a case of them taking away dsd or giving them to you, they may just give the family more support.

It really sounds like your dsd has either been seriously neglected or has undiagnosed developmental problems.

is she the only 12 year old you know well? cos sometimes when you only know your child you don't notice how behind they are. To put it in perspective my old dsds are 11 and choose to shower daily, clean up after themselves, can cook basic meals and make lunch, know how to use most appliances, can follow complex instructions and can even have a sensible adult conversation at times. Every Child is different but your dsd should be able to do some of those things at least.

alita7 Sat 12-Apr-14 15:06:19


juneau Sat 12-Apr-14 15:06:46

Your DH needs to get involved. Start with the school - talk to her form teacher about her being behind with her school work, express his concern about this and the personal hygiene issues. And ask the teacher if they think it's appropriate to get her a developmental assessment. It will probably be done via the GP referring to a paediatrician and then on from there once the initial assessment has been made. From what you've said in your most recent post it sounds like a learning disability is probably present and she will need learning support in order to reach her potential. I'm actually quite surprised that the school haven't been in touch with you before now.

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