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Hand washing....again

(27 Posts)
MeridianB Sat 24-Jan-15 18:18:06

DSD, 10, has been reminded over and over to wash her hands after the loo for years but still fails to do it fairly often.

I sometimes ask/remind/check (all done calmly, politely etc) but mostly I hope/expect DH to do it as it's surely part of his parenting of her? If she was my own DC then it would not hesitate to say something. I sometimes mention it to DH (when DSD is not around) if it's been getting worse.

Over the years as a stepmum, I have learnt to let things slide, especially if they seem more important to me than they do to DH. So she still doesn't use cutlery properly and eats with her nose an inch from the plate but I no longer comment to DH. To some extent I have even given up on please and thank you, which is hit and miss. confused

But I feel strongly about washing hands properly after the loo. Today she was in there for 10 mins then I heard the hot water click on for 2 seconds and she reappeared. It makes me feel ill and I don't want her or the rest of us actually getting ill.

I gave DH a quick look and he was oblivious to what I meant (again). He sets a really good example so it's not as if I am alone in that. In the past I have asked him to explain to her why it's so important and to ensure she knows how to do it properly, using soap.

We are not anti-bac clean freaks but this really basic level of hygiene is surely not too much to ask at that age? I'm getting fed up with DH not monitoring/noticing and making me feel like a nag if I mention it.

19lottie82 Sat 24-Jan-15 19:14:11

Most kids don't wash their hands I'm afraid. I doubt this is going to cause her or you, to become ill.

If it bothers you so much, how about getting some fruit scented antibacterial gel for the bathroom. This is a lot quicker and easier than hand washing.

Tryharder Sat 24-Jan-15 20:31:01

You are massively overthinking this. It must be unpleasant being your SD and having the manners police hovering over you 24/7.

Do what we all do in this situation whether the child is our own, a stepchild or a friend: either ignore it or tell her to get her backside back in the bathroom and wash her hands properly.

The 'looks' you are giving her must be very disconcerting.

FlossyMoo Sat 24-Jan-15 22:37:16

I don't want to belittle your concern but in the grand scheme of things this is really not worth getting stressed about. Most children forget/don't wash their hands after using the loo. It isn't always down to bad parenting OP just simply how a childs brain works.

It is fantastic that you want to promote good manners and hygiene and children do learn a lot from example.

On another note maybe the "looks" are not the best way to communicate with DH I for one would be highly pissed off if my DH gave me constant looks/eye rolls etc it can come across as very PA hmm

KentExpecting Sat 24-Jan-15 22:53:34

OP, I'm with you on this one! My DSSs had atrocious table manners and a few hygiene issues like the one you describe when they were around that age and I've always been the manner police in our house. My DSSs, now 15 and 18, think I'm nuts and used to roll their eyes at me here and there, but at least some of my nagging has paid off and they almost act civilised these days... wink

Mind you, there was a phase where DSS2 would run the hot water in the bathroom just so I'd hear it, but not actually wash his hands... shock

I'd say, pick your battles, but there's nothing wrong with having and enforcing minimum standards in your home. Your home, your rules. Just make sure your OH backs you up!

MeridianB Sun 25-Jan-15 07:30:23

Good idea about the soap, lottie will try that.
Flossy you're right about the looks. Not effective and wind us both up so need to stop.
kent that is classic about running the hot water.

alwaystryingtobeafriend Sun 25-Jan-15 09:32:08

I know exactly how you feel. I just keep nagging them and I always know if it's been done or not. Ie the water being run etc. I have shown dps kids how it should be done properly and its just plain manky not wash your hands after the loo. I don't do that every time but if dp has a problem then he can stop me by taking ownership of the situation.

Don't let it stress you out. But I'd keep nagging.


gamerchick Sun 25-Jan-15 09:34:48

Squirte soap on the taps so when she does that turn the tap on for 2 seconds she won't have a choice but wash them.

Pagwatch Sun 25-Jan-15 09:37:44

Sneaky gamerchick grin

Nagging children to pay attention to hygiene happens at some stage with most children.

Making it some sort of moral judgement on this child is ridiculous.
Let it go. Children sort it out quite quickly if you don't treat it like it's some kind of character flaw.

MeridianB Sun 25-Jan-15 10:04:33

Pag, I get this is all children at some stage but the issue is about encouraging/ensuring it as a step parent. Not sure where I have made moral judgement or described it as a character flaw. If my original post came across as judgey that was not intended - DSD and I get along really well and I love our time. Just wondering how to tackle this particular thing. I wrote it whilst grossed-out from her post-poo lack of hand washing so was a bit exasperated.

Gamer, that's very funny!

gamerchick Sun 25-Jan-15 10:11:58

I think what I would do is ignore the step part and march her straight back in and squirt the soap on her hands and turn the tap on like I do with my youngest and maybe point out that the bugs that live in your bowel can sink through several sheets of toilet paper and are not nice when they manage to cause an upset stomach.

Become the broken record.

When we had noro rampaging through the estate a few years ago I shrieked wash your hands so many times when a member of the family came in the house from outdoors they started saying it themselves (in my tone) before I did.

Just has to be done.

Pagwatch Sun 25-Jan-15 10:33:20

I understand that MeridianB but tbh your paragraph about her eating habits and please and thank you does make it sound as if you judge her as being poor in terms of basic manners/hygiene. And the bit about her getting and making everyone I'll is veering towards the hyperbole - a shockingly high number of people working in restaurants don't wash their hands properly.

I'm just saying it is something that loads of children go through - a cross between forgetfulness, boundary testing, thoughtlessness. The more you treat it as a big issue the more of a problem you will create.

MeridianB Sun 25-Jan-15 14:05:19

I see what you mean, Pag, when you put it like that. Point taken.
Yes, gamer, that's what I mean about bugs etc.

Reminds me of a story.. Years ago an ex of mine was at a wedding. He was in the loo at the reception and there was someone in a cubicle having an epic number two. It turned out to be the groom who came out and grinned, left without washing his hands and then proceeded to shake hands with every guest through the afternoon. Bleugh.

needsomeunderstanding Sun 25-Jan-15 19:38:50

It is down to poor parenting. I was lacks at this as a child but although I was taught to do it, no one bothered to check. Hence I didn't do it.

My ds has been reminded many times, had the look, the sending back to the bathroom etc etc all through his young childhood, and now at 17, and often quite lazy, he washes his hands every time I'm near the bathroom to check. I haven't reminded him for probably about 8 years but if you instill it, they will continue with it. Dames goes for tidiness, table manners, manners etc.

Parenting isn't about a one off conversation, it's about constant conversation and gentle reminders as well as good role modelling. It takes commitment, even when you're tired or busy.

But like so many things, you get out what you put in.

Pagwatch Sun 25-Jan-15 20:18:28

No it isn't.

FlossyMoo Mon 26-Jan-15 06:12:17

Nothing to do with poor parenting at all.

Well done for being an ace parent need hmm

needsomeunderstanding Mon 26-Jan-15 06:58:20

I'm far from being an ace parent. In my experience, I've seen kids who haven't been taught things regularly and kids who have. The ones who have been reminded, do these things, the ones who haven't, don't.

Quitelikely Mon 26-Jan-15 07:01:16

Buy her some nice hand wash, let her pick her own at the supermarket.

Pick your battles wisely.

Pagwatch Mon 26-Jan-15 07:07:29

But that's not quite what you said is it Needsome ?
You catalogue endless sending back to the bathroom, standing nearby to check, giving 'the look' and keeping at it until they are 17. And said anything less than that is poor parenting. Which is bollocks.

Most kids get it through modelling and gentle reminders when they need it. They often get forgetful or rebellious at some stage - in my opinion it's at a sweet spot between being old enough to want to break some rules and wanting people to like them.
It's parenting and if you have to keep on at them relentlessly then you are not doing it right.

Sethspeaks Mon 26-Jan-15 09:33:30

I agree with that Pagwatch. My dsd went through a phase of refusing to get in the shower and would go 2 weeks or more without doing so, and handwashing wasn't a habit. But there came an age where she just dropped the defiance and just started showering again, and got the need to wash her hands of her own accord. I don't think she and I would have a relationship now if I'd nagged her about either, it would have been counterproductive. It's much easier with dd as she has always lived with me to model behaviour and remind. It would have been dodgy ground with dsd that would have led to a blow up that she was itching to have.

redredholly Mon 26-Jan-15 09:33:33

I totally get what the OP is saying - it is hard seeing a girl on the cusp of being a young woman act grubbily. My DSD doesn't brush teeth/wash face/body/change underwear let alone wash hands if she's not reminded and I find it upsetting sometimes. Yes it slightly grosses me out on a personal level, but mostly because I worry it will result in less school friends and poor levels of hygiene as a teen/adult. It's cute when it's a little sporty tomboy too busy to think of it, but my DSD isn't like that.

redredholly Mon 26-Jan-15 09:34:38

I don't nag my DSD but sometimes I tell her to do her teeth.

Sethspeaks Mon 26-Jan-15 10:07:15

I get what you mean redredholly, I worry about dd as she often forgets to put her deodorant before school and gets quite smelly, but I do feel very assured through my experience with dsd that it doesn't mean she'll be forgetting it as she gets older.

needsomeunderstanding Mon 26-Jan-15 13:30:07


I didn't say that you need to keep reminding and nagging until they're 17! I actually said if children are gently reminded as a young child, they will still be doing it at 17 because it's a habit.

Done in a kind way, regular reminders (of course, you shouldn't stand like a sergeant major outside the loo after every visit!) are the way to ensure that good habits become just that - habits that will continue in every house or home.

MummyA1984 Tue 27-Jan-15 18:36:29

I wouldn't act differently than if it were my own child. I'd say go back in and wash your hands properly, or take her in yourself. It's your house and germs are quickly spread through poor hygiene! Yuk. I'm with you.

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