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17 yr old DS - hygiene issues...

(37 Posts)
raskolnikov Wed 31-Oct-12 06:46:50

So my DS2 (17) left school in the summer and started a well paid job. He commutes into London every day, works a long day, comes home, vegges out, goes to bed at 11, gets up at 5.45 for a 6.30 train. He wears a smart suit, shoes and shirt every day.

The thing is, his room is an absolute tip. By my estimation he hasn't washed one item of clothing in about 6 weeks. We are at absolute loggerheads re money (contribution to housekeeping - NIL), chores - nil, tidying up - nil. All lifts have stopped, I've told him to buy his own food so he's not eating at home now. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. He texted me a few days ago saying he'd run out of money and could I lend him £20 til payday. I wrote back a long list of what I've done to help him and how he's done nothing in return and said no.

I'm a single parent with DS1 at uni and DD 13 at home. He goes out all weekend with his gf to mates' houses and just pops back to change clothes. He doesn't shower very often and so he smells. The last time I ventured into his room (about 3 weeks ago) I put all the clothes in a pile on the floor, put rubbish in a bag by the door and hoovered around everything. The rubbish bag is still there.

His argument re housekeeping is that since his Dad pays CS til he's 18, he doesn't need to pay anything. He's 18 in January. His Dad has little to do with our everyday life but sees the kids most weekends. He's currently away on his honeymoon.

He's a sweetheart but I could strangle him. I'm amazed his gf will go anywhere near him tbh. She hasn't stayed over for a while but I've decided that's stopping too now.

Sorry its long, i'm at my limit. Dont want to throw him out because I had 'issues' with DS1 at the same age and he spent a year at his Dad's - it was such a difficult time for all of us and altho' things are ok with DS1 now, it was awful. Surely there has to be a better way. I'm in tears writing this cos I feel so down about it. I got up at 5.30 to see him and make him coffee and wanted to say something but I couldn't face him stamping out again.

ThursdayWillBeTheDay Wed 31-Oct-12 06:53:12

Why are you getting up at 5.30 and making him coffee?

Can he not even do that for himself?

Looks to me less like a hygiene issue and more of him seeing you as the mummy-who-does-everything that, let's face it, until he started work,you were prob quite happy to be. It looks like he expects things to stay the same but now he has more money to himself.

You need to tell him that things have changed now, he's a big boy, and you expect him to pull his weight (if that's what you want- )both practically and economically.

(He doesn't sound much of a sweetheart btw)

Wilding Wed 31-Oct-12 06:58:02

Why on earth would you still be hoovering/doing laundry for a 17 year old? Unless it's actually causing issues affecting the whole house (i.e. attracting vermin) I'd just leave him to it. So he smells and he has no clean clothes - so what? His problem.

TanteRose Wed 31-Oct-12 06:58:57

OK so his room is a tip, he has no clean clothes, and he doesn't wash - its all fairly minging but these are all HIS problems and you should just ignore it all (stop hoovering his room!)

About housekeeping money - he doesn't use the kitchen, he doesn't do any washing/cleaning, he doesn't use the bathroom...he is not actually costing you much, is he?

I know you must feel resentful that he is coming and going as he pleases, and using the house as a storage room for his stuff, but I would take a big step back and just leave him to it. Do not engage - just minimum civilities like greetings etc.

Unless his mess etc. is spilling over into the rest of the house and impacting on your daily life?

also how is he wearing a clean shirt everyday unless he is washing them confused

raskolnikov Wed 31-Oct-12 06:59:23

Yes, of course he could do that for himself, I just got up to see him and say hello really - I keep trying to make the peace. I've told him umpteen times that if he's working, he has to do things himself and pay his way. Its fallen on deaf ears.

TanteRose Wed 31-Oct-12 07:00:28

just read your OP again - you say he is wearing a SHIRT every day, not necessarily a clean one...

raskolnikov Wed 31-Oct-12 07:01:16

Rose, he's not wearing a clean shirt everyday. He's wearing dirty underwear, socks, shirts every day and a suit that hasn't been cleaned since new.

ripsishere Wed 31-Oct-12 07:02:39

I don't have a 17 YO thank goodness, mine is just 11.
I would be tempted to ask him to find somewhere else to live IIWY. I loathe the entitled to attitude of some people.
If he really is whiffy, his HR may decide he is a liability - depending on whether his job is public facing and get rid anyway.
Could you plant that little germ in his head?

TanteRose Wed 31-Oct-12 07:02:44

yes, I realise that now...

ewww! does his girlfriend not say anything?

raskolnikov Wed 31-Oct-12 07:08:22

That's possibly why she's stopped staying over. I'm wondering whether to ask her to say something, but I'm thinking she'll tell him I asked and he'll see it as another thing to battle against.

I hoovered for the first time in months because the room looked disgusting, cobwebs, fluff, rubbish, plates etc and I wanted to put up new curtains - I know I'll get slated for this, I'm trying to decorate and had just finished making the curtains. The rest of the decorating obv isn't going to happen.

MortimersRaven Wed 31-Oct-12 07:09:33

Sounds to me like he's behaving exactly like a lot his age do - most are at uni out of their parents' hair so they can get away with it more easily. He's just started a demanding job and he's commuting, so he's tired. He's pushing the boundaries, but I'd let him get on with it. You only have 2 months to wait until he has agreed he will contribute financially. The rest is up to him, IMO

raskolnikov Wed 31-Oct-12 07:12:23

Thank you for all your comments.

Raven - I don't think much will change when January comes sadly, he'll give me some money and still do nothing. I'm wondering whether to tell him to find somewhere else in January anyway - not the way I want it to go.

ToothbrushThief Wed 31-Oct-12 07:14:22

The room: let it go. Don't enter it. Definitely don't clean it

Cost of living: personally I'd leave that argument until after CS finishes. In fact why not agree to do so and then DS pays the same from his wages?

Smelling: if he was within reach of my nose I'd say something but otherwise

This sounds more about you feeling unappreciated (I am a mother of a teen....I get this) and fear of him not growing up to be a 'nice young man'

He's a teen. They all go through a vile stage. Back off but don't be a doormat. He will return one day as a nice man if you do this.

Pester, nag and clean up after him and he will stay vile and abuse you

Oh...and don't lend him money

raskolnikov Wed 31-Oct-12 07:17:53

Thief - thank you. CS is high and he's already said he won't pay that much, he's thinking around £250 AFAIAA.

brightermornings Wed 31-Oct-12 07:18:09

Does he work in an office? I would think if the smell gets really bad he will be pulled to one side and someone will have a quiet word with him.
As for his room just ignore. My ds has just turned 18. I have not entered his room to clean for 2 years. It gets messy but he will tidy up I throw clean bedding in every couple of weeks.
Your ds is still a teen and just because he's working he thinks he's all grown up but he's not quite there yet.

TanteRose Wed 31-Oct-12 07:20:14

again, is the "doing nothing" in relation to HIS hygiene/room etc.?

or do you want him to contribute to the household by, say, making dinner once or twice a week, or hoovering the living room/cleaning the bathroom?

if so (and the above are quite reasonable in and of themselves for someone who is living at home...) then you will need to get stricter.

or you could just STOP ENGAGING already and leave him to it - he may well change over the next few months. He is still probably feeling "entitled" to be a slob now he is earning his own money, but when his girlfriend leaves him coz he smells, then he might wake up grin

raskolnikov Wed 31-Oct-12 07:27:51

The bedroom I can put up with, the hygiene bothers me because its unhealthy (he smokes btw) and the idea that he might cook or tidy up elsewhere is beyond a dream (shakes her head in disbelief that a teenaged boy might actually do such a thing). The gf watches with interest - in her house everyone mucks in, even to the extent of cooking separate evening meals for themselves (household of 6 teens and adult siblings).

Yes he does work in an office, attends meetings and has an induction day today.

littlejo67 Wed 31-Oct-12 09:21:57

Maybe I am on my own on this one and I will get slated but here goes-
He is only 17, he is working and travelling, he must be tired. He has a social life at weekends- good for him.
I think he should be contributing financially a little but I also think it would be nice if his mum was still engaging with him and helping him with his washing. This is a huge transition for him. His mum hoovering his room occasionally is a loving supportive thing to do, not something to be resentful about. If he was my son I would be so proud of him and see the positives. I would ask for a contribution but in return I would help with his washing and make sure there is food in the cupboard and freezer for him. I would even cook him the odd meal. He is 17 not yet an adult and not a child. Support is what he needs now. I know this is in the remit of normal teenage behaviour but just a thought - may be if he felt valued and not judged he would value himself more.

ImperialBlether Sat 03-Nov-12 13:29:13

I agree with LittleJo.

I would wash his clothes - I couldn't bear to think of people noticing he smells. He must be exhausted - I know that's no excuse but it's a big change in his life, to get up so early, travel to work, then have a day's work etc.

You could say, "If you want to give me some money, I'll buy in some meals for you" rather than "You should give me rent."

Of course he should be paying rent but I think he's thinking his dad is paying his share for him now.

SecretSquirrels Sat 03-Nov-12 15:24:13

I'm with the softies as well. He's only 17 and he's done well in the current climate to get a reasonable sounding job. I would do what I could to support him in his new job. I also think if his dad is giving you £250 a month for him it's enough for now.

Also if his own mother cannot tell him he smells then maybe no-one else will?

Fairylea Sat 03-Nov-12 15:34:27

I would be really really blunt with the smelling. I'd just say look you smell awful. Have a shower. Please.

I think with teens sometimes you need to be blunt.

Id also show him how to do the laundry again and explain to him that if he doesn't start making some effort he will lose both his job and his girlfriend.

Tell him you expect some contribution to the food bill and you will start cooking / buying food for him again providing he makes some financial contribution. Leave a shopping list out that he can add sensible things to. Make it clear he can have some treats but not all junk.

ImperialBlether Sat 03-Nov-12 17:20:24

The £250 is what the OP thinks her son is thinking of paying.

Any contribution should be agreed, not decided by your son, OP!

soaccidentprone Sat 03-Nov-12 17:52:46

DS1 (17) is a little like this - but only on the slobby room front. the rest of time he does his own washing (he has his own washing liquid as he doesn't like the stuff we use. He also cooks for himself and his g/f most nights (they usually buy their own food).

When his room gets too bad I send him a text telling him I am about to go in and tidy his room. This is enough to bring him home ASAP as I might move his 'stuff'. he has also complained it's an invasion of his privacy, but I told him if he kept it tidy I wouldn't need to go in there.

Your ds is probably struggling with the long days and also the level of maturity expected of him, especially if he is earning a reasonable amount but still running out of money before the the next pay day. Also if he is running out of money so quickly how will he manage when he has to make a financial contribution to you?

I think you need the carrot and stick approach, and there needs to be a level of compromise on both parts. Maybe you could do his washing (and show him how to use the washing machine), but he needs to hang it up and iron it - if necessary (can he iron?) and take out his bag of rubbish?

Maybe you could tell him that you need to talk sensibly and maturely and ask him when would be a good time to do this? Explain that you a trying to prepare him for when he leaves home and give him the life skills he will need to survive.

You need to help him draw up a financial plan ie income and expenditure - travel pass, lunch, fags etc. I know it is easy to go a bit mad with cash when you first start earning and you don't have rent and utility bills to pay etc and this is obviously something he is struggling with. Buy him some nice 'smellies' just for him and maybe some other bits and bobs that show you do love and care about him, it's just his behaviour you aren't happy with.

Or maybe just tell him he smells like a tramp (no offence to homeless people intended) and that if he needs to go for a shower grin

Good luck

LongTimeLurking Sat 03-Nov-12 21:46:18

When his room gets too bad I send him a text telling him I am about to go in and tidy his room. This is enough to bring him home ASAP as I might move his 'stuff'. he has also complained it's an invasion of his privacy, but I told him if he kept it tidy I wouldn't need to go in there."

But surely it is an invasion of privacy. Unless his room is so filthy it is posing a health hazard to the rest of the house/family why do you need to go in there at all? Surely at 17 he is old enough to choose to sleep in a messy room if he so wishes...

I agree with the rest of the post though, sounds like he needs some budgeting lessons and a very blunt discussion about personal hygiene - if your own mother/family can't tell you that you smell then who else can!

Also, if you are getting £250 CS and your son is working and buying his own food/clothes and so on, he does kind of have a point about the housekeeping. I would be tempted to say to him once he turns 18 and the CS stops he has to contribute the £250 himself.

silver73 Sun 04-Nov-12 03:54:23

I'm with LittleJo too. He is only 17 and I would talk to him about personal hygiene I would hate to think of people in an office talking about my son behind his back. I also think he must be exhausted. Could you agree a transition stage whereby he agrees to shower every day and you do his laundry and then move onto him doing his room and having a shower everyday. Maybe in January when he starts to contribute you can agree to continue doing his washing? He has done very well to get a good job in this climate but I do think his personal hygiene issues could cause a problem with his job at some point.

My son is 17 too and not working as such as he is doing A levels but I still do his washing and room as I don't think he could cope with anything more at the moment.

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