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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.

Homebird8 Sun 04-Nov-12 06:03:48

I don't think this is a money issue really is it? Beyond the scummy teenage hygiene issues it seems to me to be more about working together as a household.

Personally, I prefer my washing machine loads to be full loads so we don't waste power and water so I ask my sons to put their dirty laundry in a basket so that I can add it to the washing that I am happy to do. It's their responsibility to make sure it's sorted and ready for me, and to put away their clean washing appropriately when it's done. However, in return for my doing their washing I expect other tasks around the home to be volunteered for when they spot them (like emptying the dishwasher if it's clean and full, clearing the table at the end of a meal, vacuuming a floor if it could do with it). Sometimes I might point something like this out, sometimes they just notice and do it.

We are a household, not a parent servant / entitled child establishment. It's hard for everyone when we're tired, or when something in life changes like a new job or a new school. We take account of that and make sure over time that everyone feels valued and nobody too put upon.

I think it's you feeling undervalued and perhaps 'bought' in your DS's eyes by his father's money which is the biggest thing. A chat at the weekend (when there's a bit more time than early on a work morning) over a coffee and some yummy cake where you both have the opportunity to express your feelings lovingly might help. Sending you some thanks to brighten your day and a couple of brew brew so start your finding a new pathway together.

Oh, and I would mention the BO. Perhaps he's not aware of it. DH had to deal with this issue with one of his team a few times and found it difficult. Much easier for a loving mum.

raskolnikov Sun 04-Nov-12 09:31:20

Thank you all for your helpful comments - I do appreciate that he's working long hours and that its all very new to him. We have made some progress over the last couple of days - he paid me back some money he owed me that I wasn't expecting to get and has asked me to save money in an account for him too. This is all a step in the right direction.

I'm going to have a chat with him today about his room and laundry etc, try to do things amicably - I do feel that its a battle of wills much of the time, but he can't be wanting to sleep in a messy room and wear dirty clothes can he? Well, maybe he can live with the untidyness, but not the smell etc.

raskolnikov Sun 04-Nov-12 09:32:21

Thank you for the flowers and tea homebrew - lovely! smile

raskolnikov Sun 04-Nov-12 09:33:30

confused homebird ... what am I thinking?? grin

frostythesnowlady Sun 04-Nov-12 15:44:36

My DS is 20 and has a job - works hard, travels a long way. As soon as he got it he was told we agreed he'd pay me money each month for his keep via a standing order.

He used to be quite smelly poor with his personal hygiene but after a spot of work experience in his last year at school suddenly discovered showering and teeth brushing.

I cook his meals, keep his room free of vermin tidyish and wash his clothes. If i didn't he'd live quite happily with the mess. If I couldn't get him to tidy his room etc when he was younger, I'm not going to get anywhere now. I've decided not to mske an issue of it. DS is doing well in life and we're able to live together mostly happily.

Rascalls3 Sun 04-Nov-12 18:20:19

I completely agree with silver73. I think you need to take responsibility for his laundry/room/meals at the moment. I'm sure there can't be many 17 year old boys who are expected to do all of that on top of such long working hours.
Concentrate only, on making sure he takes a daily shower and get your relationship with him back on track. Good luck.

mathanxiety Sun 04-Nov-12 21:32:49

Sit him down and ask him if there is any system he can think of that wold make things run more smoothly. Approach it from the pov of solving a problem, not criticism of what has gone before. Teen boys like to 'fix' things that are not working properly. They are not interested in the emotional baggage that goes along with problems -- they do not want to hear where they are going wrong or how you feel about it all.

Tell him he will not impress his colleagues or his manager if he doesn't wash or wear clean clothes and ask him how he will tackle that particular problem. This is the basic problem to pose to him.

Fixing it may involve getting a laundry basket, enough shirts to last a week with a clean one every day and taking time on the weekend to wash, dry and iron them, or it may mean buying non-iron style shirts. He may need a specific time to do his wash before his weekend entertainment begins.

Ask him how he will tackle the problem of sleeping on smelly bedding, with the ultimate aim of getting ahead at work in mind.

Remind him that putting clean clothes in a dirty room will cancel out the cleaning effort.

Ask him how he will tackle the problem of showing up for work unshowered, what it would take to have a shower in the morning -- how much earlier he would need to set his clock to fit one in, whether the bathroom is cold or there isn't enough hot water and what can be done to ensure he washes..

If the solution is that you need to lend a hand with laundry and clearing up his room then he needs to tell you what he is going to do to help you out, how much he will pay you for doing that when the CS money stops, bearing in mind that if he was living on his own he would have a LL breathing down his neck about vermin etc in rented accommodation.

LittleFrieda Sun 04-Nov-12 21:59:07

I'm in the softy camp: he sounds a good egg, if a little whiffy. grin Respect to your son for being a grafter: it's not easy to get up early and travel in ad out for work, day in, day out. He sounds as though he deserves your support. With a sensible coversation about a financial contribution from him in due course.

How much does he earn, and how much does he spend on travel?

raskolnikov Mon 05-Nov-12 00:46:47

His dad got him the job at his company, so getting the job was relatively easy but he's been doing those hours since July, so credit to him there. He gets his fares paid and over £1k/m net. All he pays for is his lunch.

Result: I had a quick word before he went out this afternoon and said I'd help with the washing if he brought it downstairs. He's put a load on this evening so he'll be clean and sparkly in the morning - he'll be like a new boy!! Fingers crossed we can keep it going.

Homebird8 Mon 05-Nov-12 06:49:06

I quite like being homebrew!

Glad you are working things out together :0)

raskolnikov Mon 05-Nov-12 09:46:42

I think that should be DS2's nickname wink - when did Halloween celebrations last 4/5 days confused.

I don't want to be too tough on him - he's a sweetie, but he's as stubborn as his mum, so things can easily go pear-shaped! Hooray - we now have clean shirts and socks - life can go on! grin

soaccidentprone Mon 05-Nov-12 18:03:55

Well done -smile It's s much more pleasant atmosphere at home when you can agree about certain things. I think sometimes you have to decide what is worth 'nagging' about, and what isn't worth making an issue. You have to choose your battles. Keep up the good work grin

And in answer to LTL - when it gets to the stage that the bedroom door can barely be opened and pots get broken 'cos they are left on the floor and then other 'stuff' put on top, then IMO something needs to be done and if that takes me going in and sorting it, then that's what it takes. DS1 usually arrives within 1/2 of me texting and takes over, though I do have to micro-manage him a bit as he genuinely doesn't seem to notice the mucky mugs on the windowsill etc.

But most teenage boys can be lovely in their own way, but sometimes it's hard to see that under everything else!

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