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17yr old Daughter won't wash!

(88 Posts)
mrsm68 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:08:51

I have battled with my daughter all her life about washing. When she was little bath time was a nightmare with lots of screaming and tears.

She is now 17 yrs old, working and growing into a lovely young lady. She has lots of good qualities and I am proud of her, her bedroom is a tip but I understand that is just a teenage thing and I just close the door on it.

I can't, however, ignore the poor personal hygiene. If I didn't nag her then I'm sure she wouldn't shower at all. Sometimes she will go a whole week if I let my guard down and that includes the weeks that she has her period :-(

Her hair is long and is visibly greasy and she smells of BO and just dirty ness. If she leaves her bedroom door open you can smell it as you come up the stairs. Her work uniform is worn 6 days a week and she only parts with it occasionally for me to wash, yes the same top and trousers for 6+ days.

I have two other children, one older and one younger than DD and all of us including my husband shower every day.

I have compromised and said that every other day is ok but she will not have it. When I talk to her gently, kindly, tactfully or whatever, she says that I'm just being horrible and its horrible to say that someone is dirty etc!

Help, am I being unreasonable, I hate to think that others may be talking behind her back because they can smell her.

ZZZenagain Thu 25-Apr-13 11:13:03

I don't know what to do about it. When did she stop having regular daily washes? If it has become entrenched to live like this, it may take time to turn it around.

I suppose she will hate it but you will have to tell her that she smells of BO, blood, grease and that everyone around her can smell it.

Is there some reason why she doesn't actually want to wash?

SignoraStronza Thu 25-Apr-13 11:22:01

You need to lay out on the line. Not the time for tact or diplomacy. She needs to know that she stinks, it won't be long before her boss/colleagues/friends say something and, yes she might say you're being horrible but not as horrible as she is too be around.

My six year old is a little grimwad given half a chance, but I have no qualms about nagging her to get in the shower and explain quite clearly why being filthy is not acceptable.

mrsm68 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:23:40

I can't remember when it started it seems to have always been this way, I suppose since I started trusting her to do it herself.

I have told her that she smells and that when I put her clothes in the wash I can smell them. If she's in a bad mood then she says that I am being horrible and just having a go at her, if she's in a good mood she laughs!

And the reason is laziness, she says that she just can't be bothered.
She starts work at mid day and lays in bed until the last minute then literally gets out of bed and puts the dirty work uniform off her bedroom floor on and goes out the door.

She was supposed to shower this morning and I have nagged her and she just won't get up. It's now 11.21pm and too late to shower.

dontmeanto Thu 25-Apr-13 11:24:50

Right, here's what you do:

When I was that age I was pretty freaked out by illness/disease. So I would google and then print out information on things she could come down with by having poor hygiene.

Things like scabies, pubic lice, trachoma, etc.

Maybe if she realised she's putting herself at risk of getting some weird conditions it will freak her out enough to wash.

It sounds like she might either have massively low self-esteem or washing/water phobia. Might need help from a GP if she's that reluctant.

How is she confidence-wise?

mrsm68 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:34:15

Her confidence is good, she works in a shop and is very good with the customers, her boss is very pleased with her and is giving her more responsibility.

I just want her to take pride in herself, she's not a girly girl and that's fine, she can be grumpy but she can also be a good fun, that's completely normal, she's a typical teenager except for this one thing.

My son who is 15 can't understand it, he says "why is she like that none of the rest of us are".

AmazingBouncingFerret Thu 25-Apr-13 11:38:07


Surely work must have said something to her? If she works in a shop she's breaking her contract!

ajandjjmum Thu 25-Apr-13 11:55:53

I'm surprised no-one at work has spoken to her - not a nice conversation, but we've had to do it.

I don't think you can give up nagging though OP, this is going to really hold her back personally and career wise.

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 12:08:32

I shall out myself as a self-confessed bath dodger here <waves wiffy pit>. I've always been that way. I could think of better ways to spend my time, quite frankly. The only time that changed was when I worked in an office and when I was pregnant. Then I was clean as a whistle. But now I work from home I can easily stink up the joint for days on end. It is a running joke in my family.

So now I am the self-appointed spokesperson for BO Anonymous <stinky and proud> I'd like to stand up for your daughter. Back off a bit. If she wants to be a smelly beast, what's the harm? All it will take is a boyfriend making a comment about it and she'll be in that bath quicker than you can say Imperial Leather.

Bonsoir Thu 25-Apr-13 12:11:25

Tell her that you refuse to house her unless her personal hygiene (including her room) do not improve. You are doing her no kindnesses by tolerating this.

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 12:41:40

That's it. Threaten to kick her out. That will foster healthy associations with staying clean. Good one.

mrsm68 Thu 25-Apr-13 12:51:45

Well sheshelob, thanks for your honesty lol

ajandjjmum Thu 25-Apr-13 12:54:05

Wow Sheshelob - three minutes out of the day for a quick shower - 5 minutes to throw in a quick hairwash - why wouldn't you? How that can be a 'joke' is beyond me. Glad I'm not in your family! grin

Bunbaker Thu 25-Apr-13 12:58:42

"If she wants to be a smelly beast, what's the harm?"

Well it isn't very nice for everyone else who lives in that house is it?

Cerisier Thu 25-Apr-13 13:03:09

I agree with Bonsoir, you are doing her no favours tolerating this. She is fit and well and is perfectly capable of standing under a shower for 10 minutes a day. She also has easy access to a washing machine so she has no excuse for dirty clothes.

I am surprised her friends don't say something to her. How do they cope with hanging out in her smelly bedroom?

I am another one wondering when work will take her aside and say someone has complained. Will she just laugh that off too?

I would be reminding her at 10pm to go and have a shower. Or I would be insisting on a morning shower. No shower then she moves out.

In our house you don't even sit on the sofa if you are grimy, you immediately go for a shower and put on clean clothes.

WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 25-Apr-13 13:04:07

Having a tip of a bedroom is not a 'teenage thing'. It's a teenager being allowed to get away with living in a pigsty. I would sit dd down and have a serious talk with her, no namby pamby fannying ab

Madamecastafiore Thu 25-Apr-13 13:04:16

FFS fostering health whatever. She stinks. You are neither going to send her OCD by nagging her or cause her to never wash again.

Tell her that she stinks and to live y see your roof she needs to remedy this.

WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 25-Apr-13 13:04:48

out or beating around the bush. It's gross, she needs a firm talking to.

TheRealFellatio Thu 25-Apr-13 13:06:07

I think she is so used to you being the one to tell her that a pattern has been set of her ignoring or defying you on a principle. I hate to say this but what she needs is for some of her peer group to start taking the mickey out of her a bit, or saying 'God, you stink!' If she's interested in boys and they won't touch her because she's manky that should be the kick up the butt that she needs.

Is she she completely neuro-typical or does she have any behavioural/oppostional issues? This could be some weird kind of control/comfort thing for her.

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 13:12:02

<removes stinky socks and throws them at thread>

So no takers for my support group, then? There's a free bar of soap for everyone who joins to grow dusty on the shelf

everythinghippie29 Thu 25-Apr-13 13:15:28

I was a grungy teen with very much the same issue. My friends were all similar in our hoodies and baggy jeans. I don't think il ever be a pristine princess but I did grow out of it.

I found my mums comments at the time cruel and hurtful and I did feel bullied ( although looking back I see she was only trying to help). prehaphs buy some funky body wash and nice shampoos, (dry shampoos might be a nice way to start off and ease her in) for your daughter and see if this gives her incentive to try it out. It was only really when I became a little more fashion confident and picked some punky girl idols that I started to make more of an effort. Not sure if your daughters case would be exactly the same but encouraging role models that are accessible to her and not being too critical ( even if that is difficult) she will probably come around. wink

TheRealFellatio Thu 25-Apr-13 13:15:54

Sheshelob re: your post further upthread - ARE YOU SERIOUS?

How did you even get someone to impregnate you? Jeez. shock

TheRealFellatio Thu 25-Apr-13 13:16:51

Wearing grungey fashions and messy hair etc, is hardly the same thing as refusing to wash for days and days on end.

everythinghippie29 Thu 25-Apr-13 13:17:06

Sheshelob, I still induldge in my Lister from Red Dwarf slovenly days. I hear ya sista'

PattieOfurniture Thu 25-Apr-13 13:17:45

Is she depressed? How is her self esteem? Self worth?

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