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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.

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 20:48:15

Well hello Brownie and Grass! I knew some other reasonable smelly people would come and speak sense eventually!

Hygiene is a spectrum, not a dichotomy. I am absolutely startled that some of you take it so seriously that you think it is a reasonable response to threaten to evict her/charge her a stink tax/humiliate her/examine her for mental illness. She's a bit stinky. Who cares? She obviously doesn't.

And in my day (the 90s) she would have been all the rage. And had a boyfriend called swampy.

njaw Thu 25-Apr-13 20:55:25

Stink tax? Its called giving her a choice. She can choose not to wash but it's not right for her to inflict her lack of hygiene on others. Therefore she can keep her room clean enough that it doesn't have an impact on others OR choose not to and if she won't do it, pay for someone to do it for her.

Choice and consequence - teaching her how to be an adult.

Sheshelob Thu 25-Apr-13 22:04:53

Oh. Being an adult. How does that go again?

I'm not sure ultimati are particularly grown up, nor making a teenager feel uncomfortable in her own home. If it were really a problem, do you not think her teenaged mates - a demographic not know for their tact - would have told her.

This thread is silly.

<airs rancid arsecrack for no apparent reason>

ripsishere Fri 26-Apr-13 02:55:36

Coming late to this. I shower twice a day, since it's so hot here (Malaysia). DD who is 12 next week showers in the morning, swims in the evening.
I honestly can't imagine spraying perfume over the stench of unwashed bodies and hair.
Surely the OPs DD must be depressed?

toffeelolly Fri 26-Apr-13 03:04:09

Why does she still work in a shop people must smell her, if she were my daughter i would be getting her help. Does not sound normal for a 17 year old girl.

TheRealFellatio Fri 26-Apr-13 03:56:48

Sheshelob you are sounding like a teenager trying to be outrageous for attention. I completely agree that hygiene is a spectrum - I am not a smelly/sweaty person by nature and if I missed a day showering for some reason it would not be the ned of the world and no-one would be able to tell. Some people could not do that - they'd be unpleasant to be around within hours. But if I missed three days it would be an issue.

I am amazed that you don't seem to think it matters if you stink. It may not matter to you but it certainly does matter to the other poor people who have no choice but be around you. I hope to god you don't work for a living.

You seem to think it's some kind of joke, or badge of honor. It isn't. And it was NEVER, EVER 'all the rage' as you put it, to have BO. the idea was to look grungey and dishevelled in oyur style of clothing, not to smell like a rancid old tramp with filthy fingernails and minging genitals. You are sounding like a selfish idiot and slightly unhinged.

TheRealFellatio Fri 26-Apr-13 04:08:49

And if you really are as bad as you are implying then I think you should be very careful that you do not inflict your awful standards onto your poor children, who will get picked on for being the class 'fleabags' or the 'smelly kids'.

If they grow up thinking it is normal to not wash much and to wear filthy clothes and have the same bedsheets on for months at a time, or no bedsheets at all, (if what you say about your personal hygiene is not a wind-up then I imagine your standards at home are pretty grim as well) they will go through hell at school before they are old enough to cahnge things for themselves.

I may be being particularly easily wound up by you but I am extremely irritated by the fact that you think can brush this off as other people not being 'reasonable' or 'sensible' you are tying to defend the indefensible and making yourself sound like a jerk.

Sheshelob Fri 26-Apr-13 09:14:35

Woah, Fellatio. For someone with a "comedy" name you sure lack a sense of humour.

I think you are being too easily wound up by this, and by me. I was making light of a situation because I think others are overreacting. My first post was a light hearted attempt to say to the OP that perhaps her DD having a personal hygiene problem isn't the end of the world. I wasn't expecting the reaction it got. I think it was pretty clear from my tone that I was being playful, but apparently a matter a serious as personal hygiene does not allow for humour.

But I'm afraid that my reaction to people taking themselves too seriously is either to tell them to fuck off, or to take the piss out of them. I chose the latter.

I am being completely serious here: if you were one of those kids who was picked on for being smelly, I am really sorry. Your last post makes it sound like you have personal experience of it, which would explain your massive over-reaction to my posts.

Let's leave it now. I've got to wash my hair.

Laquila Fri 26-Apr-13 09:35:14

Sheshelob I think you have stayed remarkably calm on this thread given that a) you were trying to play things down for the OP/empathise with her daughter; b) you've been called "a selfish idiot", a "jerk", "seriously unhinged"; and c) compared to "a rancid old tramp with filthy fingernails and mingling genitals"!

OP, I think the one thing you can definitely take away from this thread is that as others have said, hygiene is a spectrum. Elizabeth I apparently only bathed once a year, and she was famously fairly successful in life (although no-one ever impregnated her, thinking about it...) Some people have (to my mind) an unhealthy obsession with cleanliness, which at the far end of the spectrum can end up being a problem, OCD-wise, and no-one wants that. Some people at the other end of the spectrum can definitely have an equally unhealthy approach, particularly if their lack of hygiene leads to infection, ostracization (sp?) or similar.

My point is that she will probably grow out of it, and if her friends aren't mentioning it and she isn't the butt of nasty comments then it might not even be as bad as you think. Not to play down your worries, but it may be that you feel it's more of an issue partially because you've been trying for so long and so hard to rectify it. I think you've done all you can do for now, and just have to let it work itself out. You sound like a good mum smile

Sheshelob Fri 26-Apr-13 10:00:47

^^YES, Laquila!

The reaction has been pretty extreme for what in the grander scheme of things is not a big deal. But I guess the mere thought of filth makes some of the Dettol Collective start to itch.

The tramp one made me laugh the most. She actually gave the state of my genitals some serious thought! I guess I should be flattered...?

vitaminC Fri 26-Apr-13 10:02:52

Ugh. I can sympathise as my 14yo DD is exactly the same. Right down to hating bathtime as a child.
We were asked to leave waterbabies after 3 sessions when she was a few months old as she screamed blue murder the second any water touched her skin!

I don't have any advice but I'm hoping those who have said she'll grow out of it are right. I'm actually pretty embarrassed by her to be honest blush

mrsm68 Fri 26-Apr-13 10:12:01

Laquila you said:
"My point is that she will probably grow out of it, and if her friends aren't mentioning it and she isn't the butt of nasty comments then it might not even be as bad as you think. Not to play down your worries, but it may be that you feel it's more of an issue partially because you've been trying for so long and so hard to rectify it. I think you've done all you can do for now, and just have to let it work itself out. You sound like a good mum"

You are right, no one has mentioned it and it is probably the fact that I have battled for so long and had expected her to have grown out of it by now that makes it seems so much worse.

To everyone else, thanks so much for your input even you 'stinky' ones lol.

To update you: I sort of lost it with her yesterday, told her that I wasn't putting up with it etc. She showered last night without a mention and this morning she has gone off on a driving lesson and I said that when she gets back if she tidies her room then I will polish and hoover it. She was reluctant at first but then agreed.

It probably won't last but it's a step in the right direction, I just need to keep the momentum going.

Sheshelob Fri 26-Apr-13 10:14:43

Stinkies at your service, Mrs.

Hope you find some common ground soon.

Laquila Fri 26-Apr-13 10:25:27

Sounds like a good results, mrsm68, well done! Hell I can't remember the last time I polished anything - am off to attack something with a duster...

LeChatRouge Fri 26-Apr-13 11:45:59

mrsm that sounds like progress.
I read on here once something wise. That teenagers are very much like toddlers and despite being our height and old enough to drive/marry/vote, are actually craving boundaries and guidance. They just can't articulate it. So, you putting your foot down might create an argument (or not), but it also might be just what she wanted.

mrsm68 Fri 26-Apr-13 13:43:36

Phew, just finished her bedroom, it took 3 hours but we hoovered every nook and cranny and did lots of sorting and chucking.

It looks lovely in there and DD said "it looks like an IKEA showroom in my bedroom" bless her.

Thanks again everyone x

specialsubject Fri 26-Apr-13 15:06:41

excellent news! The air is fresher already. :-)

pickledginger Fri 26-Apr-13 15:18:25

Yay! I wonder if she'd get a second uniform if you'd pay for it? Or let her off whatever she chips in for 'keep' to match the cost?

TheRealFellatio Fri 26-Apr-13 17:17:24

I apologise Sheshelob I am afraid I was a bit rude to you. Although I saw the humour in what you wrote I did think (and sort of still do) that you were completely serious about your point - which is that it doesn't matter if you smell; it's ok to not wash. You made some jokey flippant comments about you 'rancid arse crack' and your 'stinky pits' 'stinking up the joint for days' and how it is a running joke in your family. I tactfully suggest to you that you may think it's a 'running joke' but if others who love you have noticed and commented, then you can rest assured that others who don't love you will be being less kind.

Now perhaps you were hamming it up a bit and all of the above in not really true, in which case you played your part a bit too well and I missed the irony. But if they are true, then personally I could not bear to think of people laughing at me being my back for smelling, and I also could not bear to think that I was causing others a degree of discomfort and embarrassment when in my company, but hey, if you are ok with that then carry on. confused

I was never the smelly kid thankfully, but I have seen what happens to the poor children of very slovenly adults with low standards at school and it is not pleasant. I've seen an entire family of six kids with ears so black with mank you could scrape it off with a spoon, and with school uniform that they clearly slept in of days on end, stinking of piss, because their mother and father just didn't think it was a big deal, so long as they had lots of love to give. hmm

I am not a member of the Dettol Collective, or whatever you called it - I bathe or shower once a day as a rule but I will occasionally skip a day without having a nervous breakdown over it. There is a balance, you know, between being an obsessive clean freak and having BO for days on end.

Anyway, I apologise if I was unnecessarily rude, and let's beg to differ.

Sheshelob Fri 26-Apr-13 18:12:49

Apology accepted. I'm sorry I was such a goady old bastard.

I was being ironic. I don't smell but I am known as someone who proudly doesn't bathe everyday, hence the pride in being a bath dodger. I have always been that way and my family think it is funny that I haven't changed my socks.

I'm glad you weren't a child who was teased for being dirty or smelly. There were some kids in my school who were, and who were bullied mercilessly for it. But it was largely a symptom of some other breakdown in their families.

This isn't a serious subject in the context the OP presented. It sounds like it is their flashpoint and always has been. If the OP had been worried about a dirty child that wasn't her own then I would have been much more sensitive. But it isn't. It is about a girl whose chosen form of rebellion is a dirty protest. As rebellions go, it is a pretty mild one.

I guess that is what I was reacting to. At your worst, some of the posts sounded like the kind of things you were supposedly protecting the OP's DD from. And then when it was aimed at me, I thought I'd take the piss out of you all.

But let's let it lie. Life is too short. And I have my gloriously clean hair to whip around a la Timotei.

specialsubject Sat 27-Apr-13 15:34:12

being disgusting to live with is not 'a chosen form of rebellion'. Or indeed a 'lifestyle choice'.

it is just disgusting.

how often you wash doesn't really matter, as long as it is sufficient to stop you smelling.

lljkk Sat 27-Apr-13 15:43:15

I enjoyed SheShelob's humour.

ZZZenagain Sat 27-Apr-13 15:43:56

if she finds it hard to get up in time to wash in the mornings, I would insist that she does it when she gets in from work before the evening meal, that way there is no chance of her running out of time. In the morning, she needs to clean under her armpits and put on deo. That would be ok.

In the same way, you can wash your hair in the evening. IT doesn't have to be done in the shower in the morning. Maybe she needs set days. So Tuesday and Friday evenings for example, she washes her hair. I don't know if it would be enough but it would be an improvement. Her work clothes need a wash during the week. Maybe on Wednesday, she puts them in the wash as soon as she gets in, irons them damp and hangs them up to dry overnight.

Sheshelob Sat 27-Apr-13 23:14:26

Thanks, lljkk

I'm here all week!

unquietmind Tue 31-Dec-13 00:01:14

Laughed my knackers off after googling / searching for help with a teen ds and would love to have the answer. Eldest humdinged worst in early teens but gets it now and racks the gas bill up now. The other tries to trick me with wet fringes, running the shower empty for ten min or washing hair only in the sink. For all the palaver he could just wash?

He is happy has a gf and stays at mates regularly. Really surprised no one says anything. Wouldnt mind infrequent washing but its getting silly now with weeks on end. Also 17. .

Sheshelob I was difficult to get into a bathroom aged 13-15 until fellas came on the scene but dont know what my pre male bathroom issues were.perhaps 2 inch lukewarm baths because of the bills and parents set the water limits? Not sure what today's issues are
for teens

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