How do I get my preteen to understand about keeping herself clean and bathing regularly?

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Kerrie - posted on 01/19/2013

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My 15 year old step daughter literally will cop attitudes, pout like a little kid, stomp her feet and argue with me and my husband when it comes to bathing. She says that her mom told her that it's ok to only bathe once or twice a week because you are "washing mother nature off of you" and that's "not a good thing" according to her mom. When she will get in the shower at our house, she will sometimes run the shower and get her hair wet to make us think that she did actually shower or get herself wet or whatever so we think that she bathed. When we call her out on her not washing her hair or washing her body because her hair is still dirty and greasy and she still smells, she will lie right to our face and tell us that she did wash her hair and wash her body. I have tried to talk to her about this and how important it is to keep herself clean without any luck. I have even told her that when she is at our house, and it comes time to take a shower, she has 2 choices, take a shower correctly herself or have me in there doing it for her and that the second choice would be a little embarassing to know that she needed to be bathed at 15 years old because she wasn't doing it. Well, she would choose the first option but still would not take a shower and would pull these fake showers. When I confront my husband about this, he just gets mad at me and tells me to butt out of it and he'll take care of it but unfortunately, lately he doesn't, he just tells me that she told him she did shower even though I can tell plain as day that she didn't. So, what other options are there?

Donna - posted on 10/09/2011

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This may come by as an odd suggestion but let her volunteer some where. I remember when I started working as a cashier at the local grocery store that not everyone smells good. Which kinda made me conscious about the way I smelled. Even to this day I am still very smell conscious.

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De-anne - posted on 07/27/2014

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I can understand what you are going through. My daughter is nearly 13. It is like we asked her to clean the whole house when we tell her to have a shower. Once she is in there, we have trouble getting her out! We know she is clean by then. We also get answers like, "I had a shower last night, whey do I need one tonight?" She would stay in her PJs and underwear day in and day out if we let her. If it was school holidays. I have made the threat she will go in clothes and all. I am not worried I might have to wash them or put them on the clothes line. At least I would get her in the shower. My hubby can carry her. She is too heavy for me. I deal out consequences if it doesn't get done. My daughter doesn't like that. I find whatever is the "thing" of the moment works. Good luck with the shower.

Nelly - posted on 06/19/2012

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We bathe our 3 children everyday. They are between 12 and 15 years old. Once a week we bathe our 18 year old son. Just to make sure he's washed properly.

Farrah - posted on 04/23/2012

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my son is 13 and i struggle evry day to get him in the shower...i dont under stand it

Alska - posted on 10/08/2011

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i have this problem to with my 12 year old daughter. I have to fight with her to bath. I don't understand it.



I tried talking to her and I even told her a story about a girl i went to school with (was the same way) and they made her shower at school .. I figured that would scare her into taking care of herself but it didn't. she's always talking about boys/boyfriends etc n i told her do you think a boy wants a stinky girlfriend? n she said no .. but still that didn't help.



not sure what else to do? i hope she snaps outta it soon :o\

Tina - posted on 09/22/2011

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Hi Courtney, I think it is a phase they go threw and as soon as they get interested in boys then it seems magically the shower and soap call them .... good luck

Laurie - posted on 09/16/2011

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ps. for girls the american girl "care & keeping of you" is a great guide to hygeine and explains some of the changes her body is going through. very age appropriate as well.

Laurie - posted on 09/16/2011

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when my daughter protet I remind her that she doesnt want someone at school to point out that she is not smelling very "fresh"...that usually works ;-)

Ehecatl - posted on 09/15/2011

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I am glad to read this, cause I thought my kid had mental problems because she seems to not care if she smells. I realize now, she won't do it on her own, and I will have to tell her to do it and prepare it all for her to take a bath.

[deleted account]

just a little update on my daughter and her bathing habit. We have started yet another new rule in the house. EVERY night at 8 pm she is to take her shower, no questions asked. She is to be out of said shower at 8:15 if she is not out in 15 mins, which I have been thinking is a rather long shower, I will come help her finish. So far after 2 weeks of this she has taken a shower every night. Hopefully this will continue and we will be over the smelly stage. Thanks for everyones thoughts and suggestions!

Helen - posted on 04/10/2009

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Hi Courtney, I sympathise with you. My daughter is 11 and I am constantly nagging at her about personal hygiene.  I have to make her have a bath or shower, and wash her hair thoroughly.  I have found that if I leave her to it, let her lock the door, and use her own toiletries, she will conform but it is still a battle.  Good luck.  Helen

Mary - posted on 04/09/2009

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I'm on the same page as Alison Murphy. My daughter is 12 and she and I have had the discussion on how cruel kids can be especially in middle/high school. She actually took a marker that she can clean off her mirror in her bathroom and wrote a check list of all the things that she needs to done every morning & night. She has really done well with this. It was something that she thought of herself.

Charlene - posted on 04/08/2009

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lol she didn't tell me how she found out, I really didn't want to know.

Really if daily is such a battle try a compromise, let's say every other day or such. Especially through the winter how dirty are they really?? and it is healthier for the skin and hair to have some of the natural oils. I am not saying go grunge....eewww but a couple days here & there are ok. Now in the summer with sports & stuff it is worse and they need to get cleaned more often. My son ends up swimming a few times a week mixed with his 3 times a week bathing. Not perfect but we both can live with it.

Gwen - posted on 04/05/2009

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oooohhhhh nooooooo, they discover that at 11?!?!?!?!?!?!  I was really hoping I had a few more years.  yuuuuuck.  And how in the WORLD did she discover that's what he was doing?!?!?!?!?!  ooooooh, NM, I'm thinking i don't wanna know.



Anyway, get thee to the library, there are tons of girl-hygene-growing-up books out there.  And maybe take her on a special shopping trip to pick out whatever deodorant and shampoo and special girly wash and a new hairbrush, whatEVER she wants in the hygiene section, sales be darned.  if she gets to pick it out she might be more inclined to use it?  Do you know any older girls or even a really cool college kid she could talk too, or that you could even take WITH you shopping?  Maybe even have a cousin or cool aunt email/ IM with her and discuss the 'good' brands, and how to wash her hair, and how much body wash to use, whatever.



LOL, we are all 'just mom'.  we don't know anything, we've never been there, we have just noooooooo idea what it's like to be a kid, remember?  Unfortunatly our own kids will never think we are cool (no matter how cool thier friends think you are), thus anything WE say gets dismissed out of hand half the time.  but cool-teenager-down-the-street preaches the Gospel, and hip-aunt is always right!

Misty - posted on 04/04/2009

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I am very glad to know that there are other women out there with kids who refuse to bathe on a normal basis! I have to fight tooth and nail to get my 10 year old to take a shower daily. I have tried the "You don't want to be the stinky kid" approach, I have tried the grounding, sending her to bed early, all kinds of stuff. I am open to any suggestions as well. Of course everyone else is saying that once they get their kid in they can't get them out- My child will be in the shower for all of three minutes and swear that she has done all she is supposed to do. We have many repeated showers around my house.

Jennifer - posted on 04/04/2009

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Quoting Dell:



hang in there it will come good..... she should soon realise that its not good not to wash herself properly :) ,  like i said my son went through this stage and still refuses to have a bath but now i have to holler at him to get out the shower!! just a suggestion but maybe you could sit them all down together and have a girlie chat with them all about it????? it may help???





You are probably right on this one... I still have issues with my 10yr old at times even after proving to her 'she will bathe', it's not as often, but the point is... it is still a problem. Some times I think that we as parents have worries that our children may not grow out of things in time to be harassed by their peers, maybe it's just a protective thing on our part. Kids, I tell ya... cute and hard to live without dispite all the issues they come with.  lol

Jolene - posted on 04/04/2009

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I'm having the same problem with my 10yr old son......I think it is also a I can do what I want! At who's expense? but he doesn't say that....and your right once he does get in the shower we can't get him out....I wonder why this happens?

Charlene - posted on 04/02/2009

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my 10 year old son hates getting into the bath or shower but once in hates to get out. On Sunday nights he gets a nice, deep very bubbly bath with the jets on. He usually plays for about an hour in there. During the week usually Wed & Fri nights I get him to shower. Talking with them about hygeine is great, perhaps so books. If the chats don;t work or grounding. Try something like no T.V./video games/computer whatever is important to them. today because you didn't bathe and hold firm what pre-teen will what to do without their stuff.

Don't know how comforting this will be (lol) but my friends 11 year old boy just recently went from an once a week shower battle (eeeww) to wanting a shower everday sometimes more then once. Upon investigation they found out that he discovered masturbation....boy is he ever clean now.....

[deleted account]

hang in there it will come good..... she should soon realise that its not good not to wash herself properly :) ,  like i said my son went through this stage and still refuses to have a bath but now i have to holler at him to get out the shower!! just a suggestion but maybe you could sit them all down together and have a girlie chat with them all about it????? it may help???

[deleted account]

I only wish I could use that as a way to get her to bathe. We live in a rural area and there are no other kids around, so playing vs. staying doesn't matter to her at all. Seems she is the only one in her "crowd" that doesn't smell. Her friends will come over and the b-o on them is so strong I want to have them all take baths. I don't want anyone to think that my daughter and her friends are dirty little girls and all, she just doesn't like to take showers or baths. I have tried all sorts of smell good stuff in the shower and bath and it just doesn't work. I'm told that she will grow out of this stage, but I don't know if I can wait that long.

Jennifer - posted on 04/02/2009

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My ten year old wants to respond to this:



she says, "if she doesn't bath regularly people will make fun of her and no one will want to hang around with her" and "being clean means you care about your body and when you care about yourself, so will others" -Madi



Anyhow, my ten year old also had this issue and was faced with lots of critism from her peers. I argued with her daily about brushing her hair and taking a bath. I told her over and over why it was important, then once I was fed up with it.... I told her to take a bath every morning and if she didn't then she would be grounded for that day... I would tell her that if she didn't have time to care about herself then she didn't have time to run around and play either. She spent a few days staying inside while others played, but eventually wanted to play too, so, the baths started to happen daily so she could go out and play after school. This worked for me... not at first, but being consistent about what you expect and demand of your child works out in the long run. Not to worry though, you are not alone.. from what I have found out through other parents, this is pretty common in pre teens.

[deleted account]

My daughter is faithful about the deodorant and smell good stuff. But showers are just not her thing. She wants long hair and I have told her since she was little that if she wants it she has to keep it brushed and clean. I have cut it several times because she wont keep it or herself clean. I am at the end of my rope with the not bathing. I'm glad to see that I'm not alone and its not just girls!

Alison - posted on 04/01/2009

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WOW!! It is so good to see that I am not alone in this situation. My 12 yr old daughter is the same way. She has gotten better though since I sat her down and had a talk with her. I told her about how cruel kids can be and how I didn't want to see her get treated badly. Since she will be in Junior High next year I know things will be tough if this keeps going but I think she understands a little better and is trying harder. Good luck to all of you!!!

[deleted account]

hi Courtney, I sympathise with you, my son who is almost 12 was alergic to showers and baths up until a couple of months ago.... now i cant get him out of the shower!!! Living in a very warm cklimate makes for very sweaty, smelly kids and we just continually pointed out how unpleasant it was to be smelly and how a shower only takes 5 mins, we also bought him his own deodorant and smelly stuff..... he has taken this on board luckily even tho I have to remind him every day to put on his deodorant. Good luck :)

Cindy - posted on 03/31/2009

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I feel your pain...My 15 year old and 10 year old are the same way.  I have to stay on them all the time.

[deleted account]

I wish i new that too my 12 yr old son has developed and he thinks that taking a shower is a crime i have to clean his room just to make sure it don't stink and i sit in the bathroom after he is in the shower to complain to him about washing with body wash and shampoo

[deleted account]

My 12 year old daughter doesn't like to bathe on a regular basis. I feel that I have to nag on her to get a bath every night. I have tried to back it off to every other night, but with PE and summer coming I don't want to be the mother of the smelly girl. Please help!

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