How can I get my 10 yr old ADHD daughter to care more about her appearance and hygiene?

Stephanie - posted on 01/18/2009 ( 41 moms have responded )

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I don't want to hurt her feelings but she really needs to care about her appearance/hygiene, she's a pre-teen and we all know at that age comes more need to be "clean"... It just seems like she could care less about it! Her hair is always a mess, she doesn't care half the time about whether or not her clothes are clean, she doesn't wash her hands, she hates brushing her teeth, she "forgets" to put deodorant on... I've done everything to try to instill in her that these are all important things but .. as you can see no help. Her doctor says it may be because of her ADHD but I don't know, any other mom's having trouble?

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Kari - posted on 11/05/2010

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It is just amazing & will probably back fire on me, but Keilah came to me with telling me the other kids were teasing her about her hair being dirty and her breath. I asked her if there was anything she could do about it...she finally decided, yea mom, will u remind me!!!! Big milestone...she still slacks off some but now she cares!!!! Kids can be cruel, but sometimes it works to the mom's advantage. BTW she says that the only time they tease her is when she forgets to do it...

Kristen - posted on 11/13/2010

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Ha, glad to see I'm not the only one! My daughter is 13 and is now clean and looks decent when she leaves the house without me telling, reminding , threatening, etc. She doesn't often do a lot to look "good", but is clean and at least brushes he hair once through. We used a checklist in the bathroom which was also part of an incentive chart. This generally worked for her, because usually she wasn't opposed to grooming, she just forgot to do each step. It did take a while to get her used to using the chart and not forgetting about it.

Leah - posted on 11/05/2010

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I am in the same exact sitiuation with my 11 yr old daughter-who also has ADHD.I am constantly having to explain how important it is to take care of her body and be clean.While reading your question/post i felt alittle relieved that i am not the only one going through this....
and its not only her hygiene/appearance either...her room is a disaster half the time and she could care less if friends come over and her room is a mess.In school,she barely brings home her homework,her desk is a mess,etc.
I dont want to sound mean or hurt her feelings either but i'm at the end of my rope.

Jeannie - posted on 02/27/2010

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Like everyone else I agree that it is an age thing. My daughter who is also 11 has this same problem. I have to fight her to take a bath! This also is not my ADHD child, so it must be an age thing. I agree with taking the docs suggestion with a grain of salt, I really don't think this behaviour has anything to do with ADHD or ADD. I am doing as some have suggested, being patient and hoping that when a classmate mentions something to her, it wont be too embarrassing and she will get the hint. But I feel it will boil down to that. I can't baby her all her life, and I am to the point that this is something that she will have to figure out on her own. Girls mature faster than boys, so I am thinking that it has a lot to do with the hormonal changes and the sluggishness of getting ready to start her menstrual cycle. We all have to remember how lazy we were in those days!!

Vicki - posted on 01/28/2010

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My daughter is also 10 and has the same problem. She had the same problem. We are working through it now. We use a charting system. When she has completed 75% of it for the week we take a trip to the store and she gets to pick out nail polish, fake nails or hair ties something to do with apperance or hygiene. It really has been helping. Good luck.

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Margaret - posted on 03/06/2014

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OMG wow i am so glad to see that other people are just as frustrated as I am....with my soon to be 13 year old girl... frustrated to the point that I would send her to a boot camp if they could get thru to her because I cant

Lashundra - posted on 07/30/2013

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I have the same exact issue with my daughter. She is 11 and has ADD. I'm really stuck in a hard place and really don't what else to do.

Norka - posted on 05/25/2013

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I have the same issues since she was 11 her room is a mess, she is now 18, and taking a shower is not a priority, Iam so frustrated and I know she is suffering , she thinks nobody cares about her apearence, that is just me bothering her. I think depression, and not been confortable with her body are a big issue, We realy need help

Kim - posted on 05/04/2012

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I have the same problem with my 10 year old daughter who has ADHD. I just stay on her. I'm sure I'm just nagging but I don't know what else to do. I explain to her that if she met someone that had dirty messy hair and had smelly breath, would she want to talk to them. She says no but she doesn't seem to get my point or she just doesn't care because she still doesn't keep up with herself. Anyone out there have any suggestions?

April - posted on 02/27/2010

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very normal for this age. sounds like a lot of people are going through this at this age with their kids, too. anyway, remember to be patient and keep reminding her. i think kids w/ adhd have a much harder time remembering and caring and they act impulsively. just be patient and remember that its normal for kids of this age and even harder for kids w adhd.

Jessica - posted on 02/25/2010

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OMG yes, my daughter is 9 with ADD, and she too is just like this. I have been doing everything I know to do to get her to wash her hair and use soap in the shower. She won't brush her teeth or clean her room. She just throws her clothes in the floor. Its driving me nuts and I am at my wits end!!! I don't know what to do!

Tamara - posted on 02/22/2010

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My daughter is know 13 and she is finally starting to take a little more care with her appearance. She also has ADHD. She has never been a real girly girl. My biggest issue was making sure she was clean and her clothes were clean. The rest was up to her. I found the more i bugged her about tthings the more oppositional she was. When I finally stoped all the preasure she finally started to come around. as she watches her pears she will figure out some of this on her own. She may be behind some of the other girls her age but this can also be a blessing as they are exsposed to so much more these days and grow up way to fast.

Kari - posted on 02/22/2010

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oh u want to talk about brushing, she would go in there and wet the toothbrush and brush something but it wasnt her teeth. I made her start coming out to show me brushing her teeth but when we went to the dentist, she still had to have 5 caps and 3 fillings...she still isnt scared...

Theresa - posted on 02/21/2010

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I don't thinkit has much to do with her adhd, I think it's just that age. You do the best you can to get by and remind her as often as possible to take care of the hygiene things. Eventually all kids outgrow that stage and start to care about their appearance. I have 13 and 10 year old boys. they shower each day, but I think the shower consists of standing in the water and not doing anything. I actually found out my oldest (a couple years ago) was just turning the water on and letting it run, nit even getting in. I threatened to come in and watch him get in and shower. He did NOT want that. At least he got into the shower after that. He's in 8th grade this year and even after a shower his hair looks greasy. I though the would start to get teased and I told him that. Then we had high school registration and I saw a lot of the kids form his class there. You know what, most of them looked greasy too. Even the guys that the girls were talking to and hanging around. Apparently a lot of the boys at that age still haven't gotten into the looking good. He is getting better. I found when I let him pick out the kind of shampoo and body wash he wanted (AXE) he was much more likely to use it. As far as the deoderant and teeth brushing, I actually put a post it note on the bathrrom mirror so they can't "forget" to do those things. I figure it's easier to overlook a little grease than it is to overlook body or breath odor. Good luck.

Kari - posted on 02/21/2010

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yeap, mine kid is the same age & has ADHD & bipolar. She says it is her passion for fashion. The new style ...i have to tell her if she dont take a bath & wash her hair we arnt going anywhere. sometimes she washes sometimes i have to make her get back in & use soap. Any one have any idea

Mary - posted on 02/21/2010

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I have a few issues with it too, my 8 year old sometimes looked like the messiest kid in school so I decided to have a conversation with her about social rules. I told her there are implicit rules about dress and behavior, like dressing nice for a fancy restaurant, being quiet at church, etc.
I then set minimum standards: clean clothes, washed body, clipped nails, these are a must. And in return I let her "choose" or get away with other stuff. About the hair, I tried a different hair style each day for about a week, she was bothered at first but we finally found something she likes (a braid to one side) to keep the hair out of her face.
She still doesn't dress her best, I'm hoping that will come later, but I've settled for not having a child who looks like her clothes came from the trash can.

Kelli - posted on 02/20/2010

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My ADHD son who is 11 is the same way. I don't know what to do either, I just stay on him about it until he does it.

Jennifer - posted on 02/20/2010

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I have had to cut her hair..that is the rule in the house..You don't take care of it, it gets cut..she doesn't seem to care..Everyone (the females that is) have long hair..She likes to play with hair..thinking that would want her to take care of her hair so that she could do things to her hair..She doesn't seem to care...I have told her that if she doesn't start cleaning herself, she will smell and kids will make fun of her..She doesn't say anything.There are days that her hair is greasy, cause she doesn't wash. I know that kids have to be saying something..I feel bad but she chooses not to wash..I don't get it..

DeAnn - posted on 02/19/2010

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My daughter isn't like this but my SON ugh! I fought with him for YEARS over this as well as his bigger brother. He's 14 now and in high school and starting to care but I still have to remind him of the teeth from time to time. His older brother is 16 and takes 2 showers a day... I'm thankful I have 4 bathrooms because my daughter primps 2-4 times a day depending on what is going on that day. I think it's partly personality and part laziness, and possibly not wanting to take the time out to actually groom. What I do is tell them they aren't leaving the house looking all grungy and send them back as many times as it takes until they get it right, but like I said mine are older now and it's better for ME to get them before they leave than for them to get the the high school and be all stinky and let the other kids do the job. Believe me tho if she doesn't change on her own before Jr high, then other kids will make fun of her until she'll either change or become depressed and get worse. You might try taking her to the salon and letting her get her hair cut any way she chooses but tell her she has to keep up the look or you won't take her again. Another thing you can do is get her body washes and shampoos that she picks out so she can choose the scent and then make sure you comment on how good she smells after her showers, every woman likes to her she smells good.

Dawn - posted on 02/18/2010

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Elizabeth I agree with you. Those American Girl books are worth every penny! I have a collection now and they really offer girls great solutions to real problems.

Dawn - posted on 02/18/2010

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My Lord, my daughter is 10 also and we are having the same issue! Sometimes in the a.m. I have to have her go back and brush her teeth 3 more times it seems. She just does not care right now. So what did I do? I bought the American Girl Book the Care and Keeping of you and we've been sitting down and reading it together and talking and I'm getting all kinds of great questions. But like some of the other posters said, it's the age. It's an ackward age. They are approaching puberty soon and they are really only just starting to notice that others even pay attention to what they look like. Once she's a tad older and she notices boys noticing her, I think it will be more of a priority, LOL.

Jennifer - posted on 02/17/2010

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I have the same issue with my 10 year old...I've tried everything...Talks..Charts...nothing works..She has an older sister (11) that is the total opposite and you would think that she would want to be somewhat like her..Nope...She doesn't care if she wears clean clothes..I have to tell her to brush her hair a number of times before it even looks like she brushed it...Teeth..She uses the toothbrush without toothpaste sometimes..and hygiene is an issue to..She has even admitted to taking a shower without soap. I am soo frustrated on this..I have no idea what to do.

Christina - posted on 01/28/2010

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my son is the op. the only thing i have to remind him of is brushing his teeth. but he is 6. he is always washing his hands. when he takes a bath it takes me atleast 30 minutes AFTER hes done washing to get him to get out. hes always asking for me to buy hand sanitizer. even his teacher says shes never seen a kid use so much of it.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/10/2010

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American Girl has some great books The Care and Keeing of Me" I think is the name of it there are other titles, on manners and other titles. They are great books easy for girls to read. Go to americangirl.com or a.c. more carries them, borders, ebay. Check them out. good luck

Kathy - posted on 01/01/2010

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We have had this same problem with our son. He completely refuses to wash and is now getting acne. He's only 8! It is hard to know when to encourage him without belittling. It drives me nuts. This Christmas we got him a set of really nice, plush towels and wash clothes that we had monogrammed with his name. He seems to have taken to them and wants to use them. So far at least. We'll see how long that lasts but even if it is just a week it is still a week without the "washing argument'! :) Good luck!

Lisa - posted on 01/01/2010

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yes i have a 14 yr old boy with adhd,he was the same it tok a fight and half to get him to shower when he was younger he hated having his hair cut and didnt care but it does come together in the end. i found you have to tell them days before and let it sink in and then they think it is their idea as i tried everything from bribery to paying him to bath i still struggle now to get him to brush his teeth unless i am in the bathroom with him you could try letting her go and buy her own deodarants and shampoo which is giving her a responsibility but it will get easier,at the moment you will think you are banging your head of a brick wall she will come into her own when she goes to secondary school but keep your chin up hun xx

Danielle - posted on 12/29/2009

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If you figure this one out please let me know. I have a daughter that is turning 11 in a couple weeks. This is not my ADHD child so I would take that comment from the doctor with a grain of salt...I think it is more the AGE. UGH mine "forgets" deodorant all the time also so I have gotten to the point I step by step help her get ready. She doesn't want to be treated like a baby, but I tell her if you can't act grown up and remember to brush your teeth and put on your bra and deodorant than I am going to have to help like you are still little. So far this seems to help a bit but every couple weeks I have to go back to helping.
I like the fancy soap idea and think I am going to have to try them.

Jennifer - posted on 12/29/2009

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I think that is the age. My daughter who is now 12 went through the same thing. We would have to fight to get her to shower. I bought fancy gels and soaps to help. DIdn't work but then when she hit middle school she seemed to take an interest. IT was strange because as soon as she got in she would not get out. She hated to get out. Good luck. We lectured about odors and all and it didn't work. Keep going. Try the fancy soaps maybe that would help. Good luck.

[deleted account]

It will come in time...My daughter is/was the same way. Give it time, once she realizes boys, then she will start caring. AND it's not because of ADHD, it's the age and individual child...come kids can't stand to get dirty and play in the dirt while others love it...does that make the kid that loves to play in the dirt ADHD...I think not...Just the way the child is...no diagnosis needed, just a kid being a kid.

April - posted on 12/18/2009

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my daughter can be the same way sometimes, especially with deodorant and i usually have to make sure she washes right when she takes a bath, it is frustrating, i know im not sure why they dont care about it,

Tracy - posted on 12/18/2009

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I have a newly diagnosed ADHD (mostly just ADD) 10 year old girl and she also has a hard time "remembering" to do her personal hygiene duties as the young girl listed above does. I have sort of chalked it up to the ADD, but she's on medication and some of her focus and attention is better, but it just seems like she is still being SO lazy about it. She's got long hair but doesn't like brushing it (threatened with cutting it short), she won't regularly flush the toilet, wipe herself (when urinates), change her undies, socks, etc. It is so aggravating and I feel like I'm not only nagging her all of the time; that I'm degrading her. I want her to be proud of herself and her ability to take the most basic care of herself. How is this done??? We have the book that alot of parents mention (The Care and Keeping of Me) and we had a chart (that never got used), we take extra time in the morning, I am beyond frustrated. Any suggestions????

Stephanie - posted on 01/27/2009

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Thank you for your replies to my post... We started behavioral therapy and I am going to try the chore chart again, with a few tweaks adding the everyday things (aka brushing teeth, showering, getting dressed etc)... I had done the chart when she was younger and it worked for awhile but then she ignored it, hmmmm. BUT she is older now so I have a lot more to offer her for "rewards". So I will try again.. Hey! If you first don't succeed try try again, right?! lol

Stephanie - posted on 01/27/2009

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Quoting Debra:



My stepdaughter is nearly 16 and she still does not care about her appearance. We have tried many things. It is very aggravating because her younger stepsister would not leave the house without looking perfect. It drives her dad, my husband CRAZY and makes him very mad to say the same things over and over. I believe she has some psychiatric issues but he will not accept this. When he or her mother takes her to the psychiatrist they just say everything is fine and gets the medicine refilled. She has lived with me and her Dad since we got married 9 years ago. She lies A LOT about everything. Even the most insignificant things she lies about. The other children do not believe anything she says. It is very difficult to raise a stepchild like this. She is very immature.Does anyone have any suggestions?





I don't know about teens quite yet lol but I think that with the teen years lying does come into play (although my daughter lies now at 10, but it's mostly about homework and her getting into things she shouldn't). I think they try to "test" us more and sometimes even get a rise out of us. Maybe she's acting out to get attention. Maybe more family time would help. I don't know how close you are to her but maybe a lil more one on one with you would be good =] I've been told to "Pick and choose my fights" with my daughter and to ignore bad behavior, of course not letting her get her way but to not make a great big deal about it. Making the things she does right more of a big deal helps!

Debra - posted on 01/26/2009

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My stepdaughter is nearly 16 and she still does not care about her appearance. We have tried many things. It is very aggravating because her younger stepsister would not leave the house without looking perfect. It drives her dad, my husband CRAZY and makes him very mad to say the same things over and over. I believe she has some psychiatric issues but he will not accept this. When he or her mother takes her to the psychiatrist they just say everything is fine and gets the medicine refilled. She has lived with me and her Dad since we got married 9 years ago. She lies A LOT about everything. Even the most insignificant things she lies about. The other children do not believe anything she says. It is very difficult to raise a stepchild like this. She is very immature.Does anyone have any suggestions?

[deleted account]

I have an 11yo ADHD son and I was told this is just a phase all boys go through at this age. I was also struggling with some other things he should be taking care of like his homework or put his stuff away etc. So our therapist suggested putting the responsibility on him and let him make it 'his'. I have a chart of things he is to accomplish and each thing he checks off earns him time on his gameboy or tv time or game time with Mommy etc. There are 'required' items that he has to do before any of his fun time and there are extra items for when he wants to earn maybe money or special events (a movie). I put the hygiene items on the list and he does them and now I don't have to ask him to do each thing. I simply point to his checklist. He says he likes it - makes him feel grownup and responsible for himself. I'm just glad it works (most days).

Summer - posted on 01/18/2009

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I have exactly the opposite problem. My 11 yr old adhd son is always primping, and always wants to use hair gel. He thinks the clothes I buy him are "dorky". I still have to remind him to shower and brush teeth, but overall he is overly concerned with his appearance. I do think to an extent it is the adhd and medication, but some of it has to be something else

Claire - posted on 01/18/2009

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Quoting Stephanie:

How can I get my 10 yr old ADHD daughter to care more about her appearance and hygiene?

I don't want to hurt her feelings but she really needs to care about her appearance/hygiene, she's a pre-teen and we all know at that age comes more need to be "clean"... It just seems like she could care less about it! Her hair is always a mess, she doesn't care half the time about whether or not her clothes are clean, she doesn't wash her hands, she hates brushing her teeth, she "forgets" to put deodorant on... I've done everything to try to instill in her that these are all important things but .. as you can see no help. Her doctor says it may be because of her ADHD but I don't know, any other mom's having trouble?



dont panic u just have to be patient and keep reminding her.  yes i know it can become teidious but thats the joy of having a child with a,d,h,d or put a hygine chart  up in the bathroom and every time she completes her daily routine she gets a smiley face and if she gets five a week then go into town withher and buy some thing for her like hair bands or bobbles or just some deo but let her choose things like this can give her a sense of achivement and can also make it fun for her. and she will probably keep it up.  thats wat i do wiv my son wenever i`m having a problem i make a chart and he`s nine he has a.d.h.d /aspergers/cerebal palsy/ heart murmer / learning and behavioural problems .  but i think the charts are fun but give structure... hope this helps

Cristina - posted on 01/18/2009

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I have an 11  year old son that went through the same thing.  I made it appoint to take out his clothes the night before school, I would lay out his tooth  brush in the mornings, helped him put his outfit together and brush his hair in the mornings.  I made it appoint to make a big deal of how good he looked. I would joke with him, about how all the girls were going to stare at him because he was so handsome.  I then bought him a choirs calendar. 



I told him that keeping his hygene and how he looked for school was important and this was an important job/ responsibility.  My son has always a mentallity of wanting to please the people around him.  I then bought him a choir calendar.  Everytime he accomplished something on his own, I rewarded him with either a star or a chance to pick the movie from blockbuster that the family was going to watch that evening.  (things like that).   It did take a while but after some time he now picks his own clothes (even tries to match his shirts with his sneakers), brushes his teeth.  We still have issues with him taking a GOOD bath and brushing his hair, but no is perfect, Be patient, I know it can be frustrating but she will gain her own individuallity and hopefully some of these ideas will help you. 



GOOD LUCK

Chanda - posted on 01/18/2009

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I am having the same issue with my 11 year old daughter. My son used to do the same kinds of things, he is 16 now and he totally cares about his appearance. So I think it just comes with age. My daughter is starting to show signs of caring now, little by little. I think it takes one of their peers to say something to them before they really start to care. My advice is to just be patient, i know she will care in time. Hope this helps!

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