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

Stephanie - posted on 01/18/2009 ( 48 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...

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.

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.

Misschrys - posted on 06/20/2016

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I have read through almost all of the posts in this thread.

-----I've actually had this page open on my web browser for about a month, while I've researched 1 million other things, and this is what I've come up with, so I'm sharing. It's a long post. But, I hope it will help someone, including myself, not lose so much hair. ------


I came here looking for help. What I found is that I am not alone. I have two boys, 16 and 17. And they are STILL GROSS. And I still stay on them. And I thought, this is a boy thing.....

Nope. My 9 year old daughter started this phase about a year ago. Doesn't help that it coincided with the acceptance from me that I could no longer do her very curly and thick hair each morning. I have severe arthritis and I fought it as long as I could. I was diagnosed when she was two. I REALLY miss doing her hair. It was very bonding.

Every morning, she would dress and ...(I make hair bows which she adores - but she says she's on "strike" right now because I haven't been able to make any in the past year, so she is on strike until I start my business back up. I have an etsy shop. It's named after her. Therefore, technically, she's the boss. Course, she's been on strike for a year now, and never told anyone till recently. I explained that maybe she got the idea of what a strike is a little bit backwards. Plus, it's usually a good idea to let people KNOW you are on strike. ) ....choose her bow(s) to wear and I would brush and style her hair, sometimes simply, sometimes a more intricate style, depending on how long we had, while she watched cartoons. (They didn't come on until everything else was done and she had gotten her bows and the hair bucket and sat down. That was motivating. Maybe a tip for some with younger ones.)
----------
Before I go further into what I have learned and what I am going to attempt....Let me say this, ADHD, and aspergers, depression, bipolar, anxiety..... List goes on......are very prevalent in my family. Siblings, parents, grandparents, (that were never diagnosed, but if you know enough about mental disorders you can look back at someone and get an idea of what they may have experienced), my HUSBAND lol, my children, and they all call me the "holy grail" becuase I GOT IT ALL.

My point is, I have a smudge of experience backed up by a butt load of research and keeping up with newest research..... Yes!!!

YES YES YES YES YES ..... All of these factors matter. Poor hygiene is a symptom of sign of just about EVERY MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL DISORDER. (My psychiatrist told me that.)

While yes, I am struggling, (I thought somehow that it was just me and that raising a girl would be different than a boy. Hahahah) coming here, has reminded me that we are NOT ALONE. And that I CAN figure this out.


So, here are some things I am trying/have found out from others/etc. I thought I would share.


Tip #1 - when dealing with just about ANY mental or emotional disorder.... Make a routine and stick to it. Start with mini routines. Let them KNOW WHAT you are doing and WHY. And that you will be adding to the routine as they get better and better.

For LM (little miss, as I call her at home and prefer to the stand DD) this looks something like...."Get off the bus, go straight to room and change clothes, uniform in LAUNDRY basket, bring booksack to kitchen table. Get a drink of water. Do homework."

Along the way, things were added.
• Take shoes off at front door.
• Go to the bathroom before or after changing clothes.
• Pull out all VIP papers and put in the door pocket on my bedroom door.
• DO NOT ASK FOR YOUR SNACK UNTIL YOUR HOMEWORK IS DONE.
• 5 minutes of talk with mom time after snack time.
• Organize your binder/papers, and repack your booksack and put it away before asking for snack.


These were changes that were made one at a time, and anytime something change in routine I let her know I explain why it's changing and I can tell her that she'll have a week or two to get adjusted to doing the new thing and I will remind her every day but then after that she's got to learn to do it on her own

This kind of stuff works great for kids with issues, but for some reason, it just has not taken hold on her or her other brothers when I comes the hygiene.
(I did notice that when my oldest got his first girlfriend,'he started to shower and a lot more, but, you know, whenever he breaks up with a girl, sometimes he'll go a couple of days without showering, because that's usually the longest time it takes him to find somebody else. 🙄 )
This hasn't and may not ever occur with my youngest son, as he has aspergers and he has absolutely no interest in girls whatsoever except as friends ....doesn't have any interest in boys either. He's just not geared that way, even though he's hit puberty. He's more interested in learning how to do new things and focusing on school.

So.....Routines. They really are a must. FOR EVERYONE. I think that a lot of everyones health and mental health issues come from the fact that we no longer rely on the sun to provide us with light.

Once upon a time, people rose with the sun and went to sleep at dark (cuz duh!!!! They couldn't see!!!) That's the way humans were made to function. I have found this to be true in the lives of almost everyone that I know, including myself. Make routines and balance your circadian rhythm.

You don't necessarily need to wake with the sun and go to sleep when the sun goes down. But, if you try to wake around the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night, then you're doing pretty good.

I am completely disabled not because of only my mental disabilities but also because I have severe physical disabilities, that I never expected to have at the ripe old age of 36. In the past year, I have focused very intently on balancing my circadian rhythm. I also use an app called Sleep Cycle to track and record and share this information with my doctor. I am doing much better. But, I actually LEARNED about this from my youngest son. When he was diagnosed, in 2012, that was one of the first things I was told who help him.

So yeah routines and balancing that sleep schedule, it really helps kids. It really helps people of all ages be the best they can be. It worked for my younger son who is a high functioning autistic, it work for my older son who has severe bipolar anxiety and depression, And it's working for me too,

I spend more time now on my feet, in the past year than I did in the previous five years that I spent in bed or on the couch. So, for those of you who are struggling with the child who is dealing with a life challenge, I hope that this might help you.

However, back to the topic at hand, I still haven't figured out how to get my daughter to care about her hygiene.

----These are some of the things that I am currently working on trying that you might want to try as well. If they help they help, if not you (or I),'will probably be back here looking for more tips or help.

#1- No more bathes!!!!! Bathes are now for relaxing or playing. (For those of you with girls, this bit is kinda essential. Bath water is not good for down there, especially if they aren't cleaning well.)

...I stand her in my shower with a glass door. I stand outside. I walk her through the steps.

Look people - it may have become routine for us adult women, but, think about EVERYTHING you do to keep yourself clean and pretty!!!! It's a LOT. And just the basics are a lot to learn.

For a kid with the attention span of a gnat that really doesn't want to do this becuase she wants to play minecraft..... Guess what?

The first couple times you go through this are going to be HORRIBLE. Be prepared for all manner of screams, crying, and well LM had a feverish "itching" thing going on that was all in her head.

I suggest you have a glass of wine hidden around the corner to drink when you step out of the bathroom or take your Xanax before shower time. This isn't going to be fun. (For either of you.)

YOU have to TEACH her. Step by step. You have to explain why, show how, have her MIRROR your actions.

DONT DO IT FOR HER!!!!!
But, often you have to DO IT, so they know what is should feel like, and then have them repeat it... I have learned all of this from research.

You NEED TO step out of the bathroom every time you start to lose it. Assign her a task, show her how, and then let her do it, and CALL you when you THINKS she is done. ( this is the part where you slip in that smoke break, sip of wine, extra half of anxiety medicine, do deep breathing exercises etc. it's also the part where you will probably at first her screaming louder and louder and louder ignore he it's also the part where she will probably at first start screaming louder and louder and louder-ignore her) She has to stay in the shower until she is clean.

I'm not saying be mean to her, that's why you step out, I am saying it's partially a power struggle, and when you step out of the situation, you simultaneously KEEP the power but let the child THINK they have it.

Because the only way to get out of the shower is to suck it up, and comb the conditioner through your hair. ( I really hope that people don't think I'm a cruel woman to my child for doing this. I promise I was right around the corner as my bedroom is attached to my bathroom.)

I let her turn the water off while she was completing certain tasks so she wasn't going to drown or slip (bonus I have a shower chair because I'm disabled so she was able to sit down while doing some things) and I did my very best to remain kind and let her know that I was trying to help her and that it was important to do these things and talked to her about germs and bacteria and friends and old people's teeth falling out, you know.

The first shower. 6 hours. Six hours of holy unmitigated hell. When she was clean and dry, I went to bed. (BY THE WAY-THIS WAS A SATURDAY. WHEN NOTHING ELSE WAS PLANNED.)

The second time was a couple days later. ( I probably should've done it the next day, but the fact is, I just don't have that kind of energy and stamina in me. Plus, if you didn't know second day hair and sometimes third day hair has become the new healthy for hair- which I will discuss more further down....so I let her have a bathe the next day.) On day three, shower time again.

Less arguing. I praised her, corrected her without fussing, and stepped out when I got frustrated. (I made sure to not let her know that I was frustrated, I just told her I had to go do something or get something or take a cigarette break or that I was going to leave her to be a big girl and finish this task while I went to do something else, because unlike the first time, I did not want her to know that I was really upset. I shouldn't have shown it the first time, but I did. I'm human. However, letting the kid know you are frustrated encourages them to keep pushing your buttons to try to get OUT of the dreaded shower!!! And then, they are focusing on that, instead of focusing on WHAT you are trying to TEACH them). She did much better.

Since then..... She has been on vacation with her grandmother so I haven't seen her and I'm sure somethings will have to be re-taught/reinforced when she returns home. I'm hopeful based on shower number two, that we can get through it without too much screaming and yelling.

PS shower two only took about half the time as shower one. And, she was smiling by the end of shower too. I think she felt a little more confident in a little bit more at ease. (I also did this a couple years back, with the boys. But, I made certain to let them know and be very obvious about the fact I WAS not looking at them. I STILL instructed them on how to clean down there. I did my best to make it as comfortable and non embarrassing as possible. It DID help. Not as much as I would have likes, but it DID help.)

#2- I had a talk with my mom. Turns out, despite my lapse in memory, I went through the same thing. ::GASPS::

She gave me a book back then. Which I remember. Though sadly, neither of us can remember the name of it. And we are pretty certain it is out of print. Her mom gave her the book when she was of that age. And I remember that book being very valuable to me, explaining how to and why I should take care of my body.
But, realistically, she gave me the book sometime in '89-'91. The SAME book her mom gave her in the early 70's. Let's go ahead and say that book is probably a bit outdated for today's rapidly changing society. I mean, not EVERY girl is going to feel that she SHOULD shave her legs.

So what to do?

Well, my mom and I ran across a website about a year ago. I'm not going to link it here. I don't know the forum rules. But, the name of the site (just google, okay) is a mighty girl. It's all about girls and breaking the labels. It's an excellent place.

And there, you can find books related to hygiene and girl's changing bodies.

Never fear, parents of little boys. Follow the links to Amazon. The same authors/series you find there, they write books for boys too. (There are also books for other gendered children.)

While not every kid likes to read, every kid is curious about what is UP with the growing up stuff. The books can be sorted by age range and there are books that cover MANY other topics like love, juggling middle school, feelings, how to handle friends fighting and bullies....

This is the next step. I haven't chosen a book yet. I have to wait till payday and I have to whittle down the list of books I want to get her (and my teen boys) because there are so many. But, just go ahead and pick the most relevant for now. You can always go back. And I trust a mighty girl website. Once you visit their site, you will understand why.

#3- TALK to the kid, find out why they don't like bathing or brushing their hair or teeth. Perhaps it takes too much time. Perhaps they want to be playing instead. In these cases, I have explained to my daughter, that once she learns HOW to do it right and PRACTICES it, she won't even have to think about it anymore, and she'll be able to sing her way through her routine, and it will take her no time at all. It's just hard now because she is still LEARNING.

However, there might also be some "tactical type" issues. For example, my daughter apparently hates her hairbrush, (as agreed by her dentist who watched her brush her teeth at my request) she is brushing too hard, to the point that she is MAKING her gums bleed. (Solution? There are toothbrushes that are made to prevent that. When too much pressure is on the brush, it beeps. Also a battery operated spin brush helps. We got her one that syncs with her iPad as well, it times her brushing, and unlocks new characters and rewards. We haven't tried it yet. Since she is on vacation.)

But, basically, what I am saying, maybe she doesn't like her shampoo, or maybe her soap makes her itchy, or maybe she doesn't like putting spray in her hair and would prefer a cream. MAYBE she feels embarrassed about cleaning her privates. Or maybe she can't wash her armpits without tickling herself or maybe she isn't aware that she should wash her body parts in a certain order. Or perhaps, like LM, she flaps a washcloth at herself, instead of laying it flat on her hand rubbing her body. (She has trouble with this, so my solution at the moment is to get her one of those little lupus, that you can go to bar soap inside of, but instead of the soap, it's just big enough for her little hand to fit inside of. And it has a soft side and a scrubby side.)

Is there any adult here who doesn't have preferences about these things themselves???

Find out what she WANTS. Find out what is BOTHERING HER. Find out what you can do to HELP. And let her know you WANT to help. My mom says that when she let me have wild strawberries suave shampoo and conditioner, I took a shower daily for two weeks straight. I also used up all that stuff in two weeks. (Handy tip from her, buy some trial/travel size empty containers. Fill them up each week and tell her to make it last or else you will have to make her use nasty smelling dish soap. Which is not bad for your hair, btw.)

Buy her a toiletry bag. Something organizable that will fit all her toiletries and keep them in one place. (I got some great ones for each of my kids off the wish website for über cheap.) Make it HERS. Perhaps it can even be turned into an afternoon craft project where you to sit down and decorate her bag.

Then take her to the store, and little by little, let her help CHOOSE the items to fill the bag. Everything from what type of toothpaste she wants, to letting her smell the shampoos and conditioners, to letting her pick out a hair brush.
Make sure she understands that she takes the toiletry bag into the bathroom with her when she goes and she brings it out with her when she leaves, and it's JUST FOR HER. (This seriously helps with the "so and so used all of my.....)

Have her let you know when she is about to run out of something. (But, check every week anyway.)

Or if she doesn't LIKE something. ESPECIALLY WHEN DEALING WITH CHILDREN WHO ARE DIFFERENTLY ABLED. For example: I never knew that my youngest son (with aspergers) absolutely hates the smells of "boy soaps". He prefers fruity or flowery smells. Who knew? I asked him. He told me. He also cannot STAND the feeling of a washcloth. So, we let him pick out something at the store that felt better to him. He went with a loofah sponge. Go figure. Kids on the autism spectrum are overly sensitive to sensory input. This was a real DUH moment for me.

This allows the child to tailor their hygiene process to what they like. You know YOU do that. They can, too, with help.

The toiletry bag is also great prevention for the lost toothbrush/toothpaste/hair brush/deodorant scenario.

#4---if you, like me, have two bathrooms, one is probably for the kids and one is for the adults. My boys are teens. No matter what, teen boys are DISGUSTING. No lie, I REFUSE to go IN that room unless I ABSOLUTELY must. LM doesn't want to go in there either. So, as long as she takes out of my bathroom whatever she brings into it, and doesn't mess with my stuff, I have started letting her use mine.

# 5--Let's talk about HAIR/SKIN for a minute. This is the part where I said earlier..... (Plus, if you didn't know second day hair and sometimes third day hair has become the new healthy for hair- which I will discuss more further down.)

You, the adult, especially if you are a female adult, probably know what your skin type is, what your hair type is, whether your natural skin and hair colors are warm, cool, or neutral. Even though your child's tones and textures and types are probably going to change (and you need to let them know that and also you need to keep an eye on them and take action when you notice changes) you REALLY REALLY need to make sure you know or learn these things about your child.

Does she have oily skin or sensitive or acne prone? Is her hair type 2c, and maybe 3a? Are her tones warm, cool, neutral? Research it. (I found out things I didn't even know about my OWN hair and skin.) Once you have identified the types your child is dealing with, get to work figuring out what PRODUCTS your child should be using!!!! LM has type 3a hair. It's more curly than mine and more dense than mine. While I can use MY hair products on her, and make her hair come out just fine, SHE CANT. She needs products that are just for her.

When I took the time to explain to her what I was researching and WHY, she got super excited. Mom was making an effort to provide her with INDIVIDUAL specialized products for HER hair type to make HER hair more manageable and looks it's best. "Hello, feeling special!!" It probably felt a bit like us adults do when we get a free makeover with a pro who can tell us what we should use to make us look and feel our best.

Keep in mind, these things don't HAVE to be expensive. In fact, I suggest they aren't. Cuz at some point, the kid is going to use way too much or something. Garnier curl pudding is hella cheap compared to Sephora type stuff.

Remember, to teach them how to use each product. TEACH, instruct, show, demonstrate, and then let them repeat. TEACH THEM MORE THAN ONCE, as many times as it takes for them to get it.

Don't be a perfectionist (do you want your child to be a perfectionist or to feel comfy in their own body?!?!) But, once you can mostly stand back and observe, and they get it mostly correct.... Then, ...."I think you have this part, call me when you get ready for the next step." Or "looks like you have everything down. If you need help, just call me."

#6- This has yet to actually be done, again because she is on vacation. And it's a totally discretionary thing for each parent and their child. However, my daughter has what she refers to as dirty blonde hair. She's only nine years old, but she is been begging me for about two years to put a streak of color in her hair.

The problem is her hair isn't so much dirty blonde as dark brown with healthy shine, so any temp color that we put in doesn't really show up.

I have offered to lightly bleach or lighten one or two chunks of hair, if she would keep her hygiene up for one week. After that, if she kept her hygiene up for one more week and it was still not too close to school, I will let her put a semi perm wild color in the streaks.

If it is too close to school starting, we can use wash out chalks instead. But, the kicker is, that once the streaks are in, she can wear temp colors every weekend and especially on holidays.

My next incentive, that I haven't told her about yet, is some big girl makeup, (not the kid crap) NOT FOR SCHOOL, but there are plenty of YouTube channels that teach makeup skills.

I have checked them out to make sure they are kid friendly, and plan on offering to sit with her and watch them and do our makeup. (SAME goes for hair and nails. And mom might learn some new tricks too. 😉😉)

The whole hair color, makeup, nails, etc thing, is yet another way to encourage the child to KEEP up their appearance. We can't sleep in makeup, we can't do fun hairstyles if we can't brush through our hair. And we can't wear any of this stuff to school.

So, keep up that hygiene during the week, and have fun on the weekends, and wash it out by Sunday night.

That's what I have so far..... I will be happy to hear more suggestions. I would be happy to let you all know how some of these things work out. And if you would like, please feel free to message me at misschrys.coupons At gmail dot com. I'll be happy to share places where I found specific answers to specific topics.

Good luck and Happy Hygiene!!! Lol

Misschrys

Lindsey - posted on 03/12/2015

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This sounds so much like my stepdaughter who will turn 12 in a month. When we ask her to wash her hands, we often have to remind her to use soap and dry her hands, not shake them dry all over the kitchen. She is nearly 12 and has had acne since right after she turned 10. She's had so many products bought for her face, and has been shown how to use them, but she barely uses anything. However, she's always willing to go take a bath/shower, will even ask if it's time for one yet, and seems to wash well. She HATES to dry her hair with a blowdryer though, despite begging for one for months before her father and I bought one for her. We made a big deal out of it, and I even dried her hair for her the first couple of nights, showing her what to do. Here recently when her dad told her to go dry her hair, she was so upset about it that she burned some of the carpet with the blowdryer. We didn't discover it until a couple days later, but he made her apologize and promise to never to it again. She was also restricted from electronics.
We've talked with her lovingly, and we've talked with her harshly about hygiene habits. Not much seems to be absorbed. The worst thing though, is when doing her laundry, my husband or I discover she's not wiping after peeing. We can't even understand that!

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Misschrys - posted on 06/19/2016

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I have read through almost all of the posts in this thread.

I came here looking for help. What I found is that I am not alone. I have two boys, 16 and 17. And they are STILL GROSS. And I still stay on them. And I thought, this is a boy thing.....

Nope. My 9 year old daughter started this phase about a year ago. Doesn't help that it coincided with the acceptance from me that I could no longer do her very curly and thick hair each morning. I have severe arthritis and I fought it as long as I could. I was diagnosed when she was two. I REALLY miss doing her hair. It was very bonding. Every morning, she would dress and (I make hair bows which she adores - but she says she's on "strike" right now) choose her bow(s) to wear and I would brush and style her hair, sometimes simply, sometimes a more intricate style, depending on how long we had, while she watched cartoons. (They didn't come on until everything else was done and she had gotten her bows and the hair bucket and sat down. That was motivating. Maybe a tip for some with younger ones.)

Let me say this, ADHD, and aspergers, depression, bipolar, anxiety..... List goes on......are very prevalent in my family. Siblings, parents, grandparents, my HUSBAND lol, my children, and thy all call me the "holy grail" becuase I GOT IT ALL. (that were never diagnosed, but if you know enough about mental disorders you can look back at someone and get an idea of what they may have experience).

My point is, I have a smudge of experience backed up by a butt load of research and keeping up with newest research..... Yes!!!

YES YES YES YES YES ..... All of these factors matter.

While yes, I am struggling. (I thought somehow that it was just me and that raising a girl would be different than a boy. Hahahah) coming here, has reminded me that we are NOT ALONE. And that I CAN figure this out.

FIRSTLY, when dealing with just about ANY mental or emotional disorder.... Make a routine and stick to it. Start with mini routines. Let them KNOW WHAT you are doing and WHY. And that you will be adding to the routine as they get better and better.

For LM - this looks something like....Get off the bus, go straight to room and change clothes, uniform in LAUNDRY basket, bring booksack to kitchen table. Get a drink of water. Do homework.

Along the way, things were added. Take shoes off at front door. Go to the bathroom before or after changing clothes. Pull out all VIP papers and put in the door pocket on my bedroom door. DO NOT ASK FOR YOUR SNACK UNTIL YOUR HOMEWORK IS DONE. 5 minutes of talk with mom time after snack time. Organize your binder/papers, and repack your booksack and put it away before asking for snack. These were changes that were made one at a time, and anytime something change in routine I let her know I explain why it's changing and I can tell her that she'll have a week or two to get adjusted to doing the new thing and I will remind her every day but then after that she's got to learn to do it on her own

This kind of stuff works great for kids with issues, but for some reason I just have not taken hold on her or her other brothers when I comes the hygiene. (I did notice that when my oldest got his first girlfriend he started shower and a lot more but you know whenever he breaks up with a girl, Sometimes he'll go a couple of days without showering, because that's usually the longest time it takes him to find somebody else. He's a freaking player Lol. 🙄)

Routines. They really are a must. FOR EVERYONE. I think that a lot of everyone in the worlds issues come from the fact that we no longer rely on the sun to provide us with light. Once upon a time, people rose with the sun and went to sleep at dark (cuz duh!!!! They couldn't see!!!) that's the way humans were made to function. I have found this to be true in the lives of almost everyone that I know including myself. Make routines and balance your circadian rhythm. You don't necessarily need to wait with the sun and go to sleep when the sun goes down. But, if you try to wake around the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night, then you're doing pretty good. I am completely disabled not because of only my mental disabilities but also because I have severe physical disabilities, that I never expected to have it the ripe old age of 36. In the past year I have focused very intently on balancing my circadian rhythm him, I also use an app called Sleep Cycle to track and record and share this information with my doctor.

So yeah routines and balancing that sleep schedule, it really helps kids well it really helps people of all ages be the best they can be. It worked for my younger son who is a high functioning autistic, it work for my older son who has severe bipolar anxiety and depression, And it's working for me too, I spend more time now on my feet, in the past year than I did and the previous five years that I spent in bed or on the couch

Lourdes Manuelita - posted on 04/18/2015

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My daughter is 11 and when they diagnosed her with adhd .possible bipolar and ect.. at age 5 I took her to get treatment.all these yrs I thought I was Alone with a "NOW"PRETEEN,when it comes to all that Carol Underwood stated.it is very struggling.stressful and my child needs MY HELP!* REGUARDLESS .of the age.sad but barely just came to realize if she isn't going to care for herself I HAVE TO and WILL NIT LET ANYONE BATH AND CARE FOR HER IN WAYS WITH BODILY HYGIENE.. THAT YOU FOR THIS POST.!!!* WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS ALONE. I FIND THIS.AMEN!!*I HAVE TO STEP IT UP AND NOT LOOK AT THIS MATTER AS "SHE IS TOO OLD FOR ME TO BATH HER ..I WAS SO WRONG

Carol - posted on 03/18/2015

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I have the same problem my daughter is 9 and she will not brush her teeth put on deodorant on I also have a 7 year old girl and she will do it a heart beat I try to show them that girls have to stay clean and fresh because we have different parts then boys my 9 year old has servere emotional disturbance

Angela D - posted on 02/26/2015

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Hi Stepanie, as I read your post I felt like I was reading about my daughter! She is 13 now, has been recently disgnosed with ADHD, but has suffered with what we thought was just anxiety since age 7. She also has textbook Aspergers traits, that her doctor and close family and friends, have identified. She always dreaded brushing her teeth, her hair, getting a bath, and getting her clothes changed. Now when she was in a routine,like during the school week, it was easier, but still tough. She would always say, " I just don't want to Mom, I feel too lazy!!" This went on and on for years, my husband often even more frustrated than me, but I just kept repeating myself, day in, day out. Now that we finally have this diagnosis, it makes sense. Not only did she say that about "activities of daily living," ( all my nurses out there understand that), but homework as well. She said," it's like I hear you telling me to do it and I know I need to, but I just physically can't. What's wrong with me? Why can't I be normal?" Now I was reluctant to try Ritalin, but my sweet girl has suffered long enough at the hands of this brain that has held her hostage for all these years. Plus she wants to try it and see if it helps her, so here we go. Just want her to know how she is the most perfect creature in the world!!

Mum2lotsofboys - posted on 12/12/2014

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I've just seen these old posts. My 9 year old ADD son is just the same. Has to be told to wash, clean teeth, flush toilet & wash hands etc every single time. When I say "have you washed?" or "have you flushed the toilet?" He just says "oooh" and goes back to do it. His bedroom is also disgusting - empty cups, clothes on the floor, even left over lunch box food from school. And he doesn't care what he looks like, never brushes hair, clothes can be dirty when he puts them on. He is also almost diagnosed with Aspergers (all the right scores but one more test to go through). I always wondered if it was related to either condition, or both. So far, nothing has worked - reminders, charts, rewards etc. Just glad he has us to keep him clean, as I work with similar children whose parents don't care and its awful to see them so dirty, and smelling so bad.

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

Lashundragunn - 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.

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!!

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.

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.

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,

User - 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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