Unclean child, how to approach parents gently?

Kristine - posted on 09/29/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )




Hi there ladies!

I look after a young girl who is in elementary school. Since going back to school this past September, the parents seem to be ignoring basic hygiene. Bathing hasn't always been high on their list of priorities as far as I can tell, but it appears that the child is receiving maybe one bath during the school week. The minute she enters my house after school this awful odor accompanies her - it smells like very, very dirty feet, clothing that hasn't been dried properly and just a very dirty, unwashed smell. I understand that after wearing shoes inside the school all day, feet could be a bit smelly of course, but this foot smell is overpowering, honestly. It fills the entire house, even for about an hour after she is gone. Part of the issue is that mom doesn't want to wash "extra" laundry by making the kid wear socks, so gross unwashed feet are going into these shoes day in and day out, which makes the smell worse. I have to help this child wash her feet sometimes because it gags me to smell her. And even after a good scrubbing the smell lingers on her feet. The mom just laughs and says, "Kids will be kids" when other adults and children have commented on this particular scent. Her clothes also smell mildewy(perhaps left in the washer wet) and hair sometimes gets so greasy and has a mildewy/dirty smell to it. I know it's not the kids fault, but how do you approach the parents in a "gentle, non offensive" manner? Mom and dad are always showered, smell good, have clean hair. Is this considered a form of neglect? How would you approach this? Sorry it's so long. Thanks in advance!

I've also noticed that when the child is getting quite dirty, mom sprays a boatload on perfume on the kid in the morning instead.


Jane - posted on 09/29/2011




Is she old enough to bathe herself? Could you have some "back up clothes" at your house so you can wash her clothes while she is there?

And yes, it is considered a form of neglect.

Sherri - posted on 09/29/2011




It sounds like the parents already know. So I am not sure what you are going to truly do more than that already. Very very sad.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/29/2011




I would definitely speak up about this as straight foward as you can. You may lose them as clients, but hell...I would risk it. The kid is going to be the "smelly kid" in school. We all have had at least one of these in class....and no one wants to be near them..They get made fun of, and have a difficult time being social due to the lack of hygiene...TAUGHT by the parents. Good luck, and I am hopeful you say something to them.

JuLeah - posted on 09/29/2011




You don't mention an age, but at some point, this will be in the hands of the child. When she understands others find her odor offensive, they will bath and take care of herself; more so if you guide on how.

It is neglect - but nothing the state will respond to ... more likely one of the issues behind why she won't speak to her parents again after moving out

Speak gently and honeslty with the kid

Don't blame the parents - or her ... just state facts

Have shampoo and such at your house for her ... maybe she can bring clean clothes to your house?


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Kristine - posted on 03/19/2013




Wendy, I am sorry your daughter has these difficulties. This post was not meant as an insult, I was simply frustrated and angered by the situation. Parents did not wash this childs body or clothes, among various other issues. I hope your daughters condition improves.

User - posted on 03/19/2013




My daughter is this child. She is 10, has ADD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. She looks completely normal, but she's angry and stubborn. I was here looking for ways to get her to take care of herself and I see that people think this is neglect. Let me tell you something. I would rather "neglect" my child than physically force her into a shower, while being hit and scratched and her hurting herself. I would rather "neglect" her than allow her to control the situation and make us late or miss school and work all together. I cannot believe that after all the stress and sadness that her invisible diseases has brought on our family and after years of doing everything imaginable, that I learn that outsiders probably view me as neglectful. Wow.

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